Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: One Good Turn

One Good Turn
Jackson Brodie #2
By Kate Atkinson
Little, Brown, and Company 2006
418 pages
From the library

One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie Series #2)

Jackson Brodie isn't a cop anymore and he has retired from being a private detective. Now he is just a man who has accompanied his actress girlfriend to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. But it seems that the world still needs his sleuthing abilities. Martin Canning is a writer who has the misfortune to witness the same fender bender as Jackson. But when one of the drivers approaches the other with a baseball bat, Martin acts without thought and decks him with his laptop bag. Now he is worried the furious driver is after him and enlists Jackson's reluctant assistance.

Atkinson is a master at taking several disparate plots and bringing them together in unexpected ways. As one reads through the book, it is nearly impossible to fathom the connections between Martin, the two car drivers, a Russian cleaning company, the CEO of a company that builds housing developments, and a female police detective. Ms. Atkinson teases the connections out slowly and the reader has to stay on her toes in order to catch the ways in which these characters are related. While this could be irritating if you are expecting a linear story line, it's wonderful for the mystery fan who craves that 'aha' moment. 

I enjoyed Case Histories, the first book featuring Jackson Brodie. This sequel was a bit flat for me because Jackson and Martin are somewhat similar characters. Neither of them are big fans of interacting with others but each has a compassionate core that compels them to say yes, even when it is a total stranger asking for their assistance. I think Brodie is a more lovable and interesting character when he is so completely different from any other character in the book.

I have the third book in this series, When Will There Be Good News?, on my bookshelf. I'm excited to see where Atkinson takes the relationship between Brodie and Detective Louise Monroe, which started in this book. It was almost comical to watch Brodie end up in all of these incriminating situations, only to be bailed out by a detective who isn't sure she can trust him.

One Good Turn is a great pick for the mystery reader who doesn't want to sacrifice developed characters for a fast-paced and twisty plot. Have you read any of the Jackson Brodie books? Which one is your favorite?

Happy Valentine's Day, lovely readers. If you promise to have an extra glass of wine for this pregnant lady, I will selflessly eat some extra chocolate for you. That sounds like a fair trade, right?? 


  1. I don't believe I've read any of Brodie books but I'll certainly keep my eyes open for them now.

    Mmmm..chocolate :)

    1. I hope you enjoy them. :) Figuring out a good mystery is the only kind of puzzle I will be tackling. I decidedly have no skills with actual puzzles!

      Enjoy your chocolate today - Happy Valentine's Day, Jennifer!

  2. I read Case Histories after Stephen King recommend it as one of the best books the year it was released. I think I was expected something super-fantastic and my expectations were too high. I liked it well enough but it wasn't my best of the year.

    As for the wine, I'll drink it for you but I'm going to have some chocolate too :)

    1. I like the series, but don't love it. I had purchased the third book when it came out. I don't know that I would have read the second one if I didn't have the third already.

      Enjoy all of your Valentine's treats tonight. :)

    2. I hate when that happens. I tend to collect series before reading the first one and then discover I have a whole slew of books that aren't my thing. I really have to stop doing that.

      My baby girl had the stomach flu last night so no wine for me either.

    3. That could be problematic! I think I picked up the third one because I had heard good things about it, but I didn't realize it was part of a series.

      I hope your little one feels better soon!

  3. I really liked Case Histories, and I'm sorry to hear this isn't as good. I'll have a glass of wine for you tonight. :) Happy Valentine's Day!

    1. It's not bad - I just thought that Jackson and Martin were awfully similar as characters. If you loved the first one, you should give this one a try too!

      Have a very happy Valentine's Day!

  4. I love Kate Atkinson's books! Although the Brodie series does kind of run together in my mind, I've enjoyed all of them.

    1. I can see how they might become sort of a blur. I'm excited to read some of Atkinson's standalone books too. :)