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One Good Turn
One Good Turn
Author: Kate Atkinson
Case Histories, once again featuring ex-cop turned private investigator Jackson Brodie. — It is summer, it is the Edinburgh Festival. People queuing for a lunchtime show witness a road-rage incident – an incident which changes the lives of everyone involved. Jackson Brodie, ex-army, — ex-police, ex-private detective, is also an innoce...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780385662604
ISBN-10: 0385662602
Publication Date: 10/17/2006
Pages: 400
Rating:
  • Currently 3.4/5 Stars.
 7

3.4 stars, based on 7 ratings
Publisher: Bond Street Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 4
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

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cathyskye avatar reviewed One Good Turn on + 2049 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
First Line: He was lost.

Jackson Brodie, the Case Histories detective who reopened three cold cases and wound up a millionaire, follows his actress girlfriend to Edinburgh where she is performing in a play during the Fringe Festival. While his girlfriend is rehearsing, Brodie manages to get in all sorts of trouble. Paul Bradley gets rear-ended in the street, and when he gets out of his car, the other driver takes a baseball bat to him. Walter Mittyesque writer Martin Canning saves Bradley's bacon by swinging his laptop case at the man trying to hit a home run. Not only is Brodie a witness to all this, so is Gloria Hatter, wife of Graham Hatter, the crooked millionaire property developer. Brodie walks away, convinced that there are plenty of other witnesses to the road rage, but he's soon dragged back in by police detective Louise Monroe. There is your cast of characters, and they each have their own story to tell. Two things that must be remembered are: (1) nothing is coincidental, and (2) everyone is involved.

Kate Atkinson is a genius at putting together the most unlikely set of characters and hanging a plot off them. Bits and pieces of her design sometimes fall through the cracks because of the shifting points of view, but it all comes together brilliantly. Her talent for characterization is wonderful:

"She hauled herself out of bed and padded along the hall, where she opened the door to Archie's bedroom-- she just needed to be completely sure that the nightmare had been a nightmare. Both boys were sprawled in sleep, Archie in his bed, Hamish in a sleeping bag on the floor. The room stank of boys. Louise imagined a girl's room would smell of nail varnish, pencils, cheap candy sweets. Archie's room was essence of testosterone and feet. In the gloom, she could just make out the rise and fall of Archie's breathing. She didn't bother examining Hamish for signs of life, boys like him should be culled as far as she was concerned."


Atkinson gets so far inside the heads of her characters that I think I would recognize each one if I met them on the street. This "inside the head" method of characterization is one of the best ways to get me hooked, and to get me to care about these people who only exist on the printed page. More than once I found myself talking to a character who began to do something I thought was rather ill-advised.

If you love mysteries with intricate plots and quirky, fully-fleshed characters, you won't go wrong by giving Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie books a try!
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reviewed One Good Turn on + 57 more book reviews
I can appreciate that Kate is a good writer. This is the first book of hers I've read, and I have another on my shelf that I may tackle. However, I could not get through this book. Although the storyline was intriguing, I did not care for any of her characters. If you are interested in plot line more than characters, then go for it. If you like to be invested in the characters and their outcomes, you may find yourself wanting to pick up the angry driver's baseball bat and give a few of these characters a whack yourself. Me, I did not like this book.


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