When Will There Be Good News? (Jackson Brodie Series #3)

When Will There Be Good News? (Jackson Brodie Series #3)

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The third installment in Kate Atkinson's wildly beloved series of Jackson Brodie Mysteries: a complex tale of murder, coincidence, and connected lives.

As a reader, I was charmed. As a novelist, I was staggered by Kate Atkinson's narrative wizardry." —Stephen King

On a hot summer day, Joanna Mason's family slowly wanders home along a country lane. A moment later, Joanna's life is changed forever...

On a dark night thirty years later, ex-detective Jackson Brodie finds himself on a train that is both crowded and late. Lost in his thoughts, he suddenly hears a shocking sound...

At the end of a long day, 16-year-old Reggie is looking forward to watching a little TV. Then a terrifying noise shatters her peaceful evening. Luckily, Reggie makes it a point to be prepared for an emergency...

These three lives come together in unexpected and deeply thrilling ways in the latest novel from Kate Atkinson, the critically acclaimed author who Harlan Coben calls "an absolute must-read."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780792757641
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date: 09/28/2008
Series: Jackson Brodie Series , #3
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

About the Author

Kate Atkinson lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, was named Whitbread Book of the Year in the U.K. in 1995, and was followed by Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Not the End of the World, Case Histories and One Good Turn.

Read an Excerpt


In the Past


The heat rising up from the tarmac seemed to get trapped between the thick hedges that towered above their heads like ­battlements.

‘Oppressive,’ their mother said. They felt trapped too. ‘Like the maze at Hampton Court,’ their mother said. ‘Remember?’

‘Yes,’ Jessica said.

‘No,’ Joanna said.

‘You were just a baby,’ their mother said to Joanna. ‘Like Joseph is now.’ Jessica was eight, Joanna was six.

The little road (they always called it ‘the lane’) snaked one way and then another, so that you couldn’t see anything ahead of you. They had to keep the dog on the lead and stay close to the hedges in case a car ‘came out of nowhere’. Jessica was the eldest so she was the one who always got to hold the dog’s lead. She spent a lot of her time training the dog, ‘Heel!’ and ‘Sit!’ and ‘Come!’ Their mother said she wished Jessica was as obedient as the dog. Jessica was always the one who was in charge. Their mother said to Joanna, ‘It’s all right to have a mind of your own, you know. You should stick up for yourself, think for yourself,’ but Joanna didn’t want to think for herself.

The bus dropped them on the big road and then carried on to somewhere else. It was ‘a palaver’ getting them all off the bus. Their mother held Joseph under one arm like a parcel and with her other hand she struggled to open out his newfangled buggy. Jessica and Joanna shared the job of lifting the shopping off the bus. The dog saw to himself. ‘No one ever helps,’ their mother said. ‘Have you noticed that?’ They had.

‘Your father’s country fucking idyll,’ their mother said as the bus drove away in a blue haze of fumes and heat. ‘Don’t you swear,’ she added automatically, ‘I’m the only person allowed to swear.’

They didn’t have a car any more. Their father (‘the bastard’) had driven away in it. Their father wrote books, ‘novels’. He had taken one down from a shelf and shown it to Joanna, pointed out his photo­graph on the back cover and said, ‘That’s me,’ but she wasn’t allowed to read it, even though she was already a good reader. (‘Not yet, one day. I write for grown-ups, I’m afraid,’ he laughed. ‘There’s stuff in there, well . . .’)

Their father was called Howard Mason and their mother’s name was Gabrielle. Sometimes people got excited and smiled at their father and said, ‘Are you the Howard Mason?’ (Or sometimes, not smiling, ‘that Howard Mason’ which was different although Joanna wasn’t sure how.)

Their mother said that their father had uprooted them and planted them ‘in the middle of nowhere’. ‘Or Devon, as it’s commonly known,’ their father said. He said he needed ‘space to write’ and it would be good for all of them to be ‘in touch with nature’. ‘No ­television!’ he said as if that was something they would enjoy.

Joanna still missed her school and her friends and Wonder Woman and a house on a street that you could walk along to a shop where you could buy the Beano and a liquorice stick and choose from three different kinds of apples instead of having to walk along a lane and a road and take two buses and then do the same thing all over again in reverse.

The first thing their father did when they moved to Devon was to buy six red hens and a hive full of bees. He spent all autumn digging over the garden at the front of the house so it would be ‘ready for spring’. When it rained the garden turned to mud and the mud was trailed everywhere in the house, they even found it on their bed sheets. When winter came a fox ate the hens without them ever ­having laid an egg and the bees all froze to death which was unheard of, according to their father, who said he was going to put all those things in the book (‘the novel’) he was writing. ‘So that’s all right then,’ their mother said.

Their father wrote at the kitchen table because it was the only room in the house that was even the slightest bit warm, thanks to the huge temperamental Aga that their mother said was ‘going to be the death of her’. ‘I should be so lucky,’ their father muttered. (His book wasn’t going well.) They were all under his feet, even their mother.

‘You smell of soot,’ their father said to their mother. ‘And cabbage and milk.’

‘And you smell of failure,’ their mother said.

Their mother used to smell of all kinds of interesting things, paint and turpentine and tobacco and the Je Reviens perfume that their father had been buying for her since she was seventeen years old and ‘a Catholic schoolgirl’, and which meant ‘I will return’ and was a message to her. Their mother was ‘a beauty’ according to their father but their mother said she was ‘a painter’, although she hadn’t painted anything since they moved to Devon. ‘No room for two creative ­talents in a marriage,’ she said in that way she had, raising her eyebrows while inhaling smoke from the little brown cigarillos she smoked. She pronounced it thigariyo like a foreigner. When she was a child she had lived in faraway places that she would take them to one day. She was warm-blooded, she said, not like their father who was a reptile. Their mother was clever and funny and surprising and ­nothing like their friends’ mothers. ‘Exotic’, their father said.

The argument about who smelled of what wasn’t over apparently because their mother picked up a blue-and-white-striped jug from the dresser and threw it at their father, who was sitting at the table staring at his typewriter as if the words would write themselves if he was patient enough. The jug hit him on the side of the head and he roared with shock and pain. With a speed that Joanna could only admire, Jessica plucked Joseph out of his high-chair and said, ‘Come on,’ to Joanna and they went upstairs where they tickled Joseph on the double bed that Joanna and Jessica shared. There was no heating in the bedroom and the bed was piled high with eiderdowns and old coats that belonged to their mother. Eventually all three of them fell asleep, nestled in the mingled scents of damp and mothballs and Je Reviens.

When Joanna woke up she found Jessica propped up on pillows, wearing gloves and a pair of earmuffs and one of the coats from the bed, drowning her like a tent. She was reading a book by torchlight.

‘Electricity’s off,’ she said, without taking her eyes off the book. On the other side of the wall they could hear the horrible animal noises that meant their parents were friends again. Jessica silently offered Joanna the earmuffs so that she didn’t have to listen.

When the spring finally came, instead of planting a vegetable ­garden, their father went back to London and lived with ‘his other woman’ — which was a big surprise to Joanna and Jessica, although not apparently to their mother. Their father’s other woman was called Martina — the poet — their mother spat out the word as if it was a curse. Their mother called the other woman (the poet) names that were so bad that when they dared to whisper them (bitch-cunt-whore-poet) to each other beneath the bedclothes they were like poison in the air.

Although now there was only one person in the marriage, their mother still didn’t paint.

They made their way along the lane in single file, ‘Indian file’, their mother said. The plastic shopping bags hung from the handles of the buggy and if their mother let go it tipped backwards on to the ground.

‘We must look like refugees,’ she said. ‘Yet we are not downhearted,’ she added cheerfully. They were going to move back into town at the end of the summer, ‘in time for school’.

‘Thank God,’ Jessica said, in just the same way their mother said it.

Joseph was asleep in the buggy, his mouth open, a faint rattle from his chest because he couldn’t shake off a summer cold. He was so hot that their mother stripped him to his nappy and Jessica blew on the thin ribs of his little body to cool him down until their mother said, ‘Don’t wake him.’

There was the tang of manure in the air and the smell of the musty grass and the cow parsley got inside Joanna’s nose and made her sneeze.

‘Bad luck,’ her mother said, ‘you’re the one that got my allergies.’ Their mother’s dark hair and pale skin went to her ‘beautiful boy’ Joseph, her green eyes and her ‘painter’s hands’ went to Jessica. Joanna got the allergies. Bad luck. Joseph and their mother shared a birthday too although Joseph hadn’t had any birthdays yet. In another week it would be his first. ‘That’s a special birthday,’ their mother said. Joanna thought all birthdays were special.

Their mother was wearing Joanna’s favourite dress, blue with a pattern of red strawberries. Their mother said it was old and next summer she would cut it up and make something for Joanna out of it if she liked. Joanna could see the muscles on her mother’s tanned legs moving as she pushed the buggy up the hill. She was strong. Their father said she was ‘fierce’. Joanna liked that word. Jessica was fierce too. Joseph was nothing yet. He was just a baby, fat and happy. He liked oatmeal and mashed banana, and the mobile of little paper birds their mother had made for him that hung above his cot. He liked being tickled by his sisters. He liked his sisters.

Joanna could feel sweat running down her back. Her worn cotton dress was sticking to her skin. The dress was a hand-me-down from Jessica. ‘Poor but honest,’ their mother laughed. Her big mouth turned down when she laughed so that she never seemed happy even when she was. Everything Joanna had was handed down from Jessica. It was as if without Jessica there would be no Joanna. Joanna filled the spaces Jessica left behind as she moved on.

Invisible on the other side of the hedge, a cow made a bellowing noise that made her jump. ‘It’s just a cow,’ her mother said.

‘Red Devons,’ Jessica said, even though she couldn’t see them. How did she know? She knew the names of everything, seen and unseen. Joanna wondered if she would ever know all the things that Jessica knew.

After you had walked along the lane for a while you came to a wooden gate with a stile. They couldn’t get the buggy through the stile so they had to open the gate. Jessica let the dog off the lead and he scrambled up and over the gate in the way that Jessica had taught him. The sign on the gate said ‘Please Close The Gate Behind You’. Jessica always ran ahead and undid the clasp and then they both pushed at the gate and swung on it as it opened. Their mother had to heave and shove at the buggy because all the winter mud had dried into deep awkward ruts that the wheels got stuck in. They swung on the gate to close it as well. Jessica checked the clasp. Sometimes they hung upside down on the gate and their hair reached the ground like brooms sweeping the dust and their mother said, ‘Don’t do that.’

The track bordered a field. ‘Wheat,’ Jessica said. The wheat was very high although not as high as the hedges in the lane. ‘They’ll be harvesting soon,’ their mother said. ‘Cutting it down,’ she added, for Joanna’s benefit. ‘Then we’ll sneeze and wheeze, the pair of us.’ Joanna was already wheezing, she could hear the breath whistling in her chest.

The dog ran into the field and disappeared. A moment later he sprang out of the wheat again. Last week Joanna had followed the dog into the field and got lost and no one could find her for a long time. She could hear them calling her, moving further and further away. Nobody heard her when she called back. The dog found her.

They stopped halfway along and sat down on the grass at the side of the track, under the shady trees. Their mother took the plastic ­carrier bags off the buggy handles and from one of the bags brought out some little cartons of orange juice and a box of chocolate finger biscuits. The orange juice was warm and the chocolate biscuits had melted together. They gave some of the biscuits to the dog. Their mother laughed with her down-turned mouth and said, ‘God, what a mess,’ and looked in the baby-bag and found wipes for their ­chocolate-covered hands and mouths. When they lived in London they used to have proper picnics, loading up the boot of the car with a big wicker basket that had belonged to their mother’s mother who was rich but dead (which was just as well apparently because it meant she didn’t have to see her only daughter married to a selfish, ­fornicating waster). If their grandmother was rich why didn’t they have any money? ‘I eloped,’ their mother said. ‘I ran away to marry your father. It was very romantic. At the time. We had nothing.’

‘You had the picnic basket,’ Jessica said and their mother laughed and said, ‘You can be very funny, you know,’ and Jessica said, ‘I do know.’

Reading Group Guide

1. “Love wasn’t sweet and light, it was visceral and overpowering. Love wasn’t patient, love wasn’t kind. Love was ferocious, love knew how to play dirty.” This thought runs through Jackson’s mind as he fingers the lock of Nathan’s hair in his pocket. How is this take on love exhibited in the novel?

2. One reviewer has said that Reggie is perhaps the novel’s “most moral character.” Do you agree, or not? What does it mean to be moral in the midst of such extreme or horrific events? Is there a character you would consider to be immoral?

3. When Jackson is staring at the sky and bleeding to death in the ditch, he thinks, “There were days that really surprised you with the way they turned out.” Talk about Kate Atkinson’s use of unexpected humour and understatement at dramatic points in the novel. Do you find that this technique heightens or diminishes your emotional engagement?

4. How does Jackson evolve over the course of this book? At the end, what do you imagine his immediate future involves? And will Louise, or any other character here, be a part of that?

5. While reading, did you ever ask yourself: “When will there be good news?” Do you get the sense that any of the main characters would have? Or are some of them just the type to just get on with living, and not dwell on notions of good or bad? What is the good news here, in the end?

6. Discuss how Atkinson balances outrageous humour and day-to-day life experiences with the darkness and sadness that is so prevalent in this novel.

7. Nursery rhymes, hymns and traditional poems appear throughout the novel — in Jackson’s memories of learning by rote or of his childhood, in scenes where Joanna and Reggie entertain the baby (e.g., the last page). What function do you think these rhymes serve, for the characters and for you as a reader?

8. When we first enter Joanna Hunter’s perspective since her disappearance, in “Abide With Me,” we’re still unsure of where she is and why she’s missing. But we do learn that she’s considered killing the baby and then herself. Did you ever believe she would do that?

9. Joanna Hunter can never escape the murder of her mother and siblings, Reggie continues to mourn the death of her mother, and Jackson considers his true home to be “the dark and sooty chamber in his heart that contained his sister and his brother.” In what ways has loss made each of them stronger? Or weaker?

10. Who is your favourite character in this novel, and why? Was there anyone that you just couldn’t connect with?

11. We only learn of Andrew Decker’s path through third-person accounts of his interactions with others. What do you think really happened to him? Do you believe that he broke into Jackson’s house to commit suicide?

12. Many of the chapter titles echo or are taken from other stories, hymns, poems, and novels. For instance, “Satis House” is another name for Miss Havisham’s home in Great Expectations (which Reggie is reading when the thugs accost her at the bus stop), and “Nada Y Pues Nada” is taken from Hemingway’s story “A Clean Well-Lighted Place” (which is also a chapter title later in the book). What does this literary layering add to the novel?

13. As Jackson tells us, “A coincidence is just an explanation waiting to happen.” In what way does this statement apply to the form of When Will There Be Good News?

14. In a video interview on her website, Kate Atkinson speaks of how she doesn’t usually have a strong idea of where her stories are going when she starts writing: “If they were plotted, they would be more straightforward, like a road map. But of course they’re not, they twist about each other a lot.” Talk about the way Atkinson leaps between storylines and characters, and the effect this has on you as a reader.

15. A few times, we’re told: “First things were good, last things not so much so.” How might you interpret this statement in terms of the events in the novel? Consider the theme of “innocence” as well.

16. Reggie’s mum used to always say “Back soon,” or “Je reviens” — until she didn’t return, of course. And when Reggie leaves Jackson at the hospital, we’re told “Reggie was never going to be a person who didn’t come back.” Discuss the importance of “coming back” in the novel — not only to Reggie, but for Jackson (where’s Tessa?), Joanna, and even David Needler and Andrew Decker.

17. Louise and Patrick, Joanna and Neil, Jackson and Tessa, even Reggie’s mother and Gary… not one of these couples seems to be worth keeping together. And while Jackson is something of a serial spouse, Louise sees herself as completely unsuited to the role. Discuss Atkinson’s portrayal of marriage here, and what it means for the various characters.

Customer Reviews

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When Will There Be Good News? 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 251 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joanna Hunter, witness to a horrendous crime when she was six, is living a quiet, well-ordered life, until a killer is released from jail. 'When Will There Be Good News' revolves around this central story, but if you think this is an ordinary crime novel, think again! This is the third book in the Jackson Brodie series and when Jackson is around things never go as expected. He is an ex-cop turned private investigator who never really means to do the right thing, but can't seem to stop himself. And doing the right thing, for Jackson, somehow always lands him in hot water. I was pleased to see that Louise, a detective with a heart of gold and emotions of steel, is back. She always gives Jackson a run for his money! I was absolutely charmed by Reggie, mother's helper to Joanna, Sadie, Joanna's loyal (and huge) dog, and by Joanna herself. I can't wait to see if any of them are back in the next book! I listened to the audio version of 'When Will There Be Good News' and Ellen Archer's (2007 Audie Award winner) lovely accent and beautiful characterizations add even more depth to this already fantastic book. A fast paced, intelligent, complex plot, deliciously flawed characters, and truly evil villains make this book a must read!
Constant_ReaderBG More than 1 year ago
This is my first Kate Atkinson book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked her writing style and her ability to make you care about the characters (at least the main ones). I do agree with some of the other reviewers in that there were too many extraneous characters. This book is best read in a short period of time. If you put it down for a day or two you can kind of lose track of who is who.
gl More than 1 year ago
The blurb of When Will There Be Good News? piqued my interest, but the first few pages had me hooked. The novel opens to a scene of violence and loss and gives us six-year-old Joanna Mason's third person account of the day that she lost her family. Somehow, despite the details of the day and Joanna's youth, we get a sense of the woman that she becomes. Admirable, strong, courageous, and simpatico. The other women characters are similarly compelling and parts of the story is told in the third person but from their points of view. There's Reggie who seems to be stalked by death. Brilliant, she did well academically at the horrible posh school where she'd been awarded a scholarship. But socially, the school was a disaster for Reggie. When freed from her mother's watchful eye, Reggie trades school for two jobs and private tutoring of sorts. Reggie's favorite place is at Dr. Hunter's home, with the baby, Dr. Hunter and the dog. Clean, full of light, warm and welcoming, it is where Reggie feels most useful and at home. The organized, well-read, caring, and efficient Dr. Hunter seems a strange match with her dodgy husband in the "entertainment business". But while Reggie and Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe may shake their heads, love is a strange business. When you're among those that Dr. Hunter loves, you bask in the warmth of her affection. She'll phone to speak to baby and to the dog. Accomplished but not vain, Dr. Hunter is an "all rounder" - an athlete, musician, gifted doctor, cherished mother, wife, and friend. Her judgement in all things, excepting her husband, seems unimpeachable. Through the character and point of view of Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe, the book moves towards the tradition of the British detective novels. Centered on work to the detriment of her marriage and social life, DCI Monroe reminds us that When Will There Be Good News? is a detective thriller and mystery. As DCI Monroe and Reggie work to piece together the mystery of Dr. Hunter's disappearance, the tension rises and leads us to a satisfying end. I thoroughly enjoyed When Will There Be Good News? I laughed, cried, couldn't put it down. If you like detective novels, give it a try. This book is great for a long trip, a cold afternoon or whenever you're looking for a fully satisfying read! Plus, it comes out in paperback on Jan. 10. I'm so glad to have discovered Kate Atkinson. Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (January 11, 2010), 416 pages. ISBN-10: 0316012831 Review copy provided by the publish
Terra More than 1 year ago
Read the first twelve pages of When Will There Be Good News? By Kate Atkinson, and I predict that you will continue reading to the last page. The story begins with a tale of childhood and an explosion of violence, and continues years later, as the present intersects with the past.
Sixteen year old Reggie steals the show with her charm, wit and courage ; Jackson Brodie, Detective Inspector Louise Monroe, and Dr. Joanna Hunter have key roles to play, and charm of their own.
Several stories interweave and the reader needs to pay attention. David Needler is a violent husband, Neil Hunter a cypher of a husband, and Andrew Decker a madman, all with key roles to play.
Sadie the dog plays her part, as does Reggie¿s criminal brother Billie, and her eccentric tutor and friend Ms. MacDonald. All in all, a satisfying and well written novel.
The charismatic Jackson Brodie starred in two earlier novels, and now I am drawn to read her other books.
BookAddictFL More than 1 year ago
I am a fan of Kate Atkinson and her writing style but this book didn't work for me. Unlike her other books, the characters in this one didn't grab me. I didn't find Joanna Mason's adult character believable, particularly when compared to the child she was at the start of the story. I found Reggie's character a little bland and it took forever to lead to why she even mattered so much. Overall, there were too many characters doing different things that we were only given snippets of. There were a lot of words but not much going on. When things did happen, it was all sadness. I skimmed over some parts and wondered where the detail was for others. For me, the entire mood of the story was melancholy disarray.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the book!!!!!!!
booksonmynook More than 1 year ago
really good. I throughly enjoyed this book and finished it within 2 days. would recommend
susieQMI More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed in this book. The title intrigued me and I was really looking forward to a good read. The storyline really dragged along and though I tried to stay with it for over 150 pages, i just could not finish. I hate to move a book into the archives that I have not finished, but other books on my list were 'calling me' to get to them. I gave up on this book and regret buying it. Don't waste you time or money.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had a lot of hopes for this book. I was really excited about reading it. This first chapter I was so into, but then it just dragged on and on. The author seems to have too many characters and no point to all of them. Kinda boring to read and probably wont read from this author again.
Drew12 More than 1 year ago
Atkinson's 'When Will There Be Good News?' is the third book of hers to feature Jackson Brodie. He may be clueless about woman, but he's a great PI. The first book 'Case Histories' was my favorite of the three. I remember reading a review about how much detail Atkinson gives while telling an overall mystery and its true. You learn every detail about each person Brodie comes in contact with, but its not overkill. Its a major part of what Atkinson is saying. Its hard not to get emotionally involved-whether in a good way or a bad way-with the characters. Both the ones lost and the ones trying to find them. The second book 'One Good Turn' was my least favorite of the three, but was overall still a great book. There was a lot going on but again the character development was fantastic. 'When Will There Be Good News' closes in on one major story line and these new characters we meet are hard not to like. A few characters from OGT, in addition to Brodie, remain as well. The title is true in that a lot of bad stuff happens, its disheartening and somewhat unbelievable at times. However overall its a great read- even after getting used to Atkinson's style of writing and looking for connections she still manages to surprise in both OGT and WWTBGN. I recommend starting at the start with Case Histories and I bet you'll be inclined to read all three and anything else Atkinson sends your way.
Nutmeg-Anne More than 1 year ago
The story line is a tad convoluted and slow...but readable. The 16 year old nanny...Reggie...often brought "Pippa" of Robert Brownings' "Pippa Passes" to mind...but that didn't improve my critique. The book filled some reading time before my next stack of literary accomplishments arrived. I wouldn't read it again but that's a very personal opinion. To me...it was a humdrum novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love a good mystery, but there was way too much going on in this book. Too many characters that had nothing to do with the plot. I kept waiting and wondering when it would all come together. It sort of managed that at the end, but not in any way that would make me want to recommend this book. I couldn't wait for it to be finished and have no interest in exploring more books by the same author.
luzabril More than 1 year ago
Briefly, at first I found the swithcing from one character to another confusing, but each began to grow on me. From the young homeless girl to the detective to the missing mother and child, each character wove an intriguing thriller that made the book difficult to stop for interruptions. I enjoyed this much more than the last Atkinson book, and I'm now going back to that one and rereading it.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Very entertaining. Reggie is a lively character who lights things up. Brodie owes a lot to her, literally and figuratively. Highly recommended.
Peter Donnelly 11 months ago
When Will There Be Good News? is a thriller from the wonderful Kate Atkinson that is full of suspense, surprises and a fair splattering of coincidence. This is the third book in the Jackson Brodie series but can be read as a standalone. The opening scene shocked me! Kate Atkinson writes with a wonderful scope and mixes a fascinating plot with great characters and teases us with humour while masking the opportunity of dropping cruel murderous bombshells on us. The plot is a mix of multiple threads that start weaving in and out of each other and what I liked is that it happens throughout the novel rather than all coming at once. The plot is cloaked in misdirection and flawed assumptions. Thirty years after serving a prison sentence for the murder of the Mason family, where only 6-year-old Joanne was left alive, Andrew Decker, the killer, has gone underground and Dr Joanne Hunter (nee Mason) has gone missing with her infant baby. Reggie Chase, Dr Hunter’s baby-minder and friend, finds herself in the middle of a complex web of events. Thrown into the web of murder and deceit, along with the gutsy Reggie, are Chief Inspector Louise Monroe and ex-soldier, ex-cop, current PI, Jackson Brodie. Each character is developed with great depth and capacity, but I loved the character of Reggie, she is 16 years of age, feisty, resilient and clever. A young girl that hasn’t had much luck in life, in fact, when has there ever been good news. “Just because something bad happened to her once doesn’t mean it’s happened again,’ Louise said to Reggie. ‘No,’ Reggie said. ‘You’re wrong. Just because something bad happened to her once doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. Believe me, bad things happen to me all the time.’ ‘Me too,’ Jackson said.” An implicit reference to the title. The personal relationships with spouses, friends and colleagues, felt very real, with wonderful subtleties that were just masterstrokes. The love interest was engaging and tantalising – why is it that we often want what we shouldn’t have. Marriages, in particular, are put under tremendous strain throughout the book and often the thing most valued, isn’t the person sharing the home. Kate Atkinson provides amazing detail and observations, often with a bit of humour. “A few supermarket lorries thundered along and a speeding motorcyclist hurtled past, eager to donate an organ in time for someone’s Christmas.” If I had one criticism it would be that sometimes the detail feels like she has veered off-track and delivered content that didn’t really mean much. I would highly recommend this book and I’d like to thank Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC copy in return for an honest review.
tangledthread on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The title about says it all. A cast of main characters who have one tragic incident after another while they quote lines of poetry and prose memorized in their school days. Reggie, the main character, is a 16 year old girl who has the largest heap of tragedies piled upon her in this unrelenting narrative of death (murderous and accidental) and mayhem.
bookappeal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A challenging book, particularly on audio, because the author uses several seemingly-unconnected plots and three points of view. For the story to work, she has to establish the main characters which she does very well but it takes quite awhile for the story to move forward and the plots to make sense as parts of a whole. The reader does Scottish accents well but the female characters are not distinguishable at times. Jackson, Reggie, and Louise frequently reference common turns of phrase, quotations, bits of songs or poetry - a stylistic technique that I found annoying and unnecessary. Still, Atkinson is skilled in creating clever stories that intersect in unexpected ways around characters that are well-developed and intriguing.Though this book is technically third in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone, though (like me) you might want the whole story about how Jackson Brodie ended up where he is now.
BrianEWilliams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great read, quirky characters move the story along well, although the pace is a bit languid sometimes.
neilchristie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This opens with a violent sequence as gripping as the first chapter in Enduring Love and never lets up, as coincidences and bodies pile up around ex-policeman Jackson Brodie. It's hard to keep track of at first, as there are a number of similar characters who relate to each other in complicated and unlikely ways. Bad things happen frequently. It's an entertaining and often thought provoking literary crime thriller about the things people will do for love.
janewylen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this book, a mother struggles with her feelings, and lack of feelings, about her son. Was her immediate distaste when she first saw him the cause of his bad behavior? Or was he genetically predestined to hate mankind?The book is so intense at times, it is difficult to read.
bhowell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ms Atkinson's later books are less cerebral than her earlier works. In fact Good News is a first rate thriller and I enjoyed it very much. To fully appreciate the beautiful lyrical prose of this author I highly recommend her earlier novel, Human Croquet.
cathyskye on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First Line: The heat rising up from the tarmac seemed to get trapped between the thick hedges that towered above their heads like battlements.When Joanna Mason was six, she obeyed her mother and lived while all the rest of them died. Thirty years later, Jackson Brodie is on a crowded train that's running late when he hears a horrible sound. Sixteen-year-old Reggie is looking forward to watching a little television at the end of a long day, but her peaceful evening is shattered. Luckily Reggie makes it a point to be prepared for emergencies.Once again Kate Atkinson has created three living, breathing characters with absolutely nothing in common and then brought them together in such a way that you can't take your eyes off the page. From the very first Jackson Brodie book (Case Histories), I learned that Atkinson is a master plot weaver and a master at creating characters that you come to know better than you know yourself.Jackson Brodie is in one of his usual muddles and finds himself in Scotland where Joanna Mason now lives as an adult with her husband and infant son. Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe is a law unto herself and wouldn't be able to stay out of this book if her life depended on it. You see, she cares for Brodie even though she won't admit it.To the mix of Brodie, Mason and Monroe add a sixteen-year-old who's an "unstoppable force of nature" and more than fierce enough to resemble a "Jack Russell fending off a pack of Dobermans." Young Reggie is the catalyst in this book, and she's a treasure. She single-handedly gets all the adults moving because she refuses to turn her back when she knows something is wrong. No one's ever been able to make Reggie understand that kids can't get results when they put their minds to it. (I'd love to see her as an adult!)Each character takes a turn at telling us their side of the story, and it's the stream-of-consciousness story telling that allows us to get so far into each character's mind. Getting to know these wonderful characters almost makes the intricately woven plot surplus to requirements... almost. For, without the plot, Brodie and Louise and Joanna and Reggie wouldn't be able to meet and try to get everything put to rights again.Reading one of Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie books is an experience to be savored. Her various plot threads and characters that slowly move together may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if it's yours, please don't miss the pleasure of reading these excellent books.
DowntownLibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie books are just fabulous and not to be missed.
berylweidenbach on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Three different mysteries come together here, each woven seperately and finally overlapping. One, especially compelling involved the lone childhood survivor of a family massacre, now a doctor with a child of her own, just as the murderer is to be released from prison after serving his time. She has employed a young teenage girl as her "mother's helper" Reggie, who's own mother has recently died.Reggie is beside herself when her beloved employer and her child suddenly disappear, and is intent on solving the mystery. She tries to enlist the aid of a woman police sargent, and an ex-cop who's life she manages to save after a train crash. So many lives and stories overlapping, yet isn't life itself a series of unexplainable coincidences? Just like the train, going insistently forward before the crash, all these stories come together, as if on impact. I thought this book was very well done and kept me engaged until the very end!
carka on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Actually didn't read this ... listened to it on CD. I found the connections a bit too unbelievable sometimes, but I did find myself wanting to get to the end to see how it all worked out.