"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

One Good Turn

TITLE: One Good Turn
AUTHOR: Kate Atkinson

It is now clear to me that these Jackson Bodie books are not traditional mysteries. They're suspenseful novels with a group of characters and Brodie gets sucked into interacting with most if not all of them on some level, and things that look unconnected will likely connect or be revealed as being connected by book's end.

Which is fine, because I really like Brodie, even when he's acting like an idiot, because he's so human about it, and because Atkinson is a fine writer, good with words and character development. She can also thread together seemingly disparate plot points as well as anyone.

In this, an incident of road rage in a Scots town in the midst of a fair, sets things in motion. Brodie, there with his lover Julia, from the earlier Case Histories, who is performing in a play there, ends up a witness to the incident. He also finds and loses the body of a young woman who might've drowned, meets a tough-minded woman detective who has a teen son who might or might not be in legal trouble, and finds himself the target of the attacker in the road rage incident. Throw in a murder (in a case of mistaken identity) and a housing/real estate scandal, and you end up with a complex tale well told. Just don't expect Brodie, supposedly the main character, to be the focus. He is, at times, but he has to share the spotlight.