by Kate Atkinson
Detectives with private lives more complicated than the cases they investigate have become the norm these days. Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie is certainly no exception. With two children by different women that he hardly sees, no place to call home, no friends or family, this former soldier/policeman/private detective is a disaster, but one you can’t help but like.
It seems that Jackson Brodie is incapable of making sensible, or even rational decisions about his life as he blunders from one disaster to the next. And in this particular outing, he is also very much on he back foot for the entire investigation.
“Started Early…” begins with an unexplained murder in 1975 when rookie police constable Tracy Waterhouse and he colleagues discover the body a young woman in her flat. It is a case that haunts Tracy for the next 30 years, until someone begins asking awkward questions. As if Tracy didn’t have enough on her plate as she realises the impact of her shocking impulse purchase outside the shopping centre where she now works as chief of security.
For Jackson Brodie, it started out as a simple case of tracking down his client’s real parents, but as is always the case, there is so much more to it than that.
I must admit that at first I was a little disappointed with this book. It took a good few chapters before I really began to get the feel for the characters and the plot, but once I got there, I was gripped and couldn’t put it down. Kate Atkinson always delivers a gripping tale with a unique mix of humour and dark mystery, and this book is no exception. The various plot lines are expertly woven into an easy to follow way, although I must admit that I missed the vital clue right at the beginning that would have made the end result a little less of a surprise.
Jackson Brodie is a great creation. His weaknesses and faults are something I can relate to whilst at the same time making me feel relieved that it’s all happening to him and not me.
by Kate Atkinson
So, when will there be good news? The third of Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie novels sees our hero back in Edinburgh, but with his new life falling about around him. And he’s not the only one who’s life has just been derailed – quite literally – thanks to an interrupted train journey.
The interesting thing about this book is that Jackson himself is almost peripheral, or so it seems, until the end when the threads of the story all come together. The main focus is sixteen-year-old Reggie (Regina) Case and her employer Dr Joanna Hunter.
Reggie and Joanna each have their secrets and as the story unfolds, we see their hidden strengths.
“When Will There Be Good News?” is an excellent read. Although not a comic book it has plenty of humour which help keep the book less intense that many other similar books.
Can’t wait to read the fourth book.