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One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie #2)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  17,155 ratings  ·  1,818 reviews
On a beautiful summer day, crowds lined up outside a theater witness a sudden act of extreme road rage: a tap on a fender triggers a nearly homicidal attack. Jackson Brodie, ex-cop, ex-private detective, new millionaire, is among the bystanders.The event thrusts Jackson into the orbit of the wife of an unscrupulous real estate tycoon, a washed-up comedian, a successful cri ...more
ebook, 386 pages
Published October 11th 2006 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 2006)
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it took me long enough to finish this one, which says a lot. i'm the person who will willingly give up sleep, food, social interaction and general human-like activities to read a good book.

i really liked kate atkinson's case histories. it's been awhile since i read it, but it left enough of an impression that i was willing to dive into this one with little knowledge of what it was about, or what people thought of it. all in all, it had a very slow start for me. in fact, that was the biggest obs

This is the second novel in the series of which ex-soldier, ex-police officer and newly wealthy ex-private detective Jackson Brodie is the chief protagonist. Just as in the first book in the series, Case Histories, the story is told from the point of view of a number of different characters, whose lives intersect with and whose actions directly and indirectly affect each other.

A recurrent image in the novel is that of Matryoshka dolls – the Russian dolls which fit inside each other. The image i
I love Kate Atkinson's mischievous, self-deprecating, knowing wit - who else but a supremely confident writer, on her fifth novel, the second to feature Jackson Brodie, could introduce a character as 'a walking cliché', or have a dissatisfied wimpy writer of jolly crime fiction as a main protagonist, or be unafraid to point up how weird it is that all the characters keep meeting each other, how connected they are, like Russian dolls, layer within layer, doll within doll. And how does she turn a ...more
ONE GOOD TURN by Kate Atkinson begins with a road rage incident involving one crazy guy beating a man with a baseball bat and another man, a wimpy writer of popular crime novels, knocking the crazy guy down with his laptop computer. From there we meet all sorts of seemingly unrelated characters who all become connected.

It's actually a pretty good and simple story. But here's what I guess happened.

My guess is that Atkinson had a pretty good short story. Someone (publisher, editor, agent, whoever)
I remember a scolding from one of my high school English teachers to the effect that my classmates and I should only read books that made us better people and stop wasting our time with the other stuff. I'm not sure Atkinson's Jackson Brodie novels would rise to her standard. They're probably frustrating for mystery readers who value focused, logical plots and a clear sense of right and wrong in a novel, too. But I love these books. Atkinson's writing, her characters, and her observations of the ...more
(Probably more of a 3 and 1/2 stars rating)

Though I'm technically giving the two Brodie novels I've read the same amount of stars, I liked the first one (Case Histories) more, mostly (I think) for what seemed more like 'realism' than what's found in this sequel.

Atkinson's sly, ironic humor is still in full force, maybe even more so with her characters' commentaries on their own reality versus that of 'real' fiction. I was bothered by two events being concealed (perhaps this is one reason I don't
One Good Turn is Atkinson's second novel to feature a character named Jackson Brodie, though I didn't realize it was part of a series until I had finished the book. That didn't seem to impact the story. The book is sort of a mystery, but it doesn't completely belong to the genre. There is a detective, and a crime, and a series of plot twists and turns, but I don't think the author was trying to write a piece of genre fiction. Had she tried to do just that, she may have been more successful; as i ...more
Stephen King recommended this author in a book column that he writes for Entertainment Weekly. (It was lying around at work and I needed something to read!)I took his recommendation seriously because in his column he went on to recommend "...and all the books of Robert Goddard."

I love to come across new authors. Years ago I just happened upon Goddard and avidly read several of his tomes before I ran out of the energy needed to handle the underlying sinisterness of his stories.

Now I get to go t
In this follow-up to Case Histories, we find retired detective Jackson Brodie in Edinburgh, where his girlfriend Julia is appearing in a not-very-good play. Brodie stumbles into a set of interconnected events -- a road rage incident interrupted by a meek writer of popular cozy mysteries; the murder of an over-the-hill comedian who had imposed himself at the writer's house; the disappearance of the body of a young woman wearing crucifix earrings and bearing the card of a shady cleaning service; t ...more
One Good Turn was a decent read. Good for lazy summer days, it's one step up from your typical beach book, but far from being great literature. I've also read Atkinson's Case Histories (also decent), but I guess it didn't make all that much of an impact, as I was almost halfway through the book before I realized that One Good Turn has the same characters as Case Histories. Then I also realized that One Good Turn follows pretty much the same formula as Case Histories, which is: take a mystery, em ...more
I was really disappointed by this book. This is the follow up to Case Histories, which was a great and engaging book with interesting characters. This one is written in the same style, with lots of interlocking stories, but in this one I didn't care about any of the characters, with maybe the exception of Jackson, but even he irritated me for the bulk of the book. And Julia, who I thought was annoying but fun in Case Histories, was just completely unlikeable in this book.
Remember when you first read Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury? A story told by 3 family members, each in turn speaking to the reader, telling the same story from their point of view. And you'd never read anything quite like it, and still haven't. Until McCann's Let the Great World Spin told a story of Phillipe Petit who walked a tightrope between two skyscrapers in New York City in 1974, and featured several different leading characters.

Let the Great world Spin, though, moves from character to
I normally stay away from series, but this isn't a typical mystery series at all. Actually, it isn't even a typical mystery novel, it's an excellent exceptionally well written literary novel with a mystery underneath. I honestly think that fans of traditional mystery novels might be disappointed with this book, the body count is low, the first body doesn't even show up till almost quarter into the story and the crime solving is really not in the driver seat here. It might be that Jackson Brodie ...more
I stopped reading this book halfway through, which is very unusual for me. I had been very entertained by it initially -- loved Atkinson's astringent wit, her hilariously apt metaphors, her willingness to say the things we usually just think but daren't say aloud. And the story was suspenseful, a page turner. Yet there came a point where I didn't want to read any more of it. The same sharp-eyed malice that had entertained me initially eventually got on my nerves. I remember having the same react ...more
This is the second book in the Jackson Brodie series and we now find Brodie in Edinburgh, which now matched up somewhat with the TV series. In this story, Brodie is only in Edinburgh because girlfriend, Julia, who we met in the first book has an acting job during Edinburgh's festival. Brodie is a retired police detecive/ private detective and finds himself somewhat out of pace during this visit. He doesn't really know what to do to occupy his time but suddenly becomes involved in a road rage inc ...more
I am tempted to write this review as "nah," and leave it at that, but I want to do better by it.

I am rating this really low! Surprisingly low. I don't hate this author. This isn't terrible writing. (Possibly, it is rather better writing than the Tana French book I just finished; at least nobody is described as having "hidden levels" in their "X-box game he calls a brain." Left that bit out of my last review, didn't I. Ah.)

"Multiple points of view" does not communicate enough about what this book
This is a very slow start, as Atkinson turns chapter, to chapter from one character to another to set the stage of people who say a car accident, where a brute comes out with a baseball bat and is hit by a computer from a bystander stopping his attack. The character development is great, even though I liked some better than others. There is Martin, the rich mystery writer with social anxiety. Jackson, the rich ex cop, bored living in France, and wrangling with his actress girlfriend. Gloria the ...more
This is the second Kate Atkinson book I've read, and I love it just as much as - maybe even more than - the first one. Everyone who knows me knows I'm a mystery junkie, but her books are so much more than that. They are so involved in the personal lives and character development of her characters - they're like interesting novels first and mystery stories second. I have a friend who decidedly does not like mysteries and who loved the first Atkinson book she read. This is the second book in the J ...more
Alexandra Robbins
Abandoned after 100 pages. The cover blurb reads, "The most fun I've had with a novel this year" - Ian Rankin. What I want to know is, what on earth was he *doing* with it?!
Atkinson uses the same story telling technique that worked so well in "Case Histories" - several mysteries unravel at the same time with characters slowing crossing from one to other until it's all brought together in the end. However, in Case Histories, each mystery stood on its own merit. In this book, I felt like the characters were supposed to be the story, and the crimes that brought them together were padding. Excessive, smothering, too heavy padding that would have been okay on an episod ...more
Jackson Brodie is back. But he’s not the main player or the lone player in this assembly of flawed souls whose lives are commingled as the result of a case of road rage.

Brodie is on holiday in Edinburgh and a witness when Martin Canning, a mild-mannered crime novelist, takes the first courageous step in his life and intervenes to save the life of another man. The act makes Canning a robbery victim, mistakenly identified as a murder victim and, ultimately, the target of an assassin.

Brodie, who h
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Honestly? I was a little bored. Atkinson's other Jackson Brodie novels are far superior--more involving, more exciting, more *everything*. I had skipped this one because it wasn't readily available at my library, and quite honestly, it could've stayed unread without hindering my enjoyment of the rest of the series.

The main fault was a lack of focus. I seriously didn't really know what the main thrust of the mystery was--what the crime was, in a crime novel!--for at least a hundred pages, if not
Like another reviewer, I didn't connect this book to Atkinson's previous novel, Case Histories (which, incidentally, I preferred). In this one, the character development - perhaps because there were so many characters - seemed shallow for some, and unlike in the previous novel, in which motivations became clear as the story progressed, in this one those motivations did not develop but were dropped like bombs in the middle of the story. Even though it lacked the nuance of the previous story, One ...more
Kenneth Fredette
I really liked this story. A lot of different plots evolved into one big one. With a twist at the end. Didn't really see it coming.
Kate Atkinson knows how to present a series of many, seemingly unconnected and disparate characters and sew all their stories together tidily and with humor and forgiveness, but little sentimentality. At first it's a little disconcerting (where's she going with this?) but by now I've read enough of her books that I can relax and enjoy the unfolding of a well-written yarn, and trust that she won't leave me in the lurch.
Sue Bridehead (A Pseudonym)
Four stars, why not? I'm feeling generous. Atkinson's writing style in the Brodie books is not exactly my favorite type of prose -- it can be a little rigid and formal -- but I like the wit and the feeling that just by reading her, I'm learning something about how the middle class British or Scottish mind works. I also like the deft way she ties multiple story strands together.

The only downside to this book is that I felt that Brodie had become dampened since Case Histories. Though I enjoyed Ca
Lance Greenfield
Multi-threaded crime thriller

Have you ever seen a painting that has so much detail in the background that the main subject becomes almost invisible to your eye? Have you ever listened to a piece of music that has so many intricate harmonies that the melody becomes obscured? Either way, try to imagine the equivalent book. You now have the base format of One Good Turn in your mind. This story has a brilliant plot, but it takes quite a while to get past all of the memories of the characters and the
I loved Case Histories, the first book in the Jackson Brodie series, but was less sure about this one. It was....odd, but odd in a good way!

It’s part murder mystery, part tour-de-farce, part complete confusion. As with Case Histories, it’s character lead rather than plot lead, which I enjoyed. I grew very fond of some of the characters and liked being inside their heads as they took us through their thoughts, relived their pasts and got caught up in this crazy story in both comical and touching
Since I really liked Case Histories I was eager to read the next book by Kate Atkinson. Guess maybe it was a little too much of a good thing. I did finish it, but not with the eagerness I raced through it's predecessor. Although it also features the same detective, the likeable Jackson Brodie, he gets a bit tiresome by book's end, as do a number of the other characters. The plot seemed forced and uninvolving. A disappointing follow-up to an excellent debut.

In an afterword to Case Histories, the
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Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and she has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since.

She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories,
More about Kate Atkinson...

Other Books in the Series

Jackson Brodie (4 books)
  • Case Histories (Jackson Brodie, #1)
  • When Will There Be Good News? (Jackson Brodie, #3)
  • Started Early, Took My Dog (Jackson Brodie, #4)
Life After Life Case Histories (Jackson Brodie, #1) When Will There Be Good News? (Jackson Brodie, #3) Behind the Scenes at the Museum Started Early, Took My Dog (Jackson Brodie, #4)

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