When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
Little, Brown and Company, New York, 2008
Borrowed from the library.
I read mysteries but don’t often write about them because there are so many good mystery/crime book blogs out there. I remember reading Case Histories some time ago, enjoying it and then forgetting about it. I won’t forget the third Jackson Brodie novel as easily. Here is a brief synopsis from the publisher:
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.”
What is most interesting about this is that, even though it is a “Jackson Brodie” novel, Jackson is actually overshadowed by several other characters. Joanna, Reggie and Louise Monroe, a woman Jackson once worked with
Reggie remembered waving as the taxi pulled away from the curb, but had her mother turned back to wave to her or had she been fussing still with her suitcase? The memory was murky, half made-up, with the missing bits filled in. Really, every time a person said good-bye to another person, they should pay attention, just in case it was the last time. First things were good, last things not so much so. From page 80.
She was bereft, her whole life was an act of bereavement, longing for something she could no longer remember. Sometimes in the night, in dreams, she heard their old dog barking and it brought back a memory of grief so raw that it lead her to wondering about killing, the baby, and then herself, both of them slipping away on something as peaceful as poppies so that nothing hideous could ever happen to him. A contingency plan for when you were cornered, for when you couldn’t run..From page 272.
….Louise was ever a good deceiver, she often thought that in another life she would have made an excellent con woman. Who knows, maybe even in this life, it wasn’t over yet after all.
She should have told the truth. She should have told the truth about everything. She should have said, “I have no idea how to love another human being unless it’s by tearing them to pieces and eating them.” From page 290.
Why is this novel so memorable? Because Atkinson has written a mystery that is more than a mystery. She has connected many different characters, brought them together using various plot lines and made it all believable. To some, parts of this novel could seem contrived, but at least to me, they never do.
These people are real. I know them. Sad, flawed, at times filled with hope, they deal with their lives as best they know how. And Atkinson’s sharp humor had me laughing out loud. I hope she writes another in this series.