On a dark night 30 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".
©2008 Kate Atkinson; (P)2008 Hachette Audio
I don't review every book--only books I feel strongly about--hence the many 4-5 star vs 1-2 star reviews. Just my opinions--hope they help.
I recently stumbled upon Kate Atkinson's writing when I read and loved Life After Life. Next I came upon and devoured her mystery series which, so far, has four books. Book one--Case Histories, book two--One Good Turn and then this third book--When Will There Be Good News. I am reviewing the first three books in the series as a group here--viewing them as a unit.
As with all of Atkinson's writing the stories are complicated and she bends time to suit her whim. Once you get the hang of the "two steps forward three steps backwards" approach and understand the author's take on time--the storytelling takes on a life of its own. Characters weave in and out of each novel and their lives grow and change. Facts are revealed from multiple angles and in gradual degrees. To me, this captivates and keeps things really interesting.
I love the Jackson Brody character. I particularly enjoy seeing how his life plays out with the outlandish troop of extras that Atkinson deftly captures. These are not neat and tidy books. Good guys blend with bad guys and at times nothing is as it seems. All the makings necessary for excellent mystery/crime writing are present here. To me, Atkinson does not disappoint.
Highly recommended--but do read the series in order--as one book builds on the next. Oh, and yes, you need to pay attention to small details and give the stories time to play themselves out. I think it's worth it in the end.
Queen of UTEE
I started it once, couldn't get the gist of it or pick up on the the momentum so I said Id start again, give it one more try and stick with it. It was so well worth it.
You become so interested in the complexity of all the characters and how they intertwine, especially toward the end. fascinating..to me anyway,
I had NO objections at all to the reader. She really helped place me in the land of the characters. I'm not all that critical about the accents & dialects. I loved her voice and the way she read the story.
Now Im going to seek out more by this author.
I've loved all of her books, but I've never fallen in love with her characters like I did in this one, especially Reggie. The ending was especially satisfying. As to the narrator's accent, I can appreciate those who are natives of the British Isles finding her accents irritating (I'm from New Orleans and readers who commit brutalities against those accents are maddening.) Non-Brits will surely enjoy Archer's narration, as I definitely did.
If you've read (or listened to) Case Histories and One Good Turn, then When Will There Be Good News? is just what you'd expect from Kate Atkinson. If this is your first experience with this author, be prepared. Her characters and their predicaments will draw you in to the point where you'll find yourself sitting in the driveway or tuning out your family to find out what happens next. Jackson Brodie is back along with the string of misfortunes that have been plaguing him since Case Histories. In addition, we get better acquainted with DCI Louise Monroe and meet the ineffably persistent Reggie Chase. The mysteries in this book are compelling and, as always with Kate Atkinson, twisted together in ways that do not all become apparent until the very end of the book. When Will There Be Good News?, along with Atkinson's other Jackson Brodie books, are mystery thrillers for people who don't like mystery thrillers. The characters are as intricately developed as the plot line. The dialogue is natural, never forced. The endings are like good chocolate--satisfying, but leaving you wanting just a little more. The reader does a creditable job of managing a variety of British accents and both male and female voices.
Kate Atkinson is a gifted and completely original writer, and her work lends itself particularly well to being read aloud.
The beginning of this novel is both shocking and heartbreaking, and it's hard to imagine where the story will go from there. But don't let that deter you from continuing to listen. The story quickly moves into several complex, intertwining layers, all featuring characters who are instantly memorable and worth getting to know. Reggie, the teenage girl who is more or less at the center of the various plots, is smart, unexpectedly funny, endearing, and completely captivating, and the other characters (including ex-detective Jackson Brodie, who appears in other books by this author) are just as distinctive.
Ellen Archer is an effortlessly talented narrator, and I would not have enjoyed the book as much without her. She makes a valiant attempt to capture the various Scots, Irish, and regional English accents used in the book, and though she doesn't always succeed, her attempts add to the book's appeal. She is particularly good at conveying the attitude and spirit of Reggie, who might not be quite as vivid a character without the narrator's voice.
I've ignored people's recommendations of Kate Atkinson's work in the past, but now that I know what I was missing, I plan to read and/or listen to all of her other books.
Read the book and then listened to it. Never grows old. Found a new appreciation for the author at every turn. The beauty of word choice, passages quoted from nursery rhymes and bits of poetry, fables and psalms - all well chosen. Well done - written & read. Archer is a gem; Atkinson an artisan.
Steven King listed this on his "Best Books of 2008" list and I borrow my title from his review. Reggie, the teenage heroine, is my favorite character, but all characters are wonderfully portrayed. There is a wonderful dog in the story and happily, the dog does not die! It is amazing how it all comes together in the end and quite satisfying. I had no problem with the narrator and thought she did an excellent job. I will be listening to her other books.Highly recommended.
I didn't read the book, but I believe Ellen Archer's narration added emotional depth to an already very moving book.
Yes -- by switching back and forth between cliffhanger situations. Often the peril was psychological as much as physical.
Any scene with the detective Brody is a favorite.
Yes -- it was so compelling I didn't want to turn it off.
I am British and I find the reading of this great book very irritating. The narrator is clearly American as her British accent keeps slipping, and her attempts at regional accents are terrible - the Scottish being particularly cringe worthy. She has a lovely voice and makes a brave attempt but on the whole Americans find British accents difficult so why not use a British narrator? I found myself waiting for all the slip-ups ('noospaper') rather than following the story.
Overall it is hard to say. It really makes no sense to say that it is better or not as good as say the Adrian Mckinty, Sean Duffy or Michael Forsythe books. But I can say it passes the 'am I sorry the book is finished' test.
That is tough to say as well. Ms. Atkinson draws characters as well as any author I have ever read. Jo Hunter, Reggie and of course Jackson Brodie are so well drawn. They are very interesting characters. Reggie is the most sympathetic.
No. But it was a terrific performance.
When Jo Hunter manages to free herself and her baby was a real relief.
I really hope that Ms. Atkinson keeps Jackson Brodie alive and kicking. It would be interesting to see his back story fleshed out. Should be noted that I have not finished Left Early...
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