Sunday, 18 January 2009

Kate Atkinson

'When Will There Be Good News' by Kate Atkinson

Quotes from the Book:- "A coincidence is just an explanation just waiting to happen" Jackson Brodie
"The best days of her life had been when she was pregnant and the baby was still safe inside her. Once you were out in the world, then the rain fell on your face and the wind lifted your hair and the sun beat down on you and the path stretched ahead of you and evil walked on it" Joanna Hunter

'When Will There Be Good News' opens with a slaying of a family by a stranger but the 6 year old Joanna runs and hides in the long grass. This section is marked 'In the Past'

We then move to 'Today' which is 30 years later and now Joanna is a GP in Edinburgh with a baby and married to Neil , a businessman who may be a bit dodgy. Her nanny is a precocious 16 year old called Reggie whose mother has drowned on holiday.

Other characters are introduced, Jackson Brodie, an ex army and police, currently a private detective, is in Yorkshire stealing hair from a boy who may be his son. DCI Louise Monroe, who is not sure where her own life is going, is about to alert Dr Hunter that her family's murdered has been released from prison.

Reaching one of the sections marked 'Tomorrow' (and there is more than one):

Suddenly Joanne Hunter disappears but DCI Munroe does not believe Reggie when she says something is wrong and has not, as Neil Hunter says, gone to visit her sick aunt. Brodie meanwhile is boarding a train he thinks is going to London, but he is wrong and it is heading in the opposite direction, to Edinburgh but he will not quite make it to the station as the train crashes.

Our protagonists are hurtling towards each other and now everybody believes that Joanna is missing. The plot gallops away taking more twists and turns to its eventual end.

This is a beautifully constructed novel, as you would expect from the author of 'Behind the Scenes of the Museum', although of a very different genre, but still full of dry wit, full drawn characters and a pacey plot.

Verdict: Rattling Good Read

Kate Atkinson's website here

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