Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Kate Atkinson manages to keep a lot of balls in the air in this literary thriller full of preposterous coincidences. This is her third book featuring Jackson Brodie, a former policeman and PI, who notes that "a coincidence is just an explanation waiting to happen." Thanks to the wreck of a train that he shouldn't have been on, Jackson is reunited with Inspector Louise Monroe, and although they have a barely suppressed hankering for each other, they're both married to someone else. Thrown into the mix is Reggie, a resourceful teenage girl who works as a mother's helper to Dr. Joanna Hunter, who has gone missing. Little does Reggie know that Dr. Hunter was the sole survivor of a killing spree 30 years ago in which Andrew Decker, recently released from prison, killed Joanna's mother, siblings, and dog. To top it off, Dr. Hunter's husband Neil has apparently gotten himself into some financial trouble and may have torched his own arcade for the insurance. Could he be in involved in his wife's disappearance? Toss in another murderer on the loose and Reggie's no-good brother, and you've got more than enough incentives to keep the pages turning. The real star of this show, though, is the witty, pitch-perfect swapping of barbs, especially between Jackson and the wonderfully sharp-tongued Louise, between Louise and her young sidekick, Marcus, and between Jackson and his nonplussed caregivers after the train wreck. Reggie has some pretty good lines, too, and employs her favorite word, "sweartogod," whenever applicable to prop up a true or false assertion. It's not all fun and games, though, and be warned that this book has more than one very dark moment.


Tony S. said...

I'm wondering when someone will have the good sense to make a Kate Arkinson novel, either one of her Jackson Brodie novels or one of her other novels, into a movie. Then who would play who in the movie?

Patti's Pages said...

Maybe Daniel Craig needs another franchise!