One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
Jackson Brody is in Edinburgh. So are a lot of other people: An unknown man who seems to be on a mission of some kind, and angry man who mostly get seen when he’s attacking someone, lots of Eastern European girls, the wife of a very dishonest businessman, a crime writer who gets much closer to real crime that he ever dreamed of and a police woman with a teenage son and a missing dead body to worry about.
One Good Turn is in many ways like the matryoshka dolls that keep turning up in it. Plots withing plots, red herrings, lots of people with unexpected connections and so on. To be honest I found that there were a little too many people to keep track of, sometimes I really wished for a list of the cast so I could take a look at it whenever one of the lesser characters made an appearance. I quite often spend time trying to figure out who the heck this was again.
Like in Case Histories there’s seemingly unconnected histories coming together to form a web of interconnectivity. I didn’t like it quite as much as the first one, maybe because I felt that the humor that was present in Case Histories was less present in this one. I also struggled more in keeping the figures straight, and all this contributed to me using a lot longer to get properly into it. Still, in the end I did get into it and really enjoyed the last third or so.
I also like the title. The idiom “One good turn deseves another” has a lot of impact on the actions of many of the characters in the book, quite often in ways that you don’t expect.
I wasn’t quite sure how to grade this book, but I ended up with a four. Mostly because of the many, many characters, a few of which I thought were only fillers that didn’t really need to be there. If I hadn’t liked Case Histories so much I’m not sure I would have stayed with this one long enough to be hooked, and that’s a weakness.
Still, I’m solidly hooked on Kate Atkinson and Jackson Brody by now, I’ll keep reading.
I read it in English, but it’s also translated into Norwegian and called “Øye for øye“.
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