Friday, May 15, 2009
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
Protagonist: Jackson Brodie
When Will There Be Good News? is not your usual crime fiction book, and this seems to arouse strong feelings about it – whether you like it or not. Although the book is billed as one in the series starring Jackson Brodie, our supposed hero is this hapless person, amnesiac part of the time, who has a small role in solving the crime. Rather, the main crime solvers are Det. Chief Insp. Louise Monroe and teenaged orphan Reggie Chase. The characters are strong ones, but the story meanders and doesn’t pick up until halfway through the book. The other important character is Dr. Joanna Hunter. As a child, her mother and two siblings were killed; the killer is released from jail at about the same time that Hunter disappears. This is where our trio of protagonists, whose stories have been told separately, finally converge. Atkinson’s writing, and her wit, are wonderful. But if you want a linear, more traditional mystery, then you may be one of those readers who fall on the side of disliking it.