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One Good Turn: A Novel

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One Good Turn: A Novel Cover

 

Staff Pick

It's hard to believe Kate Atkinson could follow up Case Histories with such a superb — may I suggest even superior? — novel: sly and witty, honest and humane, and, finally, complex and suspenseful. One could not ask for more than the whole package that is One Good Turn. It is undoubtedly my favorite novel of 2006.
Recommended by Georgie, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Two years after the events of Case Histories left him a retired millionaire, Jackson Brodie has followed Julia, his occasional girlfriend and former client, to Edinburgh for its famous summer arts festival. But when he witnesses a man being brutally attacked in a traffic jam — the apparent victim of an extreme case of road rage — a chain of events is set in motion that will pull the wife of an unscrupulous real estate tycoon, a timid but successful crime novelist, and a hardheaded female police detective into Jackson's orbit. Suddenly out of retirement, Jackson is once again in the midst of several mysteries that intersect in one giant and sinister scheme.

Review:

"Having won a wide following for her first crime novel (and fifth book), Case Histories (2004), Atkinson sends Det. Jackson Brodie to Edinburgh while girlfriend Julia performs in a Fringe Festival play. When incognito thug 'Paul Bradley' is rear-ended by a Honda driver who gets out and bashes Bradley unconscious with a baseball bat, the now-retired Jackson is a reluctant witness. Other bystanders include crime novelist Martin Canning, a valiant milquetoast who saves Bradley's life, and tart-tongued Gloria Hatter, who's plotting to end her 39-year marriage to a shady real estate developer. Jackson walks away from the incident, but keeps running into trouble, including a corpse, the Honda man and sexy, tight-lipped inspector Louise Monroe. Everyone's burdened by a secret — infidelity, unprofessional behavior, murder — adding depth and many diversions. After Martin misses a visit from the Honda man (Martin's wonderfully annoying houseguest isn't so lucky), he enlists Jackson as a bodyguard, pulling the characters into closer orbit before they collide on Gloria Hatter's lawn. Along the way, pieces of plot fall through the cracks between repeatedly shifting points of view, and the final cataclysm feels forced. But crackling one-liners, spot-on set pieces and full-blooded cameos help make this another absorbing character study from the versatile, effervescent Atkinson." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Atkinson's bright voice rings on every page, and her sly and wry observations move the plot as swiftly as suspense turns the pages of a thriller." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"[A]n intricately plotted and quite amusing sequel....Although it's not as wonderful as its predecessor, this still makes for delightfully witty reading." Booklist

Review:

"[A] soft-hearted thriller, short on menace but long on empathy and introspection....A technically adept and pleasurable tale, but Atkinson isn't stretching herself." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Atkinson skillfully links the characters to one another, revealing twists from their various points of view, and in Brodie creates a likable star....Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"The pleasure here lies in watching the intricate branches of Atkinson's plot unfurl, and in savoring the tart, quirky character portraits that hang from them." Laura Miller, Salon.com

Review:

"One Good Turn does some dawdling. Too much perhaps. Case Histories was a tighter book....This time Ms. Atkinson incorporates a good deal of the family histories of the characters, and some have similar backgrounds." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

"Atkinson's tart prose still sparkles, but while all the plot pieces connect, they never quite click. (Grade: B)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"One Good Turn and Case Histories lack a certain sense of ambition, of risk-taking, and use contemporary life without engaging it....Atkinson retains her always alluring style, but her vision has shrunk rather than expanded." Jane Smiley, The Los Angeles Times

Review:

"One Good Turn crackles with energy and imagination." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Entertaining both as a murder mystery and as a sprawling multi-character study in the best post-Nashville tradition." The Onion AV Club

Synopsis:

Following her mystery debut Case Histories with this percipient, funny, and totally satisfying read, Atkinson once again features ex-cop turned private investigator Jackson Brodie — except this time he is the prime suspect in a deadly crime.

About the Author

Kate Atkinson's first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread First Novel Award and was then chosen as the 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year. She is the author of a short story collection, Not the End of the World, and three other critically acclaimed novels, Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, and Case Histories. She lives in Edinburgh.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

techeditor, October 21, 2011 (view all comments by techeditor)
ONE GOOD TURN by Kate Atkinson begins with a road rage incident involving one crazy guy beating a man with a baseball bat and another man, a wimpy writer of popular crime novels, knocking the crazy guy down with his laptop computer. From there we meet all sorts of seemingly unrelated characters who all become connected.

It's actually a pretty good and simple story. But here's what I guess happened.

My guess is that Atkinson had a pretty good short story. Someone (publisher, editor, agent, whoever) told her she had to give them a book-length novel. So she took this perfectly good short story and padded it. And the result is ONE GOOD TURN.

Open this book to almost any page (except the last few), and you'll see it. One line, occasionally one or two paragraphs, of the story sandwiched between paragraphs of padding. Whatever happens reminds a character of something else that reminds the character of something else. Then back to the story soon to be followed by more padding.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
nicjas, October 2, 2008 (view all comments by nicjas)
I love the author's style of writing. These are characters that are quirky but real. You find yourself really wanting to spend more time with them even after the end of the book.
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(6 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780316012829
Author:
Atkinson, Kate
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Policewomen
Subject:
Millionaires
Subject:
Edinburgh (scotland)
Subject:
Mystery-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Reprint ed.
Publication Date:
September 2007
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
448
Dimensions:
8.24x5.60x1.21 in. .91 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

One Good Turn: A Novel Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.95 In Stock
Product details 448 pages Back Bay Books - English 9780316012829 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

It's hard to believe Kate Atkinson could follow up Case Histories with such a superb — may I suggest even superior? — novel: sly and witty, honest and humane, and, finally, complex and suspenseful. One could not ask for more than the whole package that is One Good Turn. It is undoubtedly my favorite novel of 2006.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Having won a wide following for her first crime novel (and fifth book), Case Histories (2004), Atkinson sends Det. Jackson Brodie to Edinburgh while girlfriend Julia performs in a Fringe Festival play. When incognito thug 'Paul Bradley' is rear-ended by a Honda driver who gets out and bashes Bradley unconscious with a baseball bat, the now-retired Jackson is a reluctant witness. Other bystanders include crime novelist Martin Canning, a valiant milquetoast who saves Bradley's life, and tart-tongued Gloria Hatter, who's plotting to end her 39-year marriage to a shady real estate developer. Jackson walks away from the incident, but keeps running into trouble, including a corpse, the Honda man and sexy, tight-lipped inspector Louise Monroe. Everyone's burdened by a secret — infidelity, unprofessional behavior, murder — adding depth and many diversions. After Martin misses a visit from the Honda man (Martin's wonderfully annoying houseguest isn't so lucky), he enlists Jackson as a bodyguard, pulling the characters into closer orbit before they collide on Gloria Hatter's lawn. Along the way, pieces of plot fall through the cracks between repeatedly shifting points of view, and the final cataclysm feels forced. But crackling one-liners, spot-on set pieces and full-blooded cameos help make this another absorbing character study from the versatile, effervescent Atkinson." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Atkinson's bright voice rings on every page, and her sly and wry observations move the plot as swiftly as suspense turns the pages of a thriller."
"Review" by , "[A]n intricately plotted and quite amusing sequel....Although it's not as wonderful as its predecessor, this still makes for delightfully witty reading."
"Review" by , "[A] soft-hearted thriller, short on menace but long on empathy and introspection....A technically adept and pleasurable tale, but Atkinson isn't stretching herself."
"Review" by , "Atkinson skillfully links the characters to one another, revealing twists from their various points of view, and in Brodie creates a likable star....Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "The pleasure here lies in watching the intricate branches of Atkinson's plot unfurl, and in savoring the tart, quirky character portraits that hang from them."
"Review" by , "One Good Turn does some dawdling. Too much perhaps. Case Histories was a tighter book....This time Ms. Atkinson incorporates a good deal of the family histories of the characters, and some have similar backgrounds."
"Review" by , "Atkinson's tart prose still sparkles, but while all the plot pieces connect, they never quite click. (Grade: B)"
"Review" by , "One Good Turn and Case Histories lack a certain sense of ambition, of risk-taking, and use contemporary life without engaging it....Atkinson retains her always alluring style, but her vision has shrunk rather than expanded."
"Review" by , "One Good Turn crackles with energy and imagination."
"Review" by , "Entertaining both as a murder mystery and as a sprawling multi-character study in the best post-Nashville tradition."
"Synopsis" by , Following her mystery debut Case Histories with this percipient, funny, and totally satisfying read, Atkinson once again features ex-cop turned private investigator Jackson Brodie — except this time he is the prime suspect in a deadly crime.
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