One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie Series #2)

One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie Series #2)

by Kate Atkinson

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

On a beautiful summer day, crowds lined up outside a theater witness a sudden act of extreme road rage: a tap on a fender triggers a nearly homicidal attack. Jackson Brodie, ex-cop, ex-private detective, new millionaire, is among the bystanders.
The event thrusts Jackson into the orbit of the wife of an unscrupulous real estate tycoon, a washed-up comedian, a successful crime novelist, a mysterious Russian woman, and a female police detective. Each of them hiding a secret, each looking for love or money or redemption or escape, they all play a role in driving Jackson out of retirement and into the middle of several mysteries that intersect in one sinister scheme.
Kate Atkinson "writes such fluid, sparkling prose that an ingenious plot almost seems too much to ask, but we get it anyway," writes Laura Miller for Salon. With a keen eye for the excesses of modern life, a warm understanding of the frailties of the human heart, and a genius for plots that turn and twist, Atkinson has written a novel that delights and surprises from the first page to the last.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316012829
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/10/2007
Series: Jackson Brodie Series , #2
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 21,737
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Kate Atkinson lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, was named Whitbread Book of the Year in the U.K. in 1995, and was followed by Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Not the End of the World and Case Histories.

Read an Excerpt

One Good Turn

A Novel
By Kate Atkinson

LITTLE, BROWN

Copyright © 2006 Kate Atkinson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-15484-9


Chapter One

He was trying to drive and at the same time decipher his A-Z of Edinburgh to work out how to escape this hellish street, when someone stepped in front of the car. It was a type he loathed-a young, dark-haired guy with thick, black-framed spectacles, two days of stubble, and a fag hanging out of his mouth, there were hundreds of them in London, all trying to look like French existentialists from the sixties. He'd bet that not one of them had ever opened a book on philosophy. He'd read the lot-Plato, Kant, Hegel-even thought about getting a degree someday.

He braked hard and didn't hit the spectacles guy, just made him give a little jump, like a bullfighter avoiding the bull. The guy was furious, waving his fag around, shouting, raising a finger to him. Charmless, devoid of manners-were his parents proud of the job they'd done? He hated smoking, it was a disgusting habit, hated guys who gave you the finger and screamed, "Spin on it," saliva flying out of their filthy, nicotine-stained mouths.

He felt the bump, about the same force as hitting a badger or a fox on a dark night, except it came from behind, pushing him forward. It was just as well the spectacles guy had performed his little paso doble and gotten out of the way or hewould have been pancaked. He looked in the rearview mirror. A blue Honda Civic, the driver climbing out-a big guy with slabs of weight-lifter muscle, gym-fit rather than survival-fit, he wouldn't have been able to last three months in the jungle or the desert the way that Ray could have. He wouldn't have lasted a day. He was wearing driving gloves, ugly black leather ones with knuckle holes. He had a dog in the back of the car, a beefy rottweiler, exactly the dog you would have guessed a guy like that would have. The man was a walking cliché. The dog was having a seizure in the back, spraying saliva all over the window, its claws scrabbling on the glass. The dog didn't worry him too much. He knew how to kill dogs.

Ray got out of the car and walked round to the back bumper to inspect the damage. The Honda driver started yelling at him, "You stupid fucking twat, what did you think you were doing?" English. Ray tried to think of something to say that would be nonconfrontational, that would calm the guy down-you could see he was a pressure cooker waiting to blow, wanting to blow, bouncing on his feet like an out-of-condition heavyweight. Ray adopted a neutral stance, a neutral expression, but then he heard the crowd give a little collective "Aah" of horror and he registered the baseball bat that had suddenly appeared in the guy's hand out of nowhere and thought, Shit.

That was the last thought he had for several seconds. When he was able to think again he was sprawled on the street, holding the side of his head where the guy had cracked him. He heard the sound of broken glass, the bastard was putting in every window in his car now. He tried, unsuccessfully, to struggle to his feet but only managed to get to a kneeling position as if he were at prayer, and now the guy was advancing with the bat lifted, feeling the heft of it in his hand, ready to swing for a home run on his skull. Ray put an arm up to defend himself, made himself even more dizzy by doing that, and, sinking back onto the cobbles, thought, Jesus, is this it? He'd given up, he'd actually given up-something he'd never done before-when someone stepped out of the crowd, wielding something square and black that he threw at the Honda guy, clipping him on the shoulder and sending him reeling.

He blacked out again for a few seconds, and when he came to there were a couple of policewomen hunkered down beside him, one of them saying, "Just take it easy, sir," the other one on her radio calling for an ambulance. It was the first time in his life that he'd been glad to see the police.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson Copyright © 2006 by Kate Atkinson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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One Good Turn 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 166 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This tale opens with an incident of road rage, scary and all too real....but you are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Here you are exposed to romance, mystery, greed, parenting, relationships, sickness and funny characters. The threads all weave together very nicely, even though you are doubtful any of what you are reading will relate to the mystery here. And, there are some memorable people you do not want to leave when the story ends. Jackson Brodie...a man who deals with his emotions and shares his thoughts and is also quite the crime fighter to boot. And my absolute favorite, Gloria Hatter who is manipulated by life itself and very slowly starts to realize what a victim she allowed herself to be. Her life becomes her focus when her husband becomes 'ill' under rather unpleasant circumstances and Gloria begins to see exactly what is terribly wrong in the world. The mystery is solved and you find yourself very intrigued when all the people scheduled for demise wind up in the same room with the killer...it would make a wonderful scene for a movie. And, the cherry on top of this wonderfully sweet treat is Gloria's renewal and growth and her take charge attitude for her future. Just absolutley delicious...Read this book.
Dasho More than 1 year ago
I saw the first books in the series brought to life recently on PBS. The books were a definite "must read" after that. Like the character, and love the wit and dry humor Atkinson injects - makes me laugh out loud even while I marvel at the situations in which these characters find themselves. Will continue reading the series.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Voice performer Robin Atkin Downes is a more than proficient actor - he's equipped to narrate in some 40 dialects. Television aficionados recognize him for his appearances on Nash Bridges, Beverly Hills 90210, Buffy the Vampire slayer and others. His London stage performances include starring in Dracula, Taming of the Shrew, Much Ado About Nothing, and more. He delivers a stellar reading of 'One Good Turn,' by Whitbread First Novel Award winner Kate Atkinson. What does a Good Samaritan get for his trouble? In the case of 50¿year-old Martin Canning, a second tier crime novelist who spends much time in wishful thinking, maybe a star in his crown but only a wealth of woes on this earth. Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, our story opens with a crowd of people witnessing what appears to be a minor bumper bash but quickly turns ugly. The driver of one of the vehicles jumps from his car and brutally attacks the other driver with a baseball bat. Just as a perhaps fatal blow is about to be delivered, someone in the crowd tosses a laptop case which deflects the attacker's aim. The tosser is Martin. For his life saving act, surely the most untoward thing he has ever done, Martin is robbed and worse. The crowd is quick to disperse, leaving listeners to believe that is the end of them. Not at all. Atkinson's magic pen brings them back, weaves them throughout her narrative in surprising ways. While we never know what life may hold in store, this author leads us on a fascinating journey of what it might. - Gail Cooke
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
One Good Turn is the second book in the Jackson Brodie series by popular British author, Kate Atkinson. Fans of Case Histories who watched Jackson Brodie drive off into the French sunset will be pleased to encounter this flawed but very likeable character again. Jackson, living in France and still unaccustomed to wealth, is in Edinburgh because he is funding the play in which Julia Land is appearing for the Fringe Festival. He witnesses, along with a queue of others, an apparent attack of road rage. Later, he spies a dead body on a beach and tries to stop it from being washed into the Forth. Surviving near drowning and intensive police questioning, he is then attacked by a violent thug warning him off. But off what exactly? Once again Atkinson takes several apparently unrelated events and, with consummate ease, weaves them together to form a brilliant mystery. A great part of the story is narrated by other characters: the wife of a corrupt property developer; a crime novelist plagued by guilt; a teenage boy who likes to shoplift; and a Detective Inspector who is a single mother. Atkinson’s strength is her characters and some of their inner monologues are an absolute delight, filled with dry British (and often very black) humour and understatement. There is humour, too, in certain situations and dialogue, including several laugh-out-loud moments. Atkinson packs in plenty of action: attack by baseball bat, dog, knife and gun; strangulation, drowning, heart attack, drugging, grand theft, accidental death, a missing body, an assassin and some Russian dolls of the living and craft variety. There are quite a few echoes and twists in the plot, and the final one had this reader grinning from ear to ear. Add to all this, Atkinson’s wonderful prose: gems like “all she could remember about him was his great cloud of hair, like a dandelion clock.”  and “a small life lived in neutral gear” and this becomes a novel that is a joy to read.
Maximillian More than 1 year ago
This is the second book I have read by Kate Atkinson. She reminds me of our American author, John Irving. All the storylines throughout the novel are tied up neatly together at the end of the book. One trend I have noticed with many authors lately is having one or more Russian characters who are usually the bad guys. There was quite a varied cast of characters in this book. There were also variations on the long-suffering wife who comes out victorious. You do have to pay close attention as you read to keep the characters and storylines in order, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Plan on sitting down and reading the entire book as reading a chapter here & there will not deliver. I loved this book - it offered me everything I want - a crime mystery, humour especially, humanity & reality. Greatly woven characters. I was surprised that I could not predict anything in this book - finally a plot that is fresh & fun.
bhowell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another great thriller by Ms Atkinson with her character, Jackson Brodie. Action takes place in Edinburgh.
mojacobs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jackson Brodie, hero of Case Histories, is back in this new "Jolly Murder Mystery", as the author has subtitled the book. It is summer, the Edingburgh Festival. Brodie is back in town and witnesses a road-rage incident where timid romance writer Martin Canning surprises himself and everybody else by intervening. Murder eventually follows, and several loose threads telling about the lives of those involved in the incident come nicely together in the end to reveal "all". In between life goes on. Nicely told, a very good read.
malpower on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A kind of wacky mystery without the deep tragedy felt in many of Atkinson's books -- two main characters are Jackson Brody and Louise Monroe from Case Histories (will they EVER get together???) -- of course I loved it like I love all Atkinson's books!
thorold on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The most playful of the Jackson Brodie books, set in Edinburgh during the Festival and taking the opportunity to tease a few noted local crime writers along the way. Needless to say, the canine residents of the city who didn't have the presence of mind to leave town when Ms Atkinson arrived come to satisfyingly sticky ends, but the real point of the impossibly complicated plot seems to be to challenge our ideas about the ethical conventions of crime fiction. We have good acts with evil consequences, evil acts with good consequences, and every other possible permutation. Weak characters perform heroic acts; heroic characters connive at crimes, and so on to the ultra-ironic conclusion. Great fun, but never insensitive.We get a couple of interesting new characters in the shape of Martin, the wimpish ex-teacher who writes "jolly" murder mysteries, and Gloria, the suburban housewife who's on the verge of going Thelma-and-Louise. The police officer who acts as Jackson Brodie's foil, Louise Monroe, starts off a little bit too much like Rebus's Siobhan, but soon develops into something more interesting. All in all, a worthy follow-up to Case Histories.
dsc73277 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
'A coincidence is an explanation waiting to happen' according to one of the characters in this book, which is certainly not short of coincidences. From the outset we are introduced to a large cast of characters, whose paths all end up crossing in an almost farcical conclusion. The plot is absurd, but it is meant to be, and in any case it is cleverly weaved. If you like crime novels because they tend to end with most of the loose ends tied up, then you should like this one. You might also the appreciate the symmetry created by it's returning at the end to the character with which it opened, and the very final twist which reveals what - or rather who - set all that happens here in motion.This is the second of two novels Atkinson has penned that feature the now ex-detective, Jackson Brodie. In this outing she has taken the character to Edinburgh, a brave move considering the extent to which Rankin's Rebus has cornered the market in describing the criminal underlife of the Scottish capital, but one that worked, at least in the view of this reader.
samfsmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a ¿sequel¿ to Case Histories, although both novels are fine by themselves. It¿s a sequel in the sense of the next in a series of mysteries that have the same detective as a protagonist.Case Histories is a great book. One Good Turn is a good book. This book is about coincidences. As the protagonist says, ¿A coincidence is just an explanation waiting to happen.¿ There are plenty to characters all linked by coincidences, with what I¿m beginning to recognize as Atkinson¿s trademark style of tying everything together in unexpected ways.It¿s a good read - not as great as Case Histories, but still well worth it.
nocto on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago

Hmmm. Looking back I seem to have claimed that Case Histories was "totally fabulous" just after I read it. Which is odd because my memory of it now is that it was a good book certainly but not as bizarre as Kate Atkinson's other books. And I like the bizarre parts (or totals, in some cases).

This however is definitely totally fabulous. I was surprised to find character reuse, but it works and this book flies off on its own tangent and never quite figures out where it's coming from. There are numerous stories woven together inside each other and the only real problem is that the Russian doll metaphor felt a bit overworked.

I wonder if Kate Atkinson finishes up the last line of her books and then thinks "What on earth do I follow that up with?" because I certainly do. I look forward to it, whatever comes next.

astults on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What does a writer, two teenagers, the wife of a shoddy home builder, and a retired cop turned ex-detective now millionaire have in common? They're all witnesses to a fender bender at the Edinburgh festival. It's a seemingly ordinary accident that quickly escalates into an assault before being diffused by the writer.And this writer doesn't use words to get the situation under control. In fact, he's a writer who is a little bit tired of words. Or more accurately, the words and exploits of the main character in his series of best selling novels. His actions have unintended consequences.The teenagers are cutting class and looking for a thrill. One is headed towards a life of crime - too intelligent and bored for his own good. The other is an awkward teen who happens to be the son of a police detective, Louise Monroe. Louise ends up investigating events that may or may not be related to the car accident.Louise and her son, Archie, live in one of the poorly constructed homes built by Gloria's husband. When the home construction business was small Gloria kept the books. Now she's cut out of the day to day stuff but she knows the homes aren't built well or with good materials. Investigators are closing in on her husband's business.Jackson Brodie from Case Histories returns to One Good Turn as a man trying to find himself. The curse of being a millionaire is the lack of purpose in one's life. He's helped finance a play at the Edinburgh festival with his girlfriend as one of its cast members. Uncomfortable in London or his house in Paris this is a holiday from his ordinary life. This novel was a delight from beginning to end. Tense moments, such as a Jackson Brodie alley fight scene, can turn comical with just a few unexpected words.One thing I noticed is the reader gets to hear the important characters' thoughts. While more than one of these characters can be in a scene together, the reader only gets to know what one character is thinking. Any more and it would get to be a confusing jumble. Atkinson's next novel, When Will There Be Good News?, has Jackson Brodie and Louise Monroe in it. I swore I wouldn't let myself read it until I was done with this review. I cheated and began reading it a few days ago; that's how badly I wanted to know what happens to them.
oddbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are times when you want a book to end about 50 pages sooner than it does, and had One Good Turn benefited from closer editing, I suspect I would have given it five stars. However, it dragged on far too long, with several unnecessary characters (in a book populated by one of the largest casts I've read in a while) taking up too much time. By about page 275 I just wanted it to end, tight plot and excellent characterization notwithstanding.
SamSattler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
That "One Good Turn" does not always lead to another is a harsh fact of life that several of Kate Atkinson¿s characters learn the hard way in this, her second Jackson Brodie novel. Their experience is, in fact, more one of no good deed going unpunished.None of the festival crowd trying to negotiate the streets of crowded Edinburgh is quite prepared for the case of road rage unfolding in front of it over what is, after all, only a very minor traffic incident. One driver, though, emerges with baseball bat in hand and seems anxious to start swinging it. As the violence escalates, some members of the crowd, including Jackson Brodie, ex-policeman and retired private detective, are moved to do the right thing, choices that do not go unnoticed by the maniac with the baseball bat.Upon the arrival of the authorities, the crowd quickly breaks up and all the witnesses go their own way with the exception of Martin Canning, a rather effeminate writer of throwback mysteries, who accompanies the road rage victim on an ambulance ride to the hospital. A Kate Atkinson novel is never simple, though, and when the psychopathic driver decides to hunt down the witnesses to his road rage, Atkinson begins to juggle half a dozen plotlines that seem, at first, to have little to do with one another. Atkinson develops each plotline on its own, fully developing her characters along the way and, as she did in "Case Histories," gradually overlaps the characters to tell a story bigger than the sum of its parts.Atkinson peoples "One Good Turn" with a colorful assortment of characters, all of whom will have their lives changed forever because of a random traffic accident that has nothing to do with any of them. Jackson Brodie, feeling a bit emasculated by all the money he inherited from a former client, is in the city because Julia, also from "Case Histories," is there to perform in a festival play. Gloria, wife of sleazy homebuilder and thug Graham Hatter, witnesses the accident while on an outing with a flighty friend of hers. Newly promoted police detective Louise Monroe learns that her 14-year-old son and his friend were thrilled by the violence they witnessed. Throw a few illegal alien Russian women, a circus, a mistaken-identity murder, a dumb-as-a-post psychopath, and a disappearing drowning victim into the mix and things tend to get a bit wild.Be advised that, as usual in a Kate Atkinson novel, the reader must pay strict attention to all the characters and their goings-on in order to appreciate the intricate plot that Atkinson weaves. No snoozing allowed.I thoroughly enjoyed "One Good Turn" but Atkinson does stretch ¿coincidence¿ to its breaking point often enough that I have to limit its rating to four stars.Rated at: 4.0
mebacat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I am so into Kate Atkinson--beginning with Behind The Scenes at The Museum which was such a good book. Although I didn't read her following two novels having heard not such positive things about them, I kept my eye on her and when she invented our hero, Jackson Brodie, I think she found her stride, and I'll read everything she writes about this character, and, in fact, have read everything she's written about him.There's no question that Atkinson loves dark humor--which is a particular fondness of my own. One of my American friends believes it is because of the bleakness that dominates Scotland's weather and landscape, and there could certainly be some truth to that. Regardless, for me this was a great read, and I'm moving up in the library waiting list for Started Early, Took My Dog.
Djupstrom on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Either I didn't get it, or this one was a big stinker!! It never really came together for me, and I was bored throughout most of the novel.
debavp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Using the same format as with Case Histories, except this time throwing an even wider net to snare even more unbelievable and unnecessary characters. It's truly a shame as Brodie had such potential. I literally fell asleep face first into the book as I was reading. The unnecessary depictions of animal cruelty were unforgiveable.
debnance on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
True, Case Histories was a clever, fun mystery, but I've been mysteried out for years. I suddenly found myself in the mood for light and clever and One Good Turn made a fortuituous arrival at my house. Exactly what I wanted. Characters so miserable they couldn't help but be based on real life. A bit of wit or wisdom on almost every page. No great truths here, but a perfect way to spend a cold wet afternoon.
Doondeck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another clever effort by Atkinson
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jackson Brodie and his actress girlfriend are in Edinburgh for the Festival. Jackson has lots of time to kill while his girlfriend is in rehearsals. Maybe too much time. Trouble seems to find him wherever he goes. He's on the spot to witness an incident of road rage, and without meaning to, he gets pulled into events triggered by the incident. He can't even enjoy a day trip to the coast without stumbling across a crime victim, and his efforts to help land him in deeper trouble.I liked, but didn't love, Case Histories, Kate Atkinson's first Jackson Brodie novel. I'm glad I kept reading. I loved this second book in the series. As in the first book, the plot and interrelationships among the characters hinge on coincidence. The coincidences seem to run much deeper in this second Brodie novel, yet they don't feel as forced as they did in the first novel. Maybe I, like Jackson, have just come to expect it so that they no longer surprise me. As the plots and characters began to converge, I didn't even try to figure out where Atkinson was headed. Whatever I guessed wouldn't have been nearly as entertaining as what Atkinson created.
Jenners26 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book DescriptionThis plot was hard to sum up for someone as wordy as me so I¿m borrowing the one I saw on Amazon. HOWEVER, if you haven¿t read Case Histories yet (the first book in the series), skip this description as it contains some spoilers for the first book.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.My ThoughtsThe first thing you need to know about Kate Atkinson¿s Jackson Brodie series is that it really isn¿t about the mystery (which in this book was rather convoluted ¿ but in a good way). The real attraction of these books is the writing¿the way Atkinson inhabits the various characters and gives each of them a unique, believable and (oftentimes) amusing voice. I almost think of these books more as comic novels rather than mysteries. However, Atkinson does weave in murder, mistaken identities, fraud and some rather inappropriate police behavior. In addition, there are moments of real emotional heft that unexpectedly tug your heart-strings when you aren¿t expecting it.Like in the first Jackson Brodie book, Case Histories, Atkinson weaves together multiple story lines. Although each story seems unrelated at first, Atkinson manages to tie them all together neatly. Yet in both books, I found myself unable to remember exactly what the mystery was and how it was resolved after finishing the book. Isn¿t that weird? Yet this didn¿t really bother me. (Honestly.) It isn¿t that the plot doesn¿t make sense, but that it was almost beside the point. Atkinson has this effortless, witty way of writing that is a delight to read, and I¿ll continue on with this series until it finishes up¿loving every step of the way.Recommended ForReaders who enjoy character-driven mysteries with labyrinthine plots that are heavy on the humor but still manage to pack an emotional punch.
scubasue59 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My first ever Kate Atkinson book and I surprised myself by enjoying it greatly. Lots of intertwining threads which all come together in the end. A great read.
siri51 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Clever interlocking story with many twists - great read