One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie Series #2)

One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie Series #2)

by Kate Atkinson

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780759568839
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 10/11/2006
Series: Jackson Brodie Series , #2
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 32,089
File size: 2 MB

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


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.


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 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 128 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 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.
mooknits on LibraryThing 27 days ago
What a fantastic book. I really really enjoyed this one. I would highly recommend it to anyone. This book is a cleverly constructed book. At first sight it appears that this a whole load of random stories put together, but as time goes on all the stories start to intertwine. There is a lovely twist in the tale and a really satisfying ending. Go read it, you'll love it.
BCCJillster on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Quite enjoyable. This is Atkinson's second mystery and it continues characters from Case Histories and adds at least one new one who I suspect will continue. Case Histories was more satisfying in some ways, but this is a darn good follow-up and I'll read more Atkinsons.
vandersen on LibraryThing 28 days ago
As is usual with Atkinson, the narrative untangles bit by bit. One knows about an narrative incident first and then gradually comes to understand the reason for it. I have a sense with Atkinson that everything is complete before the novel begins. Not as wonderful as Behind the Scenes at the Museum, but a good read nonetheless.
karieh on LibraryThing 28 days ago
Just some quick back story...I did read "Case Histories" by Atkinson, which is the prelude to this book. I remember hearing RAVE reviews about that book, but I was disappointed by it. The story was interesting enough, but I just wasn't captured by any of the characters. And this book...seemed to be the same way (except that I spent the first 124 pages trying to remember which characters were in "Case Histories" because I can't seem to find my copy)...until I hit page 125. And then - she got me. I was sucked in. At that point - I had to know what happened, had to know more about these very interested and extremely flawed characters. And? All the coincidences that were piling up were intriguing as well. Atkinson dances right up to the line of cheesiness with all of the coincidences...but doesn't cross it. Instead, she just got me turning the pages faster. The magic of this book is that it is so well written that the reader doesn't feel guilty for devouring a page turning mystery. Descriptions like: "...the kind of books that Martin wrote, in the person of his alter ego, Alex Blake. They were old-fashioned, soft-boiled crime novels featuring a heroine named Nina Riley, a gung ho kind of girl who had inherited a detective agency from her uncle. The books were set in the forties, just after the war. It was an era in history that Martin felt particularly drawn to, the monochrome deprivation of it, the undertow of seedy disappointment in the wake of heroism. The Vienna of The Third Man, the Home Counties of Brief Encounter." So well written - I feel exactly what she is describing. Also - there are little asides that each character has that are both insightful and humorous. "Gloria didn't believe in heaven, although she did occasionally worry that it was a place that existed only if you did believe in it. She wondered if people would be so keen on the idea of the next life if it was, say, underground. Or full of people like Pam. And relentlessly, tediously boring, like an everlasting Baptist service but without the occasional excitement of a full immersion." What seems like a serious musing has that twist of British humor that gets me every time. Another example of that is this (also from Gloria): "She imagined the little factory of cells that was her body taking in the chocolate and fat and flour (and probably carcinogenic additives) and sending them off on conveyer belts to different processing rooms. This industry, dedicated to the greater good that was Gloria, was run on cooperative, profit sharing lines. In this model Gloria factory, the cells were a cheerful, happy workforce who sang along to Worker's Playtime from a Tannoy radio. They were unionized and benefited from subsidized housing and health care..." In a mystery? I love it! The characters of Gloria and Jackson were the most compelling to me. I kept finding myself wanting to steer them in different direction because I was worried about them. They were the most optimistic, sometimes absurdly so...and I wanted their hopes to prove true, even when pitted against certain doom. Though I am nothing like an Anglophile, I always enjoy the feeling of tea, chintz, dark woods and musty drawing rooms that seem to accompany many books set in the United Kingdom. This book has that feel as many mentions of biscuits and takeaway. Which I am a sucker for. Like I said, when I started this book, I was reminded of my disappointment with the first book. When I finished One Good Turn, however, I was filled with delight that there is another book coming in the series. And the end? THE END? I sooooo didn't see that coming - but I loved it!!!!!
smallwonder56 on LibraryThing 28 days ago
It's the characters. Atkinson is a master of interesting, quirky characters and I can't get enough. Yes, "Case Histories" was better, I think, but this was very satisfying. The author weaves together many seemingly unrelated threads into an amazing plot. Don't get discouraged by the fact that you don't see the full picture until almost the end--you know what the characters know, as they know it. The book is extremely well-written, witty and engaging, but you have to love characters to love the book.
amf0001 on LibraryThing 28 days ago
I read Case Histories and then got this from the library straight away. I love the way Atkinson writes, I love the words she uses and the characters she describes. The minutia that made up Martin was just beautiful. However, I did not like the central mystery and found the last scene from the book just plain odd. So I loved the writing but was disappointed with the plot. I would read another book with Jackson Brodie, but as he felt out of place here, so did the book wander a little too lost at times, before picking up all the threads and then leaving me with a strange aftertaste. Not as clever as it could have been...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pads into the training hollow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
I love Kate Atkinson’s writing in One Good Turn, each chapter turned out like a new short story, polished to perfection, filled with character and plot, and smoothly carrying the story on to the next. Protagonist Jackson Brodie seems slightly darker than in the first novel, Case Histories, as if the rewards of luxury might be too much time to think dark thoughts. But he’s back on British shores, following Julia’s acting career on the road to the Edinburgh Fringe. There he meets a dead body, a female detective, temptation and mystery. But One Good Turn isn’t simply a Jackson Brodie story. It’s the story of each of its characters; of a mother, struggling with her teenage son; of a shy man thrust into the spotlight; of guilts long-hidden and festering; and of guilts too easily forgotten. One Good Turn is the tale of a woman scorned, a woman scorning, and a woman caught in between; or of a boy, a man, and a man still struggling to grow up. Perhaps it’s just a window into the unexpected lives of unlikely heroes and heroines, but if so the glass is astoundingly clear, and the view is enthralling. Unexpected road rage, unintentional death, unwanted heroism, unwilling assistance and unwelcome distractions all feed into this novel as each good turn leads to further demands, and each promise leads to betrayal. Each chapter is tightly woven, offering the perfect chance for distraction at its end, and the perfect promise of satisfaction to undistracted readers. I loved this book. Disclosure: I think it was a Christmas gift from a friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mrstass More than 1 year ago
So well written and laugh out loud funny..a realpage turner...
TexasGrandmaKK More than 1 year ago
Kate Atkinson's way of interweaving lives is phenomenal! Could not stop turning the pages as the excitement seemed to have a steamrolling effect! Can't wait to read the next Jackson Brodie novel!
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