Mysteries in Paradise hosts a weekly meme on mystery authors and books, highlighting a different letter each week. Beginning March 22, 2010, posts with the letter W, for author first or last name or book title are being collected here.
My entry this week is the mystery, When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson. 348 pages
Jackson Brodie, previous detective from Case Histories and One Good Turn, is back for Kate Atkinson's newest novel. The title hints at the bad news following some characters that permeates this page turner. There are some desperately sad people in this book, and as several stories overlap and intersect they prove Jackson's line near the end of the book, 'A coincidence is just an explanation waiting to happen.'
This story is more straight forward than One Good Turn. Atkinson takes some time to weave several characters and stories together, and then the twists started that had me rapidly turning the pages to see how it would end. Great characters and plot twists and humor and suspense.
Reggie Chase, sixteen but looks younger, is a nanny for Dr Joanne Hunter's baby. Reggie spends her time avoiding her no good brother, trying to get her high school degree, and being followed by bad luck. I wanted to hug her and cheer her on the whole time.
Dr Hunter's husband is having some business cash flow issues and then Dr Hunter herself goes missing.
Joanne Mason was six years old when her family was butchered by a serial killer, only she and her novelist father survived. The killer, Andrew Decker, is about to be released from prison after thirty years in jail.
Louise Monroe, Detective Chief Inspector in Scotland, has moved on from her attraction to Jackson in the last book, but hasn't stopped thinking about him (who could?) She is still a strong protector of women and the baddest ass cop around.
Jackson Brodie, he used to be a policeman. He always has to look for a missing woman; he can't turn that mystery down.
Once a train wreck is added to this assortment of characters, lives get intertwined and some blood is shed. I liked how so many nursery rhymes were woven into the writing, and pop references are flying everywhere. I'm sure I missed a lot, not being a British native, but I was able to identify many. The ending was a little vague but as hopeful as could be expected for these sad, sad people. Louise and Jackson are terrific characters, full of angst and both are the typical lone-wolf cop with commitment issues. Hopefully, they will be back to another book.
(review originally posted to my blog on October 8, 2008)