When Will There Be Good News?
Kate Atkinson, 2008
Little, Brown & Co.
Thirty years ago, six-year-old Joanna witnessed the brutal murders of her mother, brother and sister, before escaping into a field, and running for her life. Now, the man convicted of the crime is being released from prison, meaning Dr. Joanna Hunter has one more reason to dwell on the pain of that day, especially with her own infant son to protect.
Sixteen-year-old Reggie, recently orphaned and wise beyond her years, works as a nanny for Joanna Hunter, but has no idea of the woman’s horrific past. All Reggie knows is that Dr. Hunter cares more about her baby than life itself, and that the two of them make up just the sort of family Reggie wished she had: that unbreakable bond, that safe port in the storm. When Dr. Hunter goes missing, Reggie seems to be the only person who is worried, despite the decidedly shifty business interests of Joanna’s husband, Neil, and the unknown whereabouts of the newly freed murderer, Andrew Decker.
Across town, Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe is looking for a missing person of her own, murderer David Needler, whose family lives in terror that he will return to finish the job he started. So it’s not surprising that she listens to Reggie’s outrageous thoughts on Dr. Hunter’s disappearance with only mild attention. But when ex-police officer and Private Investigator, Jackson Brodie arrives on the scene, with connections to Reggie and Joanna Hunter of his own, the details begin tosnap into place. And, as Louise knows, once Jackson is involved there’s no telling how many criminal threads he will be able to pull together — or how many could potentially end up wrapped around his own neck.
In an extraordinary virtuoso display, Kate Atkinson has produced one of the most engrossing, masterful, and piercingly insightful novels of this or any year. It is also as hilarious as it is heartbreaking, as Atkinson weaves in and out of the lives of her eccentric, grief-plagued, and often all-too-human cast. Yet out of the excesses of her characters and extreme events that shake their worlds comes a relatively simple message, about being good, loyal, and true. When Will There Be Good News? shows us what it means to survive the past and the present, and to have the strength to just keep on keeping on. (From the publisher.)
This is the third in the Jackson Brodie series, following Case Histories and One Good Turn.
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