Customer Reviews


210 Reviews
5 star:
 (83)
4 star:
 (78)
3 star:
 (22)
2 star:
 (16)
1 star:
 (11)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As The Saying Goes.....
As the old saying goes 'One Good Turn Deserves Another' and in this case someone observes an attack, saves the life of the attackee and trouble comes in spades. Kate Atkinson re-introduces us to Jackson Brodie, whom we first met in 'Case Histories'. He has inherited 2 million pounds, has quit his job, but it seems his job has not quit him. Along with him comes Julia, whom...
Published on December 25, 2006 by prisrob

versus
20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice Humorous Tone but Sloppy Conclusion
I enjoyed meeting the characters. Julia and Jackson were a funny pair. I liked the wise cracking tone of the narrator (Kate Atkinson). But the ending left me with too many questions. Unlike the Russian dolls who fit neatly, one inside the other, this story just fell over sloppily. Who is Tatiana? Who is the father of Julia's baby? And what of Martin, who and what...
Published on January 16, 2007 by Janet Rosenkrantz


‹ Previous | 1 221 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

50 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As The Saying Goes....., December 25, 2006
This review is from: One Good Turn: A Novel (Hardcover)
As the old saying goes 'One Good Turn Deserves Another' and in this case someone observes an attack, saves the life of the attackee and trouble comes in spades. Kate Atkinson re-introduces us to Jackson Brodie, whom we first met in 'Case Histories'. He has inherited 2 million pounds, has quit his job, but it seems his job has not quit him. Along with him comes Julia, whom we also met in 'Case Histories'. Both have a murdered sibling in common, and they have become lovers. Julia divulges very little- she is a clam- while we come to know Jackson a bit better.

Into this mix comes varied and sundry characters- all well described and more than interesting, and all well vested in this story. All of these people are hiding something, all looking for something, and all are integral to the whole. All are inter-connected as the story develops, and we are left to ponder their interests.

Paul Bradley- the victim who was attacked

Martin, a mystery writer who is thrust into a series of real-life crimes.

Jackson, whom we have met before; a former police officer who finds and loses the body of a young girl, then stumbles into several other violent events.

Louise, a senior police officer, who doesn't believe all of Jackson's explanation, but finds him very interesting.

Gloria, the wife of a home builder, who "often felt that her life was a series of rooms that she walked in to when everyone else had just left."

Honda Man- the attacker- not of one but many of these characters

JoJo- the Russian who seems to materialize suddenly

When 'Paul Bradley' is rear-ended by a Honda driver who gets out and bashes Bradley unconscious with a baseball bat, Jackson is a reluctant witness. Other bystanders include crime novelist Martin Canning, 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 dead body that only he can see, the Honda man and tight-lipped inspector Louise Monroe. Everyone has a secret infidelity, unprofessional behavior, murder, which adds depth to this story. After Martin misses a visit from the Honda man, he enlists Jackson as a bodyguard, pulling the characters into an orbit before they collide on Gloria Hatter's lawn. Along the way, pieces of plot fall through the cracks and the final event unfolds. The characters are absorbing and Kate Atkinson has offered us another superb story. 'One Good Turn', in my opinion, is the most intriguing book thus far.

"Despite Atkinson's promise of "boxes within boxes, dolls within dolls, worlds within worlds", the finale, when the cast are maneuvered together for a violent climax and the inevitable expostulations of "You? Here? Why?" The pleasure of One Good Turn lies in the ride, in Atkinson's wry, unvanquished characters, her swooping, savvy, sarcastic prose and authorial joie de vivre. In the end it is Jackson Brodie we remember and hope to meet again, gunning down the motorway with the stereo on, "someone who had weathered the world and still had something left to give". Publishers Weekly

The tempo picks up when we begin to learn who the attacker/murderer is, and we become privy to the workings of the inner minds of all of the characters. The story unfolds before our eyes, and we see the police and all of the characters inter-play. A surprising and innovative novel by Kate Atkinson. She just becomes better and better, and I am looking forward to her next novel- hopefully Jackson Brodie will be back in the fold.
Highly Recommended. prisrob 12/25/06
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Good Turn, Twenty Weird Twists, May 25, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: One Good Turn: A Novel (Hardcover)
I spent too much time reading this book, getting to two pages one day, ten on the next, putting it away for a week. This was a mistake. One Good Turn takes one twist of fate from five or six points of view and pulls together a story drafted with a deft command of the Queen's tongue (I do mean ENGLISH) and lovely divergent backstories and character development pieces. It's a mystery wrapped in a Jane Austin novel strung together with pearls.

One auto accident brings several main characters together on journeys that lead the reader into the mystery of the Honda Man, a road raging thug who clubs another driver in clear view of several witnesses. Ms. Atkinson stammers the time frame to allow the participating characters to ramp up to the accident, and my stop-start reading of this book made the story difficult to follow. I heartily recommend no more than a few sittings of extended reading to fully absorb the action. This is no standard issue action novel, so it's a bit of genre bender where the adventure is sluced with plenty of prose. Enjoy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Constructed, Interesting and Coherent, April 17, 2007
This review is from: One Good Turn: A Novel (Hardcover)
This novel has an interesting and intricate plot peopled with interesting and varied characters. Even with its complexities this book is exceptionally readable and fails to confuse or confound. It's written in the revolving-door style of storytelling that is becoming popular in modern movie making. A number of characters from different backgrounds--whose lives are inexplicably intertwined through destiny to the end of some greater good or evil--learn, experience, and grow through their fated interactions (think "Crash" and "Babel").

I enjoyed the read. My one criticism was that I found the ending wanting. It seemed as though perhaps the book had gotten too long, and with a looming deadline, the author did the best she could to wrap it up. I'm not sure how I would have changed it, just that I feel there had to be a more gripping resolution. The twist never came for me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, if not quite up to Case Histories, October 24, 2006
By 
Tony Mastrogiorgio (Pleasant Hill, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: One Good Turn: A Novel (Hardcover)
Case Histories, Atkinson's previous novel, began with three separate stories of death and disappearance. In the world of mystery novels, those stories are supposed to wind up connected. While the lives of the survivors do become intertwined, the 'solutions' of the mysteries remain separate and random. There is no grand denouncement. The end of Case Histories is much like life itself: you can accept it has meaning, reject everything as random, curse the universe or move on.

One Good Turn does something else--you might even say it deliberately does the opposite. Without giving anything away, all the strands come together into a single picture. But Atkinson has not abandoned the literary novel for mystery conventions, There is an element of farce at work here - people coming and going, incredible coincidences, concealed intentions. (The `stage' is Edinburgh during the annual theater festival, which should be taken as a hint of Atkinson's intentions.)

The farcical elements are lightly handled, but they are the key to accepting the coincidences that drive the story. Also, Atkinson's characters never behave as if they are in on the joke. The danger and disappointments are real to them.

All in all, One Good Turn is an interesting, extremely well written balancing act. It is a mystery, a literary novel and an experiment. I think the element of farce should have been a little more pronounced, but at the very least it is always highly entertaining. Even if it may not quite achieve what it set out to do, One Good Turn will probably be one of the best novels you'll read this year.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Boxes within boxes, dolls within dolls, worlds within worlds...", December 12, 2006
This review is from: One Good Turn: A Novel (Hardcover)
In a book that is more fun than any other book I've read all year, Kate Atkinson creates a series of bizarre characters, all involved with murder--either planning it, committing it, or trying to avoid it. Many seemingly unrelated characters, involved in several seemingly unrelated plot lines, make their appearance in the first fifty pages. During the four days in which the novel takes place, however, these characters and plots start to overlap and eventually come together, until, at the end, the reader is smiling with pleasure at the brilliant plotting and ironic twists of fate--full of admiration for Atkinson's skill in bringing it all together with such panache.

In the main plot line, an Edinburgh automobile accident leaves "Paul Bradley," a mysterious man and innocent victim, at the mercy of a crazed, baseball bat-wielding Honda driver. A witness, Martin Canning, the timid writer of Nina Riley mystery stories, reacts instinctively to the impending carnage, hurling his laptop at the Honda driver and saving "Paul Bradley" from certain death. A second set of characters revolves around Graham Hatter, the wealthy developer of Hatter Homes, who is in trouble for bribery, money laundering, and fraud in the building of cheap tract houses.

Jackson Brodie, former cop and private investigator, in Edinburgh for a drama festival in which his girlfriend is involved, introduces a third plot line when he discovers a woman's body on the rocks beside the ocean. It washes out to sea, nearly drowning him when he tries to retrieve it. Sgt. Louise Monroe, who lives in one of the Hatter Homes and whose son is a petty thief, is assigned to investigate the report of the body Brodie claims to have seen. Additional threads involve a housecleaning company/escort service, a second-rate comedian who "comes to dinner," and events which took place in Russia some years ago.

Full family backgrounds and work histories are given for all the characters, and it is through these that the reader often detects some of their interconnections. Ironies abound, and as characters' dreams are revealed and their fantasies are explored, the reader comes to know them--until Atkinson reveals even more surprises and shows how much we have yet to learn. With action that comes fast and furious, devious plot twists, and deliciously dark humor, Atkinson crafts a novel that proves one of Jackson Brodie's maxims: "A coincidence is just an explanation waiting to happen." By the end of this novel, all the explanations have happened. n Mary Whipple
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nice Humorous Tone but Sloppy Conclusion, January 16, 2007
This review is from: One Good Turn: A Novel (Hardcover)
I enjoyed meeting the characters. Julia and Jackson were a funny pair. I liked the wise cracking tone of the narrator (Kate Atkinson). But the ending left me with too many questions. Unlike the Russian dolls who fit neatly, one inside the other, this story just fell over sloppily. Who is Tatiana? Who is the father of Julia's baby? And what of Martin, who and what is he anyway? Author mentions that not one person thought of calling hospitals when Graham vanished. This can be believed for a day perhaps but not 2 or 3 days when many people were searching desparately for him. Gloria came across as a bitter battle axe, passive for many years and now playing catch up. The detail of her dropping cash as she sped through a tacky housing development was forced.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Change was insidious, creeping up on you as though you were playing a game of statues.", October 9, 2006
This review is from: One Good Turn: A Novel (Hardcover)
The novel begins with unexpected violence in Edinburgh, spooling out a dissociated cast of characters who are tied together by the vaguest of circumstances, the result an ingenious, collision-packed adventure. A car accident; an assault on one driver by another wielding a baseball bat; a threatened witness; a young woman who may or may not have drowned; one man bludgeoned to death in lieu of another. All these things happen so fast that no one links them together until one police inspector literally trips over the coincidences.

The cast is varied: the crooked real estate developer now lying comatose in the hospital, victim of a heart attack in a motel room with a paid companion; his over-the-hill wife, quite aware of her husband's financial chicanery and random adulteries, planning her own escape for years by stashing cash in the basement; Louise, the police inspector, whose teen-aged son has turned into a primeval monster with the advent of adolescence; Martin Canning, a reclusive writer with no personal life; "Honda Man", a huge, baseball bat-toting brute; his first victim, Paul Bradley, whose valise contains an artfully hidden pistol; and Jackson Brodie, the unsuspecting hero, ex-cop, ex-PI, recent millionaire, who has come to Scotland with his girlfriend du jour, an actress.

As the bodies multiply, the plot thickens, the reader treated to inside information that eludes the protagonists, who continue to crash into each other like pin balls. There is a certain logic compelling the story line, people's paths intersecting more and more frequently, the threat increasing exponentially until it all comes to a head in one massive conflagration, the major players all on the same stage, the monster in their midst expelled by the least aggressive of them, the shy writer, who, until recently, has spun out more exciting events in his head than the numbing banality of his lackluster days. Although a bit anticlimactic, the ending befits this amusement park ride of geeks, freaks and virtual strangers, all come together in a grand finale. Luan Gaines/2006.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My Guess, August 3, 2009
This review is from: One Good Turn: A Novel (Hardcover)
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 until 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. That's my guess.

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.

I had intended to read another book by Atkinson. Now I won't.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow! I love Atkinson's writing, September 28, 2006
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: One Good Turn: A Novel (Hardcover)
I had read Case Histories and could not WAIT to get another book by Kate Atkinson. I was not disappointed. But don't take my word for it...Stephen King called this the BEST mystery of the decade (that is written on the back of the book cover) and it got superb reviews in The New York Times.

THE PLOT: Road rage sets off a series of events that leave Jackson Brodie, ex-cop, in the mddle of not ONE, but several mysteries.

What made me really love this book was the writing style of Atkinson. SHe has a way of making her characters unique, believable and also setting up great twists and turns. What more could a reader want?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, January 13, 2007
By 
Mark "MTF" (Waltham, MA, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: One Good Turn: A Novel (Hardcover)
I went into this book expecting a clever mystery filled with interesting characters. For me, this book did not deliver on either. Very little actually happened in 400+ pages. At times, it looked like things would pick up, but they didn't. That would be okay if each character's story was compelling. There was no main character. Instead, the book bounces between a handful of characters as their lives intersect. This was confusing to me for longer than it should have been. The two chief characters, the former police officer and the writer (both men), never came alive to me. The one character that did come alive for me was Louise (the investigating police officer / single mother). I found myself looking forward to the "Louise chapters," of which there were not enough. Maybe Atkinson is better with female characters. What's surprising is that this book is filled with interesting details in the lives of all these characters, yet only one became someone I believed in and cared about. I could have overlooked the character shortfalls had the story moved along better. Kate Atkinson is a very good writer. Each page was an interesting read, but this novel did not have enough to engage me.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 221 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

One Good Turn: A Novel
One Good Turn: A Novel by Kate Atkinson (Hardcover - October 11, 2006)
Used & New from: $0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.