Kate Atkinson is one of my favorite writers. When Will There Be Good News? (Little, Brown) completes the 'trilogy' she started with Case Histories and One Good Turn. Jackson Brodie ("I used to be in the police") is at the core of each novel, but the cast of characters in each is what makes the novels so great. Her literary thrillers, as they've been called, are really fantastic puzzles of interconnected lives and events that span many places and times. Her clever plots and beautiful writing keeps the reader engaged and in suspense from start to finish. I read this in one sitting, and once only sad that it was over.
When Will There Be Good News? is not a crime novel in the usual sense. It doesn't fit any pattern, and this uniqueness is what makes it such a satisfying read. Nobody really solves anything, but things come together and troubles are resolved. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of crimes, but they're not so much solved as resolved. Jackson uses her astonishing skill of giving us multiple voices and multiple mysteries in one narrative.
I particularly liked Reggie Chase, a 16 year old orphan wise beyond her years. It was also great to see Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe, not your usual cup of tea in this novel. In an interview that Amy Cox Williams Atkinson said she's completed this trilogy, but she doesn't rule out bringing Jackson Brodie back. I certainly hope she does--and Reggie with him.
Also when asked if there are any crime or mystery authors she's been fond of over the years, she said Harlan Coben, Lee Child, and Laura Lippman. Good company.