Book Review: When Will There be Good News?

When Will There be Good News?

Kate Atkinson

Little, Brown and Company

400 pages

Joanna Hunter seems to have it all.  She is a successful doctor with a handsome husband and a baby son that she adores more than anything. She is hiding a dark secret, however; Joanna was the only survivor of a brutal attack as a child that resulted in the deaths of her mother, sister, brother, and even dog.  The killer has just been released from prison when all of a sudden Joanna disappears.  Her babysitter, Reggie (Regina) is a precocious teenager who is instantly suspicious and nervous about Joanna’s disappearance, despite the assurances of Joanna’s husband that she is only visiting a sick relative.

Throw in a bunch of crazy situations in Reggie’s life, along with the appearance of PI Jackson Brodie, and you have a story full of all kinds of twists and turns. It would generally be the type of book I would be all over.  My appetite for literary mysteries tends to be insatiable. When Will There be Good News? feel flat for me though.  The characters seemed two dimensional to me, and I did not feel that any of them were very realistic.  Add to that a bunch of unbelievable situations and it just ruined it for me.

The one aspect of the book that did end up drawing me in was the unrequited love between Jackson and Louise, whom he had worked with previously and I believe appears in the other Jackson Brodie books.  Louise was the one character that I really cared about.  She was realistic, albeit infuriating, and the way she jerked her husband around angered me.  Then you have Jackson, who is also a newlywed.  Both he and Louise hid behind their new marriages and refused to acknowledge their feelings for one another.  I am sure that is to create suspense but really . . . I just wanted them to both stop being so passive aggressive.

As it stands, I can’t say whether or not I will read more from Atkinson.  Her most recent books sounds pretty good, but I am skeptical as this one really let me down.

Other Reviews:

Rhapsody in Books

Page247

Shelf Love

Farm Lane Book Blog

S Krishna’s Books

I purchased this book from Barnes & Noble.

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7 Responses

  1. This was my first Atkinson and I was a bit disappointed too. I was most frustrated by the number of coincidences, but agree that the characters didn’t jump out at me as being wonderful either. I haven’t gone on to read any of her books, but if you discover that they are great then let me know!

  2. I’m so surprised that this turned out to be one of those love it or hate it kind of books. You know, you kind of expect it for Mockingjay or something, but not a more “ordinary” book! LOL

  3. Hey, when did you change your background? I LOVE all the Penguin cloth covers!

  4. I felt the same way! There were so many unbelievable coincidences in this and her other Jackson Brodie books. Too much for me. I have one more left to try, but if it’s anything like this, I’ll be annoyed.

  5. If you didn’t like this one, I’d leave the others alone, if I were you. They are very similar, so if her characterizations didn’t grab you and the coincidences fell flat– steer clear!

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