[Dansk titel: Hvornår kommer der en god nyhed – anmeldt på Litteratursiden]
The book is the third in the Scottish Jackson Brodie series (a recurrent figure though one could argue if Jackson is really the main character in any of them).
During the first couple of pages, the reader feels lulled into a relatively harmonious state. A mother and her three children get off the bus and walk towards their home. A primitive cottage in the middle of nowhere, yet home, which we see through the eyes of six-year-old Joanna.
This peaceful and ordinary existence is shattered very abruptly, however, when a man appears out of nowhere and kills Joanna´s mother, her sister, her baby brother – even the dog whose name Joanna cannot recall years after the disaster. Another tiny, but very realistic detail.
After this memorable beginning, the story continues when the man who wiped out Joanna´s family is released from prison. In spite of the highly dramatic events, the novel is not mainly about the crime but about the lives of the grown-up Joanna Hunter and the people around her. People so real that you cannot help worrying about them! We also follow Jackson Brodie, ex-policeman and ex-detective, plus Louise Monroe who was a very close colleague in book two. In the meantime they have both married – a bit impulsively, perhaps.
The most engaging character, however, is Reggie, the sixteen-year-old girl who looks after Joanna´s beloved baby. With Rggie´s rather troubled past and present, Joanna´s home turns into a haven for her as she slowly begins to feel they are her real family. When Dr Hunter and the baby are around, things are as they should be – when they are not, Reggie does what is in her power to rectify things.
A lovely story, and of course it is about crime to some extent, but the book is definitely more literary than fast-paced. And the language? Downright brilliant.
My review of the first, Case Histories.
My review of the second, One Good Turn (I must remember to reread this one – written by Kate Atkinson – there must be more to it than I thought in March).