Jennifer Reese
September 24, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

When Will There Be Good News?

Current Status
In Season
Kate Atkinson
Little, Brown and Company
Fiction, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a B+

If you’ve never read the odd and brilliant Case Histories, in which Kate Atkinson launched the career of private investigator Jackson Brodie, ? you have an amazing treat in store. And while none of the sequels have quite measured up, few novels could. The latest Brodie installment, When Will There Be Good News?, begins, chillingly, as 6-year-old Joanna Mason watches her family — and her dog — slaughtered by a stranger on a deserted country lane. Fast-forward 30-odd years: The killer has been released from prison, Joanna disappears, and Brodie almost dies in a train crash. How ?Atkinson fits together these seemingly random story lines is one of the pleasures of her work, along with the dark sense of humor that belies a deep compassion for her characters. B+

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