In rural Devon, six-year-old Joanna Mason witnesses an appalling crime. Thirty years later the man convicted of the crime is released from prison. In Edinburgh, sixteen-year-old Reggie works as a nanny for a G.P. But Dr. Hunter has gone missing and Reggie seems to be the only person who is worried. Across town, Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe is also looking for a missing person, unaware that hurtling towards her is an old friend - Jackson Brodie - himself on a journey that becomes fatally interrupted.
"A third appearance for former police investigator and private detective Jackson Brodie in this psychologically astute thriller from Atkinson (One Good Turn, 2006, etc.). In the emotional opening, six-year-old Joanna witnesses the brutal killing of her mother and siblings by a knife-wielding madman in the British countryside. Thirty years later, Joanna, now a doctor in Edinburgh, has become a mother herself. Her baby's nanny is 16-year-old Reggie. To Reggie, whose own mother recently died in a freak accident, Joanna and her baby represent an ideal family (Joanna's husband, a struggling businessman, seems only a vaguely irritating irrelevance to fatherless Reggie). When prickly, self-loathing policewoman Louise Monroe comes to call on lovely, warm-hearted Joanna, watchful Reggie (think Ellen Page from Juno with a Scottish brogue) is struck by the similarities between the two well-dressed professional women. Actually Louise has come to warn Joanna that her family's murderer is being released from prison. Louise chooses not to mention her other reason for visiting, a suspicion that Joanna's husband torched one of his failing businesses for the insurance. Jackson's connection to the others is revealed gradually: Jackson and Louise were once almost lovers although they since married others; as a youth Jackson joined the search party that found Joanna hiding in a field following the murders. Rattled after visiting a child he suspects he fathered despite the mother's denials, Jackson mistakenly takes the train to Edinburgh instead of London. When the train crashes near the house where Reggie happens to be watching TV, she gives him CPR. Soon afterward, Joanna's husband tells Reggie that Joanna has gone away unexpectedly. Suspecting foul play, Reggie involves Louise and Jackson in individual searches for the missing woman and baby. While Louise and Jackson face truths about themselves and their relationships, Joanna's survival instincts are once more put to the ultimate test. Like the most riveting BBC mystery, in which understated, deadpan intelligence illuminates characters' inner lives within a convoluted plot."(Kirkus Reviews)
Daily Express: Gripping...Suspense is tinglingly maintained throughout...shot through with wry wit and gritty realism
Mirror: Another Jackson Brodie thriller from the brilliant Kate Atkinson...the most enthralling to date
Scotland on Sunday: Faultless...plays with the tenets of the crime genre without ever sacrificing the essence of wit and nuance which make Atkinson's novels such jubilant reads.
Kate Atkinson's latest bestsellers, Case Histories and One Good Turn, both also featured the former private detective Jackson Brodie. She won the Whitbread Book of the Year for her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since.