This second installment in Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie detective series begins with Jackson witnessing a road rage incident at the Edinburgh festival, and from there Atkinson spins out into chapters focusing individually on Jackson and other supporting characters: Martin, a mild-mannered mystery writer; Gloria, the wife of an aging mobster; and Louise, a policewoman who keeps crossing paths with Jackson. As with Atkinson’s other Jackson Brodie novels, the threads for all these characters eventually wind together in a satisfying way.
Although I found this 2nd novel a bit slower to start than the other Atkinson novel I’ve read, once things got moving it was so much fun to read. I like Jackson, but I also really like the supporting characters- they are funny and quirky but still very human- and I always find myself rooting for the side characters as much as Jackson (Gloria was my particular favourite here).
Online reviews suggest this novel is a little less loved than some of Atkinson’s others- the most common criticism seems to be that is less realistic than the first book. I don’t disagree (in real life the plot threads don’t tie up so neatly and not all the characters are as eccentrically interesting), but I also didn’t mind- I like some magic in my realism.