Bingo Square: I Wish. (I thought this was set in Yorkshire but I was wrong, so it’ll have to be for the whole of the UK since I have no idea when I’ll be able to visit again.)
*Wasn’t sure about adding expletives to titles but he is. I’ll get to that in a bit.
One Good Turn is ostensibly a Jackson Brodie novel, and true, he is in it, but it has many other points of view so it’s often hard to see him as the protagonist. Beginning with a road rage incident, the book follows several people who witness the attack and how they connect to each other or incident itself. There’s Jackson, ex army, ex police, and now, after coming into some money in book one, ex private detective. He’s in Edinburgh with his girlfriend, Julia, who is acting in a play for the Fringe Festival. They do not seem to like each other all that much and their conversations are often painful to sit through.
Then there’s Gloria, wife of a shady property developer who is cooking the books, among other ventures; Martin, a total sap of a crime writer who steps in to stop the road rage attack; briefly the dude who gets attacked, and whom Martin ends up looking after; Louise, a police officer who gets tangled up with Brodie’s involvement; and Archie, her tearaway, shoplifting son. I think that’s everyone. We follow them through the mundanity of their lives as Brodie coincidentally finds a dead body and then loses it again and then manages to always be in either the right place at the right time or wrong place, depending on how you look at it. There are a lot of ‘oh that was convenient’ moments in this book.
Things I liked: The structure. I like the idea of an inciting incident and then following those who experienced it. Unfortunately I disliked pretty much every character because they’re all awful. Either entitled or whiny or boring or all three. And the plot isn’t all that exciting either. It’s often buried under the everyday stuff, so there’s no real central mystery to solve, and no pressing need to uncover what there is. It seems like an experiment that didn’t work well for this type of novel.
And Jackson Brodie… He’s the central figure in this series and he is horrible. I don’t remember him being this terrible in the last book, I thought he was all right. But here he’s just a mess. He scarpers after the initial incident and doesn’t give any details, so of course he’s the only one who noted the car’s license plate. He manages to stumble upon a dead body and then lose it again. He just wanders around Edinburgh as if he owns the place just because he once happened to be a police officer. He wrecks evidence and doesn’t share info on witnesses. And all of that might have been ok had it not been for this horror show:
Once, he had made love to her while she slept and she’d hardly even twitched when he came inside her, but he didn’t tell her about it afterwards because he wasn’t sure how she would react…Technically it was rape of course.”
You fucking what?? He then likens it to necrophilia since she’s such a sound sleeper and excuse me while I vomit. This is who we’re meant to be rooting for? I mean, I assume?
No and nope. Maybe the rest of the series picks up but I’m not going to be reading them any time soon.