I bought When Will There Be Good News? last year in a second hand bookstore, never noticing that it is a third installment in a series. The book sat patiently on my shelf, until during this vacation with my mother I hatched a book laundering scheme, that allowed me to work around my book buying ban when I become desperate. While on the Baltic seaside I came across a bookstore and there I found Polish editions of book one and two in the series. I happily bought them and only after coming back I realized I already own book three. Without further ado I got on to reading and devoured all three books in less than two weeks.
The books fall into crime fiction genre, but with more focus on characters than the crime or plot itself, those are not your fast paced thrillers or procedurals. They are a lot more serendipitous, but also a lot more introspective. Jackson Brodie, when we meet him, is an ex-policeman, ex-soldier, ex-husband and a private investigator, to say his life is less than satisfactory is an understatement. Throughout the three books we can observe how Jackson changes, how people he meets and cases he works on affect him, making him confront his past, but also making him understand that he is not the only one that has been scarred for life. The books intermingle current cases with past sometimes showing a causal relationship, but often also showing how random things can be. The first book Case Stories is very much anchored in the past, the past and characters inability to get over it is what forms their present, it is a book about loss and grief, about people just vanishing. The second book One Good Turn is a lot more grounded in the present, the tone is a bit lighter and more ironic, it focuses on relationships, on how they form, evolve and fall apart. The third book When Will There Be Good News? brings together the past and the present, it is again darker, focusing very much on the relationship between mothers and children, how desperate those can be, how toxic, but also how devastating is their lack. The books is so dark that at some point I really was asking myself ‘when will there be good news’.
All three books read like a charm. It definitely is intelligent entertainment for the summer, it keeps your interest but also makes you think and sympathize with the characters. Now I need to get my hands on the fourth book, to stay in their world a bit longer.