Sunday, April 19, 2009

One Good Turn

Book No: 17
Title: One Good Turn
Author: Kate Atkinson
Genre: Mystery
Completed: 4/18/09
No. of Pages: 418
Rating: 4/5*****

Jackson Brodie, the world weary detective from Case Histories is back in this follow up novel.

Now retired from police/detective work, Brodie is in Edinburgh with his girlfriend Julia, an aspiring actress. While exiting the theatre where Julia is rehearsing, Brodie is witness to an act of road rage that leaves a man badly injured. Other witnesses include mild mannered author Martin Canning and suburban housewife Gloria Hatter. All three will become linked through a series of events and crimes, revealed layer by layer in a web of lies, secrets, betrayals and more than one murder.

As in her previous novel, Atkinson links together several individual stories, culminating in one final confrontation when all the connections are revealed, including a closing unexpected revelation with the very last sentence.

There is a lot going on in this book and at times it can be hard to follow all the plot lines, but the characterizations are great and the pieces of the puzzle fit so snugly together it makes for a very enjoyable and literary mystery.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Book No: 16
Title: Freakonomics
Author: Steven d. Levitt, Stephen J. Dubner
Genre: Non-fiction
Completed: 4/10/09
No. of Pages: 336
Rating: 4/5****

The subtitle of this book is a very apt, if slightly exaggerated description: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. Steven Levitt is certainly a rogue economist in that he uses the concepts of economy to look at many ‘givens’ in a completely new way. The results are often startling and thought provoking, although he certainly doesn’t look at everything-at least in this book.

Most of us probably suffered through economics in school and the thought of reading a book about it when we don’t have to does not sound like fun. Levitt, however, takes this science and spins it on its head, making it both entertaining and informative. By taking economic theory and applying it to everyday questions Levitt comes up with some theories that sound improbable and then proceeds to prove them. Many of his theories may cause some consternation; most outrageous of all is the idea that the reduction in crime over the years has less to do with more police and far more to do with the Roe v Wade decision.

This book was very entertaining, written in an engaging style. My biggest complaint is the New York Times article reprints at the end of the book, which basically re-hash what we have already read. The book is also too short and since I hated economics is school I find it ironic that I could want more!