I recently read three books from the same genre – I don’t even know why and how come, this rarely ever happens to me! But I decided to make a triple review of these books in the same post, while also comparing them! Here are these books.
One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
This is the second book in the Jackson Brodie series, in which I read the first book a few months ago from a random secondhand sale. I really liked the first book, Case Histories. The character were meh, but I liked how Kate Atkinson would unravel a thread of three different cases and have them interconnected with each other. Not to mention the wonderful writing style – it was very different from the normal mystery books, and some people would even consider it a literary mystery novel.
Unfortunately, this second book did not suit so well for me. It was all over the place and I didn’t like how Atkinson tried to do a similar thing as she did in the first book, using different crimes and linking them to one another as if by accident. In here everything seems like a weird coincidence and I couldn’t really like any of the characters.
The mystery itself wasn’t very intriguing for me as well. It involved a little bit of murder and crime, but less mysterious stuff that makes the readers wanting to read more about it. I do like the main character, Jackson, but other than that the other characters were forgettable and hard to remember. I just thought the whole book wasn’t that entertaining or well written, and very different from the first book.
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
One of the most famous mystery novels out there and my first Agatha Christie novel! I would first like to thank everyone from the Book Basilisks Book Club for making this a group read – without the book club I wouldn’t have read it (I’ve always wanted to read it but I’ve never gotten the push to do so). This novel is about a group of strangers brought together in an island and being killed one by one by a mysterious person.
I really enjoyed reading this novel. It’s super intriguing, it has that aura of mystery throughout the whole book and the mystery itself was impossible for me to guess, even though when you finally find the real solution you think, “Why didn’t I think of that earlier? It’s so obvious!” and I think that was the best part of the book, because it shows that the author could really write well and disguise all the clues in plain sight.
The writing style was actually not very impressive. The whole book seemed very short to me – it could be because it reads so quickly but it’s also because of how straightforward the whole writing style and storyline is. As for the characters, we’ve discussed about how some of the characters weren’t very memorable and at first it was difficult for a lot of people to recognize who was who. But I do think that in the end it wasn’t very important for us to remember and like any of the characters – because we all know they will die anyway! And the main point is not liking or relating to the characters. Even so, I think if the book had been written with more detail and if we’d been given the chance to know each of the characters and know them enough to root for a character, it would’ve become an even better book.
But overall it was a super fun read. I read it during a readathon and I really thought it was a great choice. I would also like to recommend books like these to read for people who rarely read mystery or want to dive into the genre. It’s a great place to start.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
This novel is a very popular one last year, being dubbed as “the next Gone Girl” and all that. It is basically not just a mystery or crime novel but also a psychological thriller, and I’ve never read Gone Girl but I really liked this one. The story is about two women, the first one Rachel who always goes by train to London and watches a particular house on the side of the train road. One day she reads that that woman whom she always watches is missing and then the story revolves around that.
Compared to the other two books I mentioned above, this novel is more character driven and focus more on the three main characters. The story was told in three different perspectives and you can really read into both these characters’ minds and inner thoughts. I really like that we can really relate and know about Rachel, Megan, and Anna, but not really fall in love with them because they were all really messed up and annoying at some times. I also really like the whole plotline and the whole mystery of “whodunnit” and what actually happened. In the end the revelation of these mysteries were never a huge surprise for me, but while I was reading this novel I kept guessing and anticipating on the ending, to find out who did it. One of the problems I had was how the whole mystery surrounding the incident was how the main character just couldn’t remember what happened because she was drunk when it happened even though she was a key witness to the event. So it was more of a build up on the moment where the character actually recalled what exactly happened, instead of a real “aha!” moment on other mystery stories.
This novel also tackles a lot of issues that are more related to the character than the “crime” or “mystery” itself, like drinking problems, moving on from your ex-husband, unemployment, unhappy marriage, and various other things. Like I said before, in this novel the characters have issues and weaknesses that you can read from in their own voices. I really liked that part and how all the characters were flawed.
Other than the characters, the writing style was not bad as well. Paula Hawkins was a journalist and so she knows that part of the world and it shows in how she states the facts but also reveals the feelings and atmosphere of the current scene. Overall this is a super intense book with great parts. It’s not amazing, but I couldn’t stop reading it and I was hooked from the beginning till the end.
So comparing these three mystery novels, of course there are the good and the bad parts. And I think it really depends on a person which kinds of mystery books they like. I really enjoy reading thrillers like The Girl on the Train the most, so I think I really need to explore more similar books. Even so, I really need to read more classical mysteries such as Agatha Christie‘s works, especially since I also enjoy short stories like the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. And although in a novel more than one mysteries could be shown, it didn’t work so well in One Good Turn. I realized that I also do enjoy the kind of detective slash police work kind of mysteries, although I still need to find a good enough book for that genre.
What about you guys? Do you enjoy reading mystery, crime and thrillers? Which of these three books have you read and enjoyed before? Let me know!
Header image by HelgaMCL @ Etsy