Evanston Public Library's Reviews > Started Early, Took My Dog

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson
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's review
Jun 30, 2011

bookshelves: fiction, mystery

Fans of British author Kate Atkinson will be pleased to know that her latest offering involving the hapless former police detective Jackson Brodie furthers the opinion of this reader that she is an expert at weaving a complex plot involving many flashbacks, a cast of well-developed characters, and twists and turns of fortune. There are outlandish coincidences made landish (if that's a word) with skillful handling, and a pleasing set of recurring characters from earlier Jackson Brodie novels who lend a homey continuity to the story of a nice guy (Brodie, of course) trying to get on with his life despite many disappointments in love, a few near death experiences, as well as the requisite back alley beatings expected when a chap makes a habit of investigating those who wish not to be investigated. Jackson has a knack for stumbling on sleazy doings wherever he ventures.

This time it's stolen children past and present, rescued dogs, missing adoption records, a serial murderer, and a corrupt gang of high level police officers. Adding to the mix is someone else named Jackson who seems to be dogging (sorry) our Jackson's steps as he follows the trail for his client, an adoptee searching for her biological parents. As always Atkinson maintains a sympathetic tone tempered with the sardonic: when Jackson's inner dialogue produces his former wife's voice as a running commentary on many of the boneheaded decisions he's made, and the "conversations" the befuddled detective holds with his new dog, one just has to chuckle despite the dire situation. The action is fast paced, the resolutions to all the threads of this tale are satisfactory, and the dog is really, really cute.

(Barbara L., Reader's Services)

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