This was a reread, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. Atkinson tackles the familiar theme of violence against women - in this case against particularly underpriveleged women such as prostitutes. By setting the story in Leeds, with one timeline running just before the Yorkshire Ripper began his reign of terror, Atkinson highlights the differences between the way such victims were viewed thirty years ago and now - and the prejudices that still remain.
At the heart of the story are two innocents: a little girl called Courtney, taken under the wing of lonely ex-WPC Tracey, and a dog rescued from certain death by Jackson Brodie. Both Tracey and Jackson are haunted by the memory of another innocent whom they were unable to save.
Atkinson draws us into a world of police indifference, brutality and corruption, gradually unravelling a murky plot in which almost all of the adult players are implicated. Even knowing what was coming, I was caught up in the storytelling, and I loved the fact that I was able to better appreciate Atkinson's skill this time around. There are some loose threads, which I'm hoping Atkinson will tie up in another book. But this one is my favourite to date.