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Started Early, Took My Dog

(Jackson Brodie #4)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  40,760 ratings  ·  3,387 reviews
Tracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective - a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other - or so decides Tracy, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small c ...more
Hardcover, 350 pages
Published November 19th 2010 by Doubleday & Co Inc. (first published January 1st 2010)
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piranha We're never told. But remember Brodie's South African buddy Mitch? The one who started an agency for finding missing children after his own son was ab…moreWe're never told. But remember Brodie's South African buddy Mitch? The one who started an agency for finding missing children after his own son was abducted? At some point (before he meets Tracy & Courtney on the road) Brodie recalls paging through Mitch's dossier of missing children and there's a child with a birthmark in the shape of Africa on a forearm. We know Courtney has such a birthmark because when Tracy gives her a bath she sees it and ponders whether it would be easy to remove. At the very end Brodie remembers the birthmark but doesn't realize why that's floating around in his brain, even though he recalls seeing it recently -- there's no mention of him seeing it on Courtney's arm, but I suspect he might have, subconsciously.

So somebody out there is looking for her. I wonder whether Tracy will ever wake up, admit it to herself, and stop hiding from it. But I suspect we might never find out (we don't in Big Sky).(less)
Carrie Bohman I listened to the 4th book 1st not realizing this was a series and I loved the character, Jackson. However, the series as a whole, as Geraldine mentio…moreI listened to the 4th book 1st not realizing this was a series and I loved the character, Jackson. However, the series as a whole, as Geraldine mentions, does constantly reference back on itself so reading the books in order is helpful and will enhance the experience.(less)

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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  40,760 ratings  ·  3,387 reviews

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Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel is a great example of why I love Kate Atkinson’s writing so much. It is witty with surprise literary flourishes. It is authentic – I believe in the reality of all the characters and what they are experiencing. She masterfully deploys her plots in such a way that fascination is enhanced.

In this novel, the plot and sub-plots move between the mid-1970’s and roughly 30 years later. There are tie-ins with previous novels in this series. There are perfectly dropped tiny references to litera
May 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Always a joy to return to Kate Atkinson's brand of offbeat literary crime fiction, the in depth case studies of complex characters and their interior lives, of past tragedies and murder, the repercussions and the weaving of coincidences and connections into the narrative set here in Leeds and Whitby in Yorkshire. The retired police officer, Tracy Waterhouse, lives a quiet ordinary life of routines, and working security in a mall. Upon seeing a child being abused by a known offender, the courageo ...more
“He supposed he would end up having to put himself down. He planned to go out on the ice (I may be some time), lie down with a bottle of something as old as himself and drift off into the big sleep. He hoped global warming didn’t scupper this plan.”

Black thoughts, funny, human, but pretty much what you might expect from a lonely Yorkshire man “a West Riding man himself, made from soot and rugby league and beef dripping. . . ” who’s ended up on his own somehow, with an ex-wife and teenaged daug
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
March 2021 review:
Jackson Brodie Book 4:
In West Yorkshire, across the same towns and cities the Yorkshire Ripper terrorised, our non-hero Jackson Brodie is searching for two people, his ex-wife who fleeced him, and the origins of an adopted New Zealander seeking her real parents story. Along the way we get in the heads of a likeable child kidnapper (I kid you not), an elderly thespian living in the past, a police chief who can't forget or forgive the past, and a social worker connected to all
Jan 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The last time I read this I gave it 4 stars. I am upping it to five. I think reading the series straight through, instead of having gaps of years between books, has made it more familiar and I am more involved in the characters and their lives.

I know some readers do not like Atkinson's style and I can understand why. Each of her books begins the same way - jumping all over the place and introducing heaps of characters each of them with a detailed back story. I love it although I always read her
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, mystery, crime
Kate Atkinson’s fourth book in the Jackson Brodie series, Started Early, Took My Dog is another intriguing crime mystery novel that illustrates just how wonderful her characterisations and plotting are. What I appreciate Kate for is that while Jackson Brodie is the series protagonist, she will place other characters at the heart of a new plot. This provides a fascinating character Jackson Brodie, who we watch negotiate the disorder and struggle with life as he travels through the ser
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Another Kate Atkinson arrived at our library, and lived up to my sky-high expectations.

Here's the thing: if you want everything tied up in a neat package: no. If you want a linear narrative: no. "Easy read": no.

But if you love interesting, complex characters, complex stories and delightful writing: yes. Part-time private-eye and semi-successful womanizer Jackson Brodie, and cranky retired cop Tracy Waterhouse are the centerpieces of this book. Jackson spends the book confused, chasing several
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Definitely my least favorite Jackson Brodie novel.

I've seen others rate this book very highly, and to each their own -- but I thought it pretty much sucked. I usually like Atkinson's typical method of having multiple storylines going on at once, and true to form, they did manage to blend together about 3/4 of the way through the book ... but I got extremely irritated with all of the pointless internal dialogue that did nothing to contribute to the story. Having multiple characters is only good i
Sep 05, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

My friend Jemidar and I put off reading this, the fourth of Kate Atkinson’s novels featuring former police officer and former private detective Jackson Brodie, because we heard it ended in a cliffhanger. We don’t like hanging from cliffs and thought we’d wait until the next Jackson Brodie novel was published before putting ourselves in that situation. Turns out that Atkinson is not planning to write any more books in the series in the foreseeable future, so we decided to delay no longer. As it h
Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson is part of the mystery series featuring Jackson Brodie, former policeman turned private investigator, that has grabbed my heart. Opening with the epigraph below, these lines are echoed throughout this engrossing book as many disparate characters all come together as their lives intersect in very interesting ways. Jackson Brodie is working in northern England for a client in Australia, attempting to resolve the mystery of her birth and subsequent adopti ...more
Jun 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very original! Again! Different storylines are coming together in this very clever plot. It's superbly told with some great humour and wise remarks about life. Again! Everyone and everything is linked to everyone and everything. More Jackson Brodie please! ...more
Huw Rhys
Jul 04, 2011 rated it did not like it
I'm sure there was a good detective novel trying to emerge from this morass, somewhere...

But it was hidden between too many unnecessary characters, too many unfinished tales, too many completely pointless streams of consciousness, too many attempts at being a South American "magic" novel of the 1970's/ 1980's, too much cataloguing of "nasty murders that happened up north", and too many ridiculous coincidences - just too much fog and unfinished waffle in general.

Cut it down by 100 pages or so and
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I don't think it's possible for me to love Kate Atkinson books more than I do. I want to go to Edinburgh and hang out with her (and when I said this on Twitter, some inn owner in that lovely,gloomy city said I should stop on by; they have a shelf full of Atkinson books in their cottage!). Anyway, this is Atkinson's fourth Jackson Brodie mystery, and I read this book as I was also watching the PBS Masterpiece Mystery series, Case Histories,in which a very watchable Jason Isaacs brings Brodie to l ...more
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Okay, so this isn't Atkinson's best, or strongest Jackson Brodie novel. Still, it was a pleasure to live with her writing for the week or so it took me to read Started Early, Took My Dog, and I was sad to finish it. I never did connect with her main character, Tracey, and am not certain what motivated her; I was puzzled that Tracey and Courtney didn't ever seem to really relate to one another emotionally. These are small quibbles, though. One of the things Kate Atkinson does best is draw charact ...more
Paul E. Morph
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nnnnnnnnnngh... GAH!

OK, OK... Let me gather myself...

This, the fourth book in the Jackson Brodie series, delivers what you'd expect from the earlier books in the series: an extremely clever jigsaw of interlocking plots, some brilliantly well-developed characters, moments of horror, happiness, misery and hope... Everything that makes Atkinson such a brilliant writer.

It's a very moving book, dealing as it does with murder, kidnapping and child abuse. I admit to having shed a couple of tears while
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I liked this book. I like Kate Atkinson. I like how characters are introduced slowly, and I don't always know instantly whose point of view I'm reading. Sometimes, I recognize connections between characters in the later books and characters or actions happening in current books. And I like how some mysteries are left unsolved at the end of the book.

I am starting to have difficulties with Jackson Brodie. I can believe in improbable things happening....a little bit of chaos theory in action. That'
Bill Khaemba
“Fiction had never been Jackson's thing. Facts seemed challenging enough without making stuff up. What he discovered was that the great novels of the world were about three things - death, money and sex. Occasionally a whale.”

I can’t believe it's the last in the installment

gordon ramsay hells kitchen unbelievable kitchen nightmares i cant believe it
Utterly stunning, totally beautiful, I love this series so much and I cannot believe it’s over at least I hope Kate Atkinson is writing another installment...

“He wondered what a visitor from th
lucky little cat
I think every intelligent, fiction-loving person should read Kate Atkinson's excellent books.

Just follow me. Like this.

This is book #4 for investigator Jackson Brodie, so you really shouldn't start the series here. That said, Jackson, as ever, is a man whose head is improbably full of women's voices. Mostly voices of his exes, who ironically judge, sass, and mock him as always. It's a chorus I've always enjoyed.

Someone's got to keep him in line.

But it's still something of a relief tha
Jul 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As elegant as a Bach fugue and wise and fun at the same time. The lives of three strangers intersect briefly in Leeds in Yorkshire and then wander down separate but converging trajectories as tragic events from their lives 35 years ago drive propel them on paths of attempted resolution of their losses.

The three main characters are a retired woman cop working in mall security, an elderly actress with growing dementia, and a detective looking for the birth mother of a woman in New Zealand. Luckil
This is a series I quite enjoy, although peppered with unlikely coincidences and an excess of characters that really do make it hard to follow in the beginning. As usual, though, once Jackson Brodie arrives on the scene, it's an instant improvement. In England, Jackson is hired long distance by a New Zealander to find her birth parents. It proves to be not an easy task and downright dangerous when he starts asking around about the past. What exactly happened all those years ago, when a prostitut ...more
Jan 11, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series, audio
Another really enjoyable instalment in the Jackson Brodie series. Actually, it was a pleasant surprise, because I devoured the TV series after reading #1, and on screen this was the storyline that least appealed. However, as written, I found it to be up to the same high standard as the preceding books. I think the difference is that in the book the characters have so much internal stuff happening - thoughts and recollections - that enhances the story and endears them or makes them more relatable ...more
Rating: 4.5 stars

This fourth (and possibly final) outing in the Jackson Brodie series is my favourite. Jackson shares his tale with lonely retired Superintendent Tracy, dotty old actress Tilly, an adorable little girl, an equally adorable little dog, and a motley crew of retired coppers who graduated from police school with Gene Hunt, but who shirked the classes that gave Gene his gruff charm. They're all linked by an event that happened in the 1970s, and as Jackson searches for the truth, so th
Apr 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Kate Atkinson outdoes herself in this new novel featuring Jackson Brodie, private detective. He's back in England, doing some desultory checking on the parentage of a woman living overseas who had been orphaned in the 1970s. The story is braided with several threads, i.e., an aging actress suffering from dementia, a young child so heavy as to seem "dense as a small planet," and several other retired police. Atkinson handles it masterfully, bringing it all to a neat knot in a train station. This ...more
Nov 24, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime, mystery
Read for a reading challenge, and that’s the only reason I stuck with it. At all. The prompt for this one was “set in your hometown”, and Leeds was the closest I found. So I knew the Merrion Centre, where part of it was set, etc. I wasn’t impressed, though; the narration was really meandering, not always on point at all, and it takes ages to really get started. I kind of have difficulty with the idea of Tracy buying a prostitute’s daughter in this casual way, and I roooooolled my eyes at all the ...more
Apr 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
3and a half stars. I’ve really enjoyed previous Kate Atkinson and in particular Jackson Brodie novels but this one didn’t quite work for me. I love her writing with lots of literary and pop culture references and peppered with the sometimes random thoughts of the characters. Perhaps it was the particularly dark crime of the past or just how all those old seventies male cops seemed to blend into one another so I wasn’t always sure which was which. I did enjoy the Jackson doppelgänger who seemed t ...more
Patrick Neylan
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
I’m in a rowdy pub, watching England play Slovenia. It’s crowded, so I have to park myself right under the wall-mounted screen, my book resting on the shelf. Towards the end of the match, with the restless crowd running short of things to shout and despairing of a second goal, a voice starts chanting: “If you love Kate Atkinson, stand up!”

I’m already standing up. So is most of the pub. We all love Kate Atkinson. She is becoming one of Britain’s most popular authors, and with good reason, and wit
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos Because of all the buzz about Kate Atkinson and the great reviews my GR friends gave this book, I decided to give Started Early, Took My Dog a spin. I couldn't decide if the title was a turn on or off. I was pleasantly surprised.
In the beginning, I couldn't tell who the main character was. I'm still not absolutely sure. Everyone talks about Jackson Brodie, so I'll make a safe bet on him, though Tracey is pretty important as well.
I 'm counting four conflicts, though they're all variations on
Jill Hutchinson
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I usually read two books at once......... one history, and one mystery, switching between the two at leisure. I learned that you can't do that if one of the books is written by Kate Atkinson! Her stories command total concentration due to her style of having at least three story lines going at once and non-linear presentation. The reader needs to pay attention.

In this, another in the Jackson Brodie series, he is hired by a woman searching for her natural parents as she was adopted at a very you
Lewis Weinstein
May 08, 2021 rated it did not like it
I started reading and found a series of unconnected, incoherent, not very interesting plunges into several different characters. About to quit, I read the reviews of other GR readers and decided to keep going. More later. ... IMO, it got worse, a mishmash of stories about different people, none of which I found at all gripping. Enough. ... BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed other Jackson Brodie novels
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Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and she has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since.

She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories,

Other books in the series

Jackson Brodie (5 books)
  • Case Histories (Jackson Brodie #1)
  • One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie, #2)
  • When Will There Be Good News? (Jackson Brodie, #3)
  • Big Sky (Jackson Brodie, #5)

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“Fiction had never been Jackson's thing. Facts seemed challenging enough without making stuff up. What he discovered was that the great novels of the world were about three things - death, money and sex. Occasionally a whale.” 27 likes
“This Jackson bloke was the ruddy Scarlet Pimpernel, here, there and everywhere, always one step ahead of Barry. And everywhere he went, women were disappearing.” 8 likes
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