FREE Express Shipping for Club Members
Not a member? Join Today!
- [-] Other Available FormatsOur PriceNew & Used MarketplaceStarted Early, Took My Dog (Paperback)
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books$13.18Started Early, Took My Dog (Large Print Paperback)
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books$18.99Started Early, Took My Dog (Audio Compact Disc - Unabridged)
Publisher: Hachette Audio$31.48
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-01-17
- Reviewer: Staff
British author Atkinson's magnificently plotted fourth novel featuring Jackson Brodie (after When Will There Be Good News?) takes the "semi-retired" PI back to his Yorkshire hometown to trace the biological parents of Hope McMasters, a woman adopted by a couple in the 1970s at age two. Jackson is faced with more questions than answers when Hope's parents aren't in any database nor is her adoption on record. In the author's signature multilayered style, she shifts between past and present, interweaving the stories of Tracy Waterhouse, a recently retired detective superintendent now in charge of security at a Leeds mall, and aging actress Tilly Squires. On the same day that Jackson and Tilly are in the mall, Tracy makes a snap decision that will have lasting consequences for everyone. Atkinson injects wit even in the bleakest moments—such as Jackson's newfound appreciation for poetry, evoked in the Emily Dickinson–inspired title—yet never loses her razor-sharp edge. (Mar.)
The reluctant sleuth
Kate Atkinson’s Started Early, Took My Dog opens with an epigraph from the old rhyme “For want of a nail,” an adage that exemplifies the attention to the large consequences of small actions that has become the hallmark of Atkinson’s richly woven literary mysteries. In the fourth outing for Jackson Brodie, at this point a somewhat reluctant sleuth, he has returned to his hometown to track down a client’s birth family, only to discover that she is connected to a 30-year-old murder.
His best lead is retired Leeds cop Tracy Waterhouse, a woman who is so lonely that she dreads the day the Polish builder completes work on her kitchen remodel. Maybe that’s why she impulsively gives her home improvement nest egg to a known prostitute and drug dealer—in exchange for a small child called Courtney, whom she assumes is the hooker’s daughter. Tracy soon discovers this is not the case, and that there are others besides Brodie who are on her trail. Discovering why, and how, the two cases are connected is for the reader to discover, but as usual it’s an intricate web.
There are some lighter moments for the brooding Brodie this time around. Most of these feature “The Ambassador,” an abused terrier Brodie rescues in a park whose fierce loyalty and simple love is a welcome change from the complicated relationships with the women in his life. And there’s another P.I. in town named Jackson—but is he friend, or foe?
Overall, though, the mood here is dark and contemplative, not unlike that of her now-iconic hero. Atkinson continues to explore the ramifications of violence, especially violence directed at women and children. Her work does not portray a cozy fictional world; rather, it shines a light on the harsh side of this one. Started Early, Took My Dog is a satisfying treat for fans of intelligent mystery.