Friday, December 24, 2010
STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG by Kate Atkinson (2010) Bond Street Books
After another masterful turn with WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS?, Kate Atkinson offers a new literary thriller featuring Jackson Brodie, her now retired detective who manages to find himself in the thick of it in Leeds while he's innocently researching a private client's mysterious past.
There are three narrative threads in STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG: Tracy Waterhouse is a retired Police Superintendent now passing the time as the chief of security at a shopping complex; Tilly is a septogenarian actress suffering the early stages of dementia and playing the heart-throb's mother in COLLIER, a t.v. show; and, Jackson Brodie is the familiar rough around the edges divorced and retired detective, "drifting, as a tourist in his own country" when he witnesses the cruel and unusual punishment of a lively little terrier and decides that a "small,helpless dog seemed like a good place to draw the line" about violence.
When Tracy makes a Faustian deal with a known prostitute and her transaction is witnessed by both Tilly and Jackson, their trajectories become entwined and all three soon come to realize that no good deed goes unpunished.
Atkinson creates credible responses to incredible circumstances for each of her characters and her command of storytelling sets her up to rival the best writing today. In Kate Atkinson's world there is wit and wisdom and fierce moral intelligence. You will always be satisfied by the way she weaves her tale.