Thursday, January 13, 2011
Kate Atkinson's Started Early, Took My Dog
First book of the year was Kate Atkinson's Started Early, Took My Dog --- title rivals Atkinson's last Jackson Brodie novel, When Will There Be Good News. I'm such a fan of this series (four so far) and can only hope that Atkinson is busy working on the next one as I prattle on here. (although I've just realized that I haven't yet read One Good Turn, even though I knew about it back here -- so that treat beckons . . .) No character here captured me as completely as did Reggie, the teenage girl in News, but there were some deft, tender character sketches. Indeed, Brodie himself is coalescing, as a protagonist but not at all a dominating one, through a series of sketches. I can't see any danger of Atkinson exhausting her interest in him because his role is so exploratory, so tentative. His detective efforts do move the plot along, but in every one of these books, he's been aided by others -- and by Chance, even Fate, if you will.
While Brodie shares many personality traits with those flawed-and-sensitive types who thus become gruff and drink too much and run afoul of the systems within which they work, he's much less predictable than the Rebuses and the Harry Bosches and Jack Reachers. He still seems to be puzzling out the world as he goes along, bumbling even -- hard to imagine Rebus or Bosch or Reacher getting dumped by the side of the road after picking up . . . oh, but that would be telling, wouldn't it?
English countryside, police procedural, Whitby and Leeds and other Yorkshire highlights from my relative-visiting youth . . .
A sadly convincing portrait of an older woman sinking into Alzheimer's . . .
Anyway, I'll stick to short here, but would be happy to hear from any of you who want to add your opinion . . .