Amy Reads Books

Started Early, Took My Dog

Started Early, Took My Dog - Kate Atkinson I don’t think it’s any secret that I love Kate Atkinson’s writing. She is probably one of the only writers I regularly read who can make me race through a 500 page book in two days. The story was no different for Started Early, Took My Dog; the fourth book which features Private Investigator Jackson Brodie. I would say that you would maybe need to read When Will There Be Good News before this, to really fully understand his situation, although I’m sure you could probably do without.This novel is based primarily around children, parents and a rather seedy Leeds police force. At the beginning of the novel; ex-policewoman Tracy Waterhouse literally buys a child off Kelly Cross, a down-and-out prostitute, in the meantime Jackson picks up a dog named The Ambassador (seriously) from a rough guy named Clive. Their paths meet as Jackson attempts to track down the parentage of Hope McMaster, a friend of his ex-girlfriend Julia, who was adopted and raised in England. As he does this, all sorts of skeletons come out of closets.I did really rather enjoy this. Atkinson blends the literature references that so permeated Behind the Scenes at the Museum and Emotionally Weird with the fast tempo and pacing of the rest of the Jackson Brodie series. It’s certainly not an easy read; especially when the novel goes back to the 1970s, to a murder case that still hangs over Tracy and her old police colleagues. Plus, the very idea that you can effectively buy a child in a moment of madness is a little scary; I found it difficult to really sympathise with Tracy.The novel also furthered my love for the non-perfect hero Jackson, it’s refreshing to have a protagonist in a crime series who doesn’t magically work everything out from looking at a photograph. Plus, having his two ‘real’ exes; Josie and Julia, as constant voices in his head was a pretty nice touch.The only real problem I had was the inclusion of Tilly as a character. Whilst she was interesting, and Atkinson brilliant captured a descent into old age; she didn’t really seem necessary to the plot, apart from at the very end to help send one of the more dodgy characters to his fate.I really liked this novel; and if you haven’t read any Kate Atkinson books yet I really recommend that you do-I’d go with either Case Histories or Behind the Scenes at the Museum as a starting point.