Read Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson Online


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 cTracy 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 child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge. Meanwhile, Jackson Brodie, the beloved detective of novels such as Case Histories, is embarking on a different sort of rescue - that of an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished....

Title : Started Early, Took My Dog
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780385608022
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 350 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Started Early, Took My Dog Reviews

  • Pattie
    2019-03-10 00:23

    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 people that he believes may have the answers for an adopted client. Tracy also spends the book confused, running away from people she thinks are chasing her after she "purchases" an abused-looking child from an angry petty criminal. Atkinson tackles the themes of identity, confusion, and family while following these two constantly-moving characters. My only complaint is about the amount of time that Jackson spends brooding about his ex-wives/girlfriends. Also, there are some loose ends (Atkinson tends to tie up her convergent stories by the last page). This leads me to the happy conclusion, though, that we haven't seen the last of either Jackson or Tracy.

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2019-02-27 00:25

    Onvan : Started Early, Took My Dog (Jackson Brodie, #4) - Nevisande : Kate Atkinson - ISBN : 385608020 - ISBN13 : 9780385608022 - Dar 350 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2010

  • Josie
    2019-02-25 01:33

    I regret to say it, but I didn't like this book as much as the three previous Jackson Brodie novels. The writing felt looser, not as polished. There was lots of rambling and POV-switching, which sometimes made it hard to keep up with what was going on. I also disliked the characters reminiscing so much, as the narrative would skip between the past and the present without always signposting it. And how annoying were all those descriptions of Jackson "tapping in" an email on his phone to Hope McMaster?I also wanted answers at the end, which I didn't get. Some mysteries were solved, but Courtney's identity and Kelly Cross's murder -- two major threads of the plot -- were left unresolved, which was frustrating. Jackson's unexplained ~revelation~ at the end was clearly that Courtney's birthmark matched the list of distinguishing signs in Mitch's missing children folder, but that doesn't answer anything -- it just confirms that she was a missing child, and not Kelly's daughter.But I did like Tracy Waterhouse, and Courtney's papal gestures with her silver fairy wand. Their story carried the whole book along and made the other bits more bearable.

  • Kim
    2019-03-06 22:24

    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 happens, we were also wrong in thinking that this novel ends in a cliffhanger. Although the ending’s not tied up in a neat bow, it does have a sense of completeness to it, all the while leaving open the possibility that Atkinson could change her mind and return to writing about Jackson Brodie at some point in the future.This installment in the series is set in and around Leeds and in Whitby in Northern Yorkshire. Jackson is trying to track down the birth mother of a woman in New Zealand. His investigation leads him to chance encounters with a retired policewoman working as a security officer, a small child, an elderly actress in the early stages of dementia and an abused dog. From those encounters spins the story of a murder which occurred in 1975, police corruption and child abduction. However, the crimes are not the point of the novel. As she does in the earlier Jackson Brodie novels – and, for that matter, in her standalone works - Atkinson uses the plot to explore themes of grief, loss, loneliness, dysfunctional family relationships and mortality.Atkinson’s characters are not happy, or if they are happy it’s unlikely to last. They are vulnerable, damaged and lost, looking for connection and only sometimes finding it. For them, loving is fraught with danger, being loved is temporary at best, but they still strive for both. This sounds grim, and it is. And yet, Atkinson’s elegant, ironic prose, her deft characterization and the intelligence, compassion and humour of her writing make her novels a joy to read. The most poignant and haunting scenes in this novel involve the secondary characters: little Courtney with her collection of belongings, her magic wand and her fingers forming stars; Tilly as she slowly sinks into dementia, the loyal Yorkshire terrier rescuing its new master.A reader who expects a simple mystery or detective story from the Jackson Brodie novels will probably be disappointed. Atkinson eschews a conventional linear narrative. Instead, she jumps around in time and uses interior monologues that at times border on stream of consciousness to advance the narrative. In addition, the work is full of literary allusions (the title is a line from an Emily Dickinson poem) and allusions to quantum mechanics (Shrödinger’s cat appears more than once). Atkinson is not afraid to use improbable coincidences in the plot, a technique that has the potential to annoy fans of more traditional crime fiction. However, the effect of chance encounters and the seemingly random choices people make are themes that run all through Atkinson’s writing and reinforce the sense she gives of the unpredictability of life.If this is indeed the last Jackson Brodie novel, then it is a fitting end to his career. While I’d like to see him return, I completely understand if Atkinson decides to retire him permanently. At least he’ll have that lovely dog to keep him company on his travels and to stop him from feeling too sorry for himself.I love Kate Atkinson’s writing and it has been a joy to read this particular novel with Jemidar.

  • Beth
    2019-03-08 18:22

    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 if the characters and their stories are actually interesting -- and I could've done without most of the extra backstory junk. Also, I think every page in which the character Tilly appeared could've been deleted altogether, as she served no purpose whatsoever and was an absolute bore. I realize that the entire story couldn't have been about Jackson -- but this book would've been a lot better if it focused more on him, and him solving the 'mystery'.Oh, and also -- storylines that don't get resolved irritate me. Others may be fine with it, but I think it's annoying. How hard would it have been to tell us who Courtney's Mom really was? And maybe a bit of resolution from Hope's end (i.e., what did she do with the information, how did she take it?), and not just Michael's, would've been nice.

  • Amy
    2019-02-21 00:35

    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's probably why I'm able to read so much romance and mystery. But Jackson Brodie is starting to stretch the limits of my belief.

  • Huw Rhys
    2019-03-13 21:34

    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 tidy it up, cut a lot of the sylphs out and it might have been a decent read. As it was, it rambled too much, it had far too many superfluous characters and just more words than it needed.Parts of it were written really well though;some of the action was taut, some of the characterization believable and attractive, and there really was a decent story hidden in here somewhere. It just had the feeeling that it lacked a really good editor who would have cut away a lot of the chaffe that sadly ruined what might have been a good yarn. Shame.

  • Denise
    2019-02-23 22:39

    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 life. TV hasn't done this latest, and good thing so far because I think I need to read it again first, and really digest the way Atkinson deftly draws characters and layers on their history and weaves stories from past and present together. All these books, as well as her first novel (not a Brodie mystery) are at their heart about lost little girls. If you like mysteries that have as their central feature not the mystery but the people, their motivations, their histories -- you have to read these books. She's also hilariously funny.

  • ☮Karen
    2019-03-04 17:32

    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 prostitute was murdered and she and her son were not found for three weeks? What does this have to do with Jackson's case? Is it tied to ex-cop Tracy who just purchased a little girl in a shopping mall for 3000 pounds?Right after Jackson makes an appearance, he beats up a thug who is abusing a dog and threatening to kill it. Jackson takes the dog, and the little fella becomes his constant companion and proves to be his salvation many times over. A nice touch.I listened to this in my car and walking around the neighborhood, and had to laugh out loud many times. The neighbors likely think I'm daft. There were some things left unanswered in the end, but I still liked it.

  • Suzanne
    2019-02-25 00:40

    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 a theme, so I guess we could call them foils. Each set of characters are conflicted by children who have been kidnapped or stolen. That's not exactly true. Some characters are raised in biological home environments, but these homes were so bereft that their childhoods were stolen, even if they weren't. The stolen children all turn out better than I would have expected. I'm not sure how Courtney will manage with Tracey,but as long as Courtney has her magic wand, I'm betting she'll prevail.The structure kept me reading. The confusion abated quickly. The stories wove in and out and then in again. My greatest concern is whether I should read the first three in the set or just jump on the bandwagon and read her highly acclaimed new novel.

  • Paul
    2019-02-22 19:38

    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 reading it.BUT... am I going insane or does Atkinson leave a few major plot points completely unresolved? Spoilers for specifics:(view spoiler)[We never found out what Jackson was doing in Germany at the beginning of the book, where it looked like he and that racist chap were about to carry out some kind of kidnapping...We never found out who killed Kelly and what her connection to Courtney was...We never found out who Courtney actually was beyond Jackson vaguely recognising her birthmark but not knowing where from... (hide spoiler)]I initially thought I was being thick but I've spent the last hour trawling the Internet trying to find answers to these questions and all I've managed to find is a host of bewildered readers with the same questions I have and no answers.I'm now really, really hoping these questions will be answered in the next book in the series. My concern is that they won't be, as Atkinson has never left unanswered questions dangling at the end of the previous three books. I now have an image in my head of the author banging her head against her writing desk shouting 'The answers are all there but you can't find them because you're all SO STUPID! STUPID! STUPID!'

  • Anna
    2019-02-27 19:33

    Rating: 4.5 starsThis 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 the past comes together to keep it hidden. The plotting of this event is intriguing, making this the most mystery-based book of the series, but as with the other Brodie books, characterisation is key. As ever, the magnetic Jackson pulled me in, forever destined to take one step forward and two steps back. But it was little Courtney and The Ambassador who stole my heart, so beautifully drawn with their against-the-odds resilience and loyalty. This continuing theme of loss and identity is reflected in all the threads of the story, giving it a haunting poignancy. As ever, I loved the way Atkinson captured the human soul in all its complexities - heartbreaking and gorgeous, all rolled into one. If this is indeed the final Brodie book, I'll really miss him and his assorted associates - a wonderful, touching, quirky series, one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of reading.

  • Bill Khaemba
    2019-03-13 00:31

    “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 installmentUtterly 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 the past would make of it. It used to be the poor who were thin and the rich who were fat, now it seemed to be the other way round.” If you have been following me in the past 3 months, I have been devouring this crime series as if my life depend on it. The stream of conciseness writing style with absolutely beautiful prose and characters depth that is executed fabulously was just jaw-dropping to say the least. I want to shove the whole series in everyone’s hand because it is amazing."She registered the look of alarm on his face and laughed. "God created Man," she repeated. " And then he had a better idea."The 4th installment got crazier and juicer than the previous ones and added a glimpse of a horrible crime that took place in the past and how it’s catching up with the present. From kidnapping, death of prostitutes and shocking moments that just happens to involve our lovable Jackson Brodie. This was my favorite in the series because the mystery aspect was a lot more complex and it had at the edge of my seat.I don’t know how to sell this to you but if you haven’t picked this upLiterary Crime fiction at its peak

  • Michael
    2019-03-01 22:30

    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. Luckily, the latter is Jackson Brodie, the hero of the series, this being the fourth. He is licking his wounds from a former wife who fleeced him and disappeared, and his loneliness is manifest by continually hearing two previous wives talking in his head and by boldly taking a dog from an abusive owner. When his apparently simple case stimulates a number of people to devious and violent reactions, he is not in any mood to quit until he gets to the bottom of it. Lots of great dialog, interior monologue, and zinging cultural references make for a lively narrative. Recurring metaphors from Emily Dickenson, the Schroedinger’s Cat paradox from quantum physics, and the message of delayed consequences in the ditty beginning “For the want of a nail the shoe was lost, …” helps keeps the reader engaged with the illusion that some deeper meaning is at play. Or maybe they helps reveal that the illusion of connections of past and present is something this delightful author likes to play with.

  • Shonna Froebel
    2019-02-22 01:38

    I love Kate Atkinson's novels. She is such a good writer. Everyone I read amazes me. She has great characters, with interesting complexities. Her plots are interesting and unique. This new novel is no exception.Jackson Brodie is back again, this time looking for the missing past for a woman. But he isn't the only one searching for something, and there are parties interested in keeping it all buried. A new and interesting character here is Tracy Waterhouse, retired police detective superintendent. She is working in mall security now, until she witnesses something that triggers action in her. Her choice changes her life forever.There is Tillie, an aging actress sliding into dementia, haunted by a loss in her past.And there is Courtney, agreeable, content, with her growing pack of remembrances.Atkinson's turn of phrase keeps jumping out at me too. Some of my favourites:"Some women were destined for widowhood, marriage was just the obstacle in their way.""It used to be the poor who were thin and the rich who were fat, now it seemed to be the other way around.""...couldn't feel sorry for womeone who was so imperfectly equipped to deal with any drama that they weren't themselves the centre of."She is just a great writer, and tells a great story.

  • Nikki
    2019-03-21 00:34

    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 stereotypes about her being fat, a battle-axe, looks like a lesbian, etc, etc. And the stereotypical elderly lady, starting to succumb to dementia.So I started off on a bad foot with this book, and stayed on it. I didn’t settle into the style at all — the book nearly hit the wall at some points, I found it so frustrating.Very much not for me, in any sense. I hesitate to say it’s a bad book, because there’s no accounting for taste and all that, but it really wasn’t something I’d recommend.Originally posted here.

  • Patrick Neylan
    2019-02-20 17:29

    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 with ‘Started Early, Took My Dog’ she maintains that quality. ‘Started Early’ brings us back to some of the characters we met in Case Histories, with the Scottish private investigator Jackson Brodie bringing his peculiar brand of gruff humour to a collection of apparently unrelated mysteries. Where Atkinson shines, as always, is in creating a large cast of perfectly realised characters, each of whom is unique and sympathetic, or at least understandable and human. Early on, the novel does demand slightly too much faith from the reader that all the disparate characters will come together to make a coherent story. Tilly is a particularly peripheral character: separated from the action and with a role that only becomes apparent at the very end. She justifies her place in the novel, but only just. But Atkinson’s readers have learnt to trust her, and that trust is rewarded. To be honest, it’s not as strong as her earlier work, and plausibility is stretched a bit far in places, especially at the end. But it’s still brilliantly written and highly entertaining, so it looks like Atkinson will have another hit on her hands. Unlike England’s footballers, hers is a talent that can be relied on.

  • Julie Christine
    2019-03-02 17:38

    Kate Atkinson does this thing that I love, it's a thing director Alexander Payne ("The Descendants" "Sideways" "About Schmidt") and my favorite girl, Jane Austen, do that I just eat up. These artists excel at creating anti-heroes, be it Atkinson's Jackson Brodie, Payne's Miles (though lion's share of credit should go to writer Rex Pickett for Sideways), or Austen's Elizabeth and Darcy, who aren't afraid to mock their own bad luck and bad moods. There is always a steady stream of wit and irony coursing through the narrative that keeps grim circumstance from becoming maudlin. Of course, a deeply-flawed protagonist in crime fiction - whether she be a private dick or he a DI - is par for the course. What makes Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie series so compelling is the author's brilliant prose. She takes the rote scenario - a tossed-about, lonely, erudite investigator solving mysteries more through happenstantial coincidence than skill - and injects it with unexpected but delicious detail in syntax that delights. It's like being told grilled cheese is for lunch and being presented with just-melted burrata, fresh tomato and basil on grilled pagnotta. Comfort food with panache. Started Early, Took My Dog - Atkinson's fourth featuring former solider and policeman Jackson Brodie - offers far more in the satisfying character department than handsome, lovelorn, brooding Brodie. I will fully own my sucker's heart for The Ambassador, Jackson's foil who doesn't object to being trundled about in a large sack. Senile actresses, slimeball cops, meth-ed out prozzies are vivid and compelling fodder. We are introduced to mall security guard Tracy Waterhouse, she of size extra-large slacks and size extra-large heart. I hope like hell we see more of brave and hilarious Tracy. She is more than Jackson's match in ironical survival. And her small but fierce appendage will break your heart a hundred times over:"Courtney, on the other hand, had made more of an effort, dressing herself from a selection of yesterday's new clothes. Some of them were on backwards but she had got the general idea right. Tracy's efforts at hairdressing the previous evening weren't entirely successful. In the cruel light of day the kid looked handmade. She had finished her cereal and was staring, Oliver Twist-like, at the empty bowl."I did feel a twinge of annoyance at the messy nature of Jackson's personal relationships; he is too easily cowed by the women he has loved and with whom there is a history of mutual neglect. Jackson has a hard time moving on, but Atkinson uses these relationships as a plot device to give her characters context and to ground them in the present.As important of features as wit and irony play in Atkinson's narrative, they do not overshadow the intelligence and humanity that run deeply through her stories. Perhaps more than the three novels that preceded it, Started Early... challenges the moral centers of its characters and readers. They and we are compelled to question the rights of parents vs. the welfare of children, the nature of identity and family, and the true victims of drug dependency and prostitution. The crimes and misdemeanors at the heart of Started Early... stand alone for those uninitiated to Ms. Atkinson's Jackson Brodie oeuvre. But do yourself a favor, partake of the whole rich banquet. And how could I not love this story, when its title was inspired by Emily. Dickinson, that is: I started Early – Took my Dog – (656)BY EMILY DICKINSONI started Early – Took my Dog –And visited the Sea –The Mermaids in the BasementCame out to look at me –And Frigates – in the Upper FloorExtended Hempen Hands –Presuming Me to be a Mouse –Aground – opon the Sands –But no Man moved Me – till the TideWent past my simple Shoe –And past my Apron – and my BeltAnd past my Boddice – too –And made as He would eat me up –As wholly as a DewOpon a Dandelion's Sleeve –And then – I started – too –And He – He followed – close behind –I felt His Silver HeelOpon my Ancle – Then My ShoesWould overflow with Pearl –Until We met the Solid Town –No One He seemed to know –And bowing – with a Mighty look –At me – The Sea withdrew –Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R.W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

  • Felice
    2019-03-01 01:44

    Kate Atkinson is close to my heart. Her idiosyncratic outlook, her canvas of eccentric, damaged, funny and sad characters are not things I want to be without.In her mysteries, Atkinson's detective is Jackson Brodie. He comes standard with a chunk of the classic crime solver attributes: a disastrous personal life populated by ex-wives, children he doesn't see enough of and great loss. He is secretly sensitive, intuitive and has a healthy disregard for authority but Brodie has more than enough individuality and quirky colleagues and acquaintances to make him unique. Something else that Brodie has to set him apart from other detectives is an author who routinely writes about his cases through the eyes of multiple narrators. This is more the trick of a novelist than a mystery writer. Atkinson's use of various points of view heightens the reader's stake in her characters lives and how much they have to gain or lose. The newest Brodie mystery is Started Early, Took My Dog. As with the other books in this series being at the wrong place at the right time for plot reasons gets the mystery started. The semi-retired Brodie is traveling, seemingly seeing the sights and musing over his messy life. Nearby a former policewoman, Tracy Waterhouse, turned private security manager witnesses a Mother mistreating her young daughter. Minutes later Tracey has purchased the child. This is the first time in Started that a child is separated from its parent but it won't be the last. Children who have been abandoned either by choice or by chance liter the landscape of this novel. They are the common denominator that brings Brodie, the police and the victims together. Atkinson will occasionally rely on coincidence to advance the plot in Started. The mystery in her mysteries in general are interesting puzzles but not as tightly plotted as say an Agatha Christie or P.D. James. Atkinson does share their deceptively straight forward writing style but instead of her mysteries being a Who Done It, they are more like a How The Hell We All Got To This Point and are all the more complex for that perspective. The strengths of Atkinson's novels (mystery or otherwise) are characterization and sophisticated, intricate relationships. In that way there is no such thing as a minor character in anything by Atkinson. In Started, Brodie and Waterhouse carry the bulk of the action but their characters are not allowed to go it alone. The amazing interweaving of people, their histories and agendas into complexities that you can sink your teeth into is exhilarating. Atkinson fills us up with bad local TV actors, sketchy cops, prostitutes, Polish contractors, new pets, over reaching government officials and former lovers all struggling for happiness around the Leeds area where Brodie was raised. What gets them each attached to the crimes and overlapping in each others lives in this novel is believable and important to the plot. No one dances through this book for the sake of mere entertainment, every appearance has a consequence.Started Early, Took My Dog is Kate Atkinson quenching! How deliciously fabulous is that? Unfortunately I doubt that nice full-up feeling will last me the year or more until her next book comes out!

  • Trish
    2019-02-19 20:26

    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 is bad news for Brodie, as he has a nasty history with trains.The trenchant sense of humor for which Atkinson is known is on display and she describes with clear-eyed compassion and humor our ridiculous, and sometimes hideous human condition. Motives and choices, the bobs and weaves of persons doing wrong, all have the ring of truth, as do the intentions and interventions of well-meaning, over-worked coppers on the beat. Set in Leeds, the story gives one a distinct sense of cold, cruel, rough, and distrusting. One wonders how anyone gets out of there with their psyche intact. Perhaps they don't, the author seems to say.

  • Lisa
    2019-02-28 19:25

    Atkinson is a thinking persons writer, who is also not caught up in using big words to discuss big concepts. This is extremely difficult to pull off, as many authors try to either dumb down their ideas to fit a certain reading genre or they inflate their work with self-importance. Atkinson digs deep into the human psyche and weaves tales upon themselves and over again, and everything in her books is connected. There is a reason for everything she does and everything falls into place, one by one, as the story unfolds.She's also an economical writer, one who will use the right word or phrase at the right now. She doesn't skimp: everything is well placed and thought out. Reading Atkinson is always a great reminder why I love to read: To be placed in the story, to witness the characters successes and triumphs, and to feel as though you are not a voyeur, but an eyewitness to the story's tale.After a long personal hiatus with reading, diving back in with STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG was a joy. Atkinson reaffirms my faith modern literature and makes me hungry for more.

  • Mark
    2019-03-10 20:25

    I greatly enjoyed this book, and I think, now that I've read my fourth Jackson Brodie novel, that I have finally figured out why I can never quite give Kate Atkinson five stars for these novels, even though I'm drawn to them repeatedly -- but more about that later. As with her previous entry, "When Will There Be Good News?", this story has Brodie as a primary character, but not necessarily the main character.In "Started Early", Atkinson shows off a couple of her fortes: Ingeniously weaving together several plots that all impinge on each other in unlikely ways, and telling an affecting story about a child, one of her strongest skills. In this story, ex-policewoman Tracy Waterhouse, much to her own shock, finds herself buying a child from a crack addict at a bus stop and then deciding, after a life of following the rules, to keep the little girl and devote her life to her. In the meantime, Brodie is motoring around England trying to trace the birth parents of a woman in New Zealand, and in doing so, he unwittingly opens up an old murder case, one that Tracy Waterhouse was intimately involved in. But why, pray tell, is yet another private eye, Brian Jackson, traipsing around after the same information, and why are two leather-jacketed thugs trying to keep Brodie from doing his job? Oh, and yes, just as Tracy suddenly acquires a child, Brodie in a parallel action acquires a terrier from a goon who is mistreating it (thus the book's title). The threads will of course all come together, and all in all, the plotting and the quirky relationships are more than satisfying. So why only the four stars? Here was my epiphany. All of Atkinson's characters, even though she is careful to give them their own histories and descriptions, have the same kind of interior monologues -- arch, digressive, downright funny, and, I suspect, the voice of Atkinson herself. She will achieve greatness when she finally gives each of her strong characters a true particular voice, instead of a version of her own voice.But what a delightful voice it is. Thus the four stars ...

  • Liz
    2019-03-13 21:24

    This was a reread, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. Atkinson tackles the familiar theme of violence against women - in this case against particularly underpriveleged women such as prostitutes. By setting the story in Leeds, with one timeline running just before the Yorkshire Ripper began his reign of terror, Atkinson highlights the differences between the way such victims were viewed thirty years ago and now - and the prejudices that still remain.At the heart of the story are two innocents: a little girl called Courtney, taken under the wing of lonely ex-WPC Tracey, and a dog rescued from certain death by Jackson Brodie. Both Tracey and Jackson are haunted by the memory of another innocent whom they were unable to save.Atkinson draws us into a world of police indifference, brutality and corruption, gradually unravelling a murky plot in which almost all of the adult players are implicated. Even knowing what was coming, I was caught up in the storytelling, and I loved the fact that I was able to better appreciate Atkinson's skill this time around. There are some loose threads, which I'm hoping Atkinson will tie up in another book. But this one is my favourite to date.

  • Angela
    2019-02-26 00:47

    This, the fourth in a series of novels in which Jackson Brodie features, is as entertaining and gripping as the others.Personally, I enjoy Kate Atkinson’s writing, but this is not a particularly easy read. Amid the intertwining plots and time periods it is easy to lose one’s way - concentration and attention to detail are definitely required of the reader! No bad thing though and the rewards a great. The story is full of interest and humour - lots of murder, mystery and mayhem along the way too.It is well worth investing the time and effort to make another foray into the mad, chaotic world of Jackson Brodie. Happy reading!

  • David
    2019-03-15 21:23

    This was great! The first Kate Atkinson I’ve read. I loved it.It’s the 4th in the Jackson Brodie series, but that was fine. I didn’t feel that I was missing out on any vital background info. Although, I will be reading all the other Jackson Brodie books, starting with number one. Then I’m going to read everything else by Atkinson. She is amazing.Jackson Brodie is a handsome, tough, but sensitive private investigator. He’s ex-army, ex-police, handy with his fists. He automatically takes care of distressed old ladies, and rescues abused dogs. He’s generally taking care of all of the underdogs. He’s looking after us. (I’m sure my mum loves him – she loves Jack Reacher). Even better, he’s haunted by the ghost of his murdered sister. What’s not to love? Amazingly, he doesn’t become irritating. (Possibly because he’s ever such a slight failure. In this book he’s contrasted with another much more successful, and efficient doppelganger.) Although, despite having his name on the cover, it doesn’t feel like he’s quite at the heart of the book. He wanders around at the edge, he crosses paths with the main characters, but doesn’t understand who they are until near the end. What I loved best was the grumpy, dour, melancholy humour.I loved the way the plot expanded like a slowly unfolding complicated mechanism (I'm thinking of a Transformer toy or an umbrella) I liked the pace and the way the complexity built up. I liked the way that she used echoes and coincidences without the action ever losing plausibility.I mentioned the word ‘dour’ already, but it’s important for the flavor of the book. The way that she combines dour Yorkshire humour with noir. The way that she combines jokiness with genuine dark events (She refers throughout to the Yorkshire ripper.) It seems like it would be easy for the humour to diminish the seriousness of the violence, but this doesn’t happen.Anyway, a thoroughly, super-dooper book!

  • Veronica
    2019-02-23 00:24

    Another good read from Kate, one of my best so far this year. This lively tale was a particular relief after ploughing through Saramago's difficult Blindness. Atkinson's prose sweeps you along into the story and the characters. Jackson Brodie is here again, but as always he doesn't necessarily take a starring role. I loved the character of Tracy, the lonely ex-cop security chief whose impulse buy kicks off the story. And the dog makes an excellent sidekick for Jackson. Although it deals with murder and child abduction (as usual!) this is a lighter read than When Will There Be Good News?Also as usual, the plot is a mass of tangled threads and coincidences, both funny and compelling, further complicated by time shifts between the 1970s and the present day. Some people complain about the coincidences that drive Atkinson's plots, but I don't have a problem with them. a) it's a story, not real life, and b) as Atkinson herself says, "Coincidences are just explanations waiting to happen." When you've lived long enough you realise that coincidences do happen in real life. For example you do encounter people you know in faraway places, because you've made similar choices in life that bring you to the same places.The plot here is so complicated that I thought it risked falling apart at the seams in places. There was one point where the idea that someone could overlook the presence of a child (or indeed the child not notice them) seemed totally implausible. And I got confused with all the senior policemen, who seemed to merge into each other. I could never remember who'd done what. Tilly was a beautifully drawn character, but I thought she belonged in another book; she was too peripheral to the plot here, and was dragged in rather heavy-handedly at the end. But there were loads of things I liked, in no particular order:- the setting, Leeds and north/west Yorkshire. I particularly liked the way she captured the ugliness of the 1970s, the period of the Ripper murders.- the idea of having another PI called Jackson shadowing Jackson. Our Jackson (Brodie) seems particularly bumbling in this book, whereas his alter ego tries to appear suave and efficient, and does seem somewhat more successful.- the relationship between Tracy and Courtney, beautifully and touchingly done, as well as being funny.Apparently Atkinson is tired of writing about Jackson and wants to give him a rest. Given the one dangling unresolved major plot element in this one (apart from the tantalising reference to Louise right at the end of course!), I really hope she writes about Tracy's next moves instead. Footnotes: I spent ages wondering what the title meant, before eventually discovering that it's the first line of an Emily Dickinson poem (Jackson turns out to be a covert fan). And in another review, someone noted that if Kate Atkinson had started out as a "crime writer" he'd probably never have discovered her. Me neither. I absolutely loved her "literary" first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum and it was this that kept me reading and enjoying her later work (except Emotionally Weird, hated that, and noted with interest that in an interview she said she'd got totally bogged down writing it and had to take a break afterwards).

  • Robert
    2019-03-16 23:33

    This isn’t like any mystery I’ve ever read before, and I’ve probably read more than my fiscal allotment, devouring PIs of the hard-boiled and amateur variety, cozies, and police procedurals with reckless abandon, the way one might consume Cheez-Its on the living room sofa during an episode of The Office. So, naturally, I thought I had seen it all, and then this son of a gun came along, and I ended up scratching my head trying to fit STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG into a gift-wrapped box with a giant bow, painted in blood. And every time I’d squash it down, whether I used my hands, feet, or derriere, it’d pop back up, shake its head at me, and then let out a little chuckle.I thought I was reading a mystery, but I was left dumbfounded throughout much of the first half of the book. About 17% into this tale (approximately 71 pages), I checked the novel’s genre on Amazon, because I had convinced myself that this wasn’t a mystery. I had plodded along happily with the characters, but it felt more like a character study of random individuals who had yet to intersect. At about 36%, or approximately 149 pages, it started to get a bit more interesting, but it wasn’t until 48%, or page 199, that a dead body was introduced. Even after the dead body, this novel still managed to toss a story structure curveball or two, and that was probably a good thing, especially if you’re standing at home plate quacking at the knees, after you’d just been buzzed by a 95 mph fastball.Either that, or possibly a severe case of whiplash from being bounced between the past and present often enough to cause a rather extreme case of dizzy spells. I had trouble remembering the decade, let alone the year, tripping out of my mind to the point that rainbows appeared as a natural part of the landscape, and I saw roadrunners zipping across I-25 like tumbleweeds in the middle of a windstorm.But I didn’t mind the dizziness, or the hallucinations, or the anxiety-filled moments, because there’s no question Kate Atkinson can spin a good yarn. Rumpelstiltskin would have to shut his fat lips, as an entire room filled with straw was turned into gold. And even though she may have broken the space-time continuum, this was one well-written tale that also happened to include a considerable amount of head scratching by yours truly.

  • Janette Fleming
    2019-02-21 23:28

    For me this, the latest chapter in Kate Atkinson's of Jackson Brodie books combines the best of the previous three novels, the darkness of 'Case Histories', the humour of 'One Good turn' and the complex plotting of 'When will there be Good News'As usual Atkinson deftly weaves the inter twining skeins of characters and their stories but this one really plays with your mind. For example, there's not only Jackson Brodie on the case but (unknown to him) another private detective with the suspiciously similar name of Brian Jackson. Their investigations run on parallel tracks. Brodie and another former detective bump into each other, each unaware that the other holds the key to the case they are both working on, one of them having kidnapped a child, the other having kidnapped a dog. One of the other characters is an elderly actress called Tilly who's got a job playing the mother of a TV detective in a series somewhat like Heartbeat in which Jackson's former partner Julia also makes a brief appearance." And when Jackson meets Julia, you're not completely sure that he has done, so often does he have imaginary conversations with her in his head. Similarly, Tilly isn't quite sure whether what she's seeing is real or imaginary, because that's what happens when dementia is starting to take hold of an actress's mind in which so much fiction has already metastasised into fact.”Sad to hear that this might be the last Jackson Brodie for a while“Right now, though, says Atkinson, she needs a break from Brodie. "The first book was such a joy to write because I came to it absolutely fresh," she says. "It went so well that I carried on with a second novel, even though I had never intended to. With this one, although it helped that I could take him back to Yorkshire, the plotting was so complicated towards the end that it really made me realise that I needed a break. I know that I've got to come back fresh and I don't feel that at the moment. He's just got to develop offstage, and I need to go off and do something different. So the next time I see him might be in seven years' time, something like that." And then she offers me a tiny Emily Dickinson feather of hope. "But I might change my mind."I hope so as the world is a darker place without a Jackson Brodie book on the go...Quotes from

  • Trina
    2019-02-28 22:30

    These are much better than the average "mystery". Jackson Brodie is a private detective, but he is kind of an anti-hero protagonist and makes fun of his own many failings. The writing is good and the characters are unusual. I've read all 4 Jackson Brodie books -- like Erin I wonder if it's time for Atkinson to turn her hand to another protagonist. Liked it a lot, though.Newsflash! Just found out from a friend that the title is from an Emily Dickinson poem. Maybe everybody knew but me? here is the poem:

  • Dan
    2019-03-12 22:37

    Adoption should always be like thisMore than once I’ve thought Kate Atkinson should have titled her series of four Jackson Brodie books “Crash I, II, III & IV.”These books – all of them – are about smashups, people or vehicles colliding and incidents past and present piling up on one another.The action is mostly chaotic, frenetic and always unexpected and characters in each of the books – usually nearer the end – are like atoms smashing into each inside a super-collider. And always there seems to be a child or adolescent, a girl, involved and her presence or absence determines someone else’s future.In “Started Early, Took My Dog,” the child is three or four-year-old Courtney, parentage and last name unknown, the little girl recently procured from Kelly Cross, prostitute, druggie and “all-round pikey,” by retired police detective Tracy Waterhouse, who on a whim decides to spend £3,000 she had saved up for a kitchen remodel to purchase the kid. In a way and in Tracy’s mind the money is sort of like an adoption fee. The whole process from offer to approval simply took place in less than a minute.The former copper, now a member of the security team at the Merrion Centre shopping mall exchanges cash for the kid after following the crazed adult dragging the screaming child as if she were some sort of scruffy, stuffed animal that no cared about any longer.One moment Tracy was standing “contemplating the human wreckage that was Kelly Cross, the next she was saying to her, ‘How much?’ “It’s hard to tell who is surprised most by the impulse buy, Tracy or Kelly.For her part, Courtney soon blesses the transaction with the star-topped silver wand that came with her new pink fairy outfit Tracy buys for her accessorized with little wings and a tiara. With a “green caterpillar of snot crawling out of her nose,” Courtney isn’t the most beautiful of children but she’ll grab you heart in ways you’d never expect, least of all Tracy.Courtney is one of what seems to be a tribe of lost children who have been abandoned, abducted or have died in or around Leeds in the past four decades. Courtney is the heart of this story because it’s a Kate Atkinson book and all these little souls, these innocents, waifs or orphans will all be connected across time with emotional, heartrending, sometimes devastating consequences.Jackson Brodie is involved because has been retained to look into the true identity of one of these lost kids, now grown and living in New Zealand.Along the way, Jackson also has rescued and taken in his own little lost creature, an abused mutt, a terrier he’s named The Ambassador. There’s also a larger ensemble of offbeat characters somehow rendered more real for all their weirdness and eccentricities than your normal next door neighbor.Everyone is interesting in his or her own fashion. They live different lives, play out their role at different decades in the story and everything seems to be happening without order or reason. But in Atkinson’s worldview, there is most often some sort of rhyme and reason; you just have to be patient and wait for everything to make sense or to not make sense as the case may be.Depending on your temperament and your comfort in dealing with some ambiguity, you’ll either be immensely entertained or terribly annoyed. Me, I’m really looking to the next book in the series, which I’m personally calling “Crash V.”[Gotta give it 4.5 stars for the kid and her wand, which she waves in benediction as if she were the Queen Mother herself]