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Started Early, Took My Dog: (Jackson Brodie) [Paperback]

Kate Atkinson
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (270 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

17 Feb 2011 Jackson Brodie (Book 4)

A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a shocking impulse purchase. That one moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy's humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn.

Witnesses to Tracy's outrageous exchange in the Merrion Centre in Leeds are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie who has returned to his home county in search of someone else's roots. All three characters learn that the past is never history and that no good deed goes unpunished.

Kate Atkinson dovetails and counterpoints her plots with Dickensian brilliance in a tale peopled with unlikely heroes and villains . Started Early, Took My Dog is freighted with wit, wisdom and a fierce moral intelligence. It confirms Kate Atkinson's position as one of the great writers of our time.

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Started Early, Took My Dog: (Jackson Brodie) + One Good Turn: (Jackson Brodie) + When Will There Be Good News?: (Jackson Brodie)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; First Thus edition (17 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552772461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552772464
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (270 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her four bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs. Her latest novel Life After Life was shortlisted for the Women's (formerly Orange) Prize, the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Award, and won the 2014 Costa Novel Award. She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List, and was voted Waterstones UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards.

Photography © Martin Hunter

Product Description


"Crime has given Atkinson the freedom to write an ambitious, panoramic work, full of excitement, colour and compassion" (Sunday Times)

"Atkinson's finest novel to date. Indeed, it's one of the finest British novels, in any genre, to have emerged for and dexterous, subtle and stylish, very funny and at time extraordinarily cutting...This is very much a state of the nation novel - far sharper and more observant and satirically understanding than anything else out there at the moment. And yet Atkinson also gives us humanity, insight and entertainment...a story that deserves to be read for decades to come" (Henry Sutton Mirror)

"The wonder of Atkinson's novels has been their joie de vivre, extraordinary given the high incidence of violent death. An irrepressible exuberance shines throughout..folds past and present together with Atkinson's customary flair...extraordinary combination of wit, plain-speaking, tenderness and control" (Guardian)

"As ever, Atkinson's prose is diamond-cut to twinkle and slice by turns. Her playful sense of humour dances round the darkness of her themes. She skips through the difficult steps required to balance the reader's need for satisfying (and surprising) resolution with a realist's view of human nature and the messiness of real-life criminality" (Daily Telegraph)

"A wonderful stylist...but she was never confined to the crime genre, has written in assorted other modes and excels at them all. Whatever she goes on to write, she leaves Jackson Brodie at a suspenseful and pivotal moment. Future installments are well worth waiting for" (Janet Maslin New York Times)

Book Description

The fourth novel featuring Jackson Brodie from the No.1 bestselling author of When Will There Be Good News?, winner of Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
185 of 193 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atkinson on sparkling form 29 Jun 2010
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Kate Atkinson returns on top form with her fourth crime novel featuring Jackson Brodie, her slighly world-weary, laconic and oh-so-human private eye. This time he's in Yorkshire, trying to trace the family of Hope McMaster, whose roots don't seem to exist. Also in the mix is Tracy Waterhouse, cop-turned-security-guard, who is haunted by one particular murder from the 1970s; Tilly, an elderly actress who is struggling through befuddlement to play her role in a drama series; and DS Barry Crawford, just two weeks from retirement, a keeper of secrets who is weighed down with grief and anger. There is also a dog called The Ambassador.

While Jackson begins to uncover more about the mysterious Hope, Tracy makes a reckless purchase which throws her career and whole future into jeopardy. As ever, Atkinson controls the action perfectly, slipping from one plot-thread into another and weaving the strands tighter and tighter together until all are connected. Family ties, lost and found children, prostitutes, murders and a coincidence or two, this novel is tautly plotted and full of surprises.

I am a huge fan of Kate Atkinson's books. Her characters are perfectly and wittily described, the writing is punchy, humorous and tight, and the momentum builds and builds throughout to a satisfying ending. The dialogue is always spot-on and realistic, and I think she captures relationships brilliantly - particularly Jackson's relationships with his ex, Julia, his daughter, Marlee, and the eponymous dog in this novel, as well as the dynamic between Tracy and Barry. This is sure to be another massive hit for Atkinson, and well deserved. I'm already looking forward to the next one!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, sharp, clever. funny 25 Aug 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If you come to this cold, without having read the Jackson Brodie books before you may not like this as much as I did. One of the major criticisms laid against the author is that she includes too many coincidences. This is a bit like dismissing the many popular fantasy and magic books because there is no such thing as magic. The author incorporates these coincidences deliberately, its part of her unique world and scheme of things, accept this and you have a wonderful read. After all, we are all subject to continual quirks of a fate, if we hadn't taken time out to double check the front door we might have hit that lorry on the wrong side, chosen another cafe and we wouldn't have met the man of our dreams.
Jackson himself I find adorable, he's hard, he fights 'em all off and he's as soft as butter round kids. I did find there was perhaps a surfeit of other characters and bit players in this book and like other readers I couldn't quite see the point of the ageing actress Tilly though it did bring in an amusing side line tale of a soap opera.

The writing is often very funny, I like the bit when she describes a hideous mauve leather sofa as 'an undignified end for a cow' Its wry and dry and it's a bit love it or hate it, I have friends who find this author a real pain in the butt. If you are new to Jackson I would really recommend you buy or borrow the earlier books first, otherwise you will find yourself asking 'Who is Louise? Who is Josie?" If you are a seasoned reader of these books I would say its not the best perhaps but it is still sharp and acute and very very readable..the last of which is surely what we want from a book.
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110 of 119 people found the following review helpful
By Christopher Meadows VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book is really three different character pieces woven into one story; the narrative switches between private investigator Jackson Brodie, security manager Tracy, and weathered, partially senile actress Tilly. It also leaps between the 1970's and the present day. This can be a bit confusing initially, but makes the narrative flow between temporal breaks appear seamless once you get used to it.

Each character has their own unique internal voice and dialogue, all compellingly written and well realised. The spoken dialogue is equally well written, clever, well paced, and feels `real', rather than crafted. Tracy and Tilly, in particular, come off as regular, every day people, dealing with (sometimes) extra-ordinary events. Their reactions, actions and motivations seem to gel together well, and there isn't much in these two characters to disbelieve.

Jackson Brodie, who I believe is a recurring character in other novels by the same author, has a slightly less believable back story (musingly admitted by the character himself), but manages to be both sympathetic and amusing to read. The ancillary characters also have their own well-detailed motivations, and made watching the `mains' interact with them aq pleasure.

The central mysteries of the plot centre around a crime committed in the 1970's, which is linked to an investigation in the here-and-now. I won't discuss the details, but will say that it all hangs together very nicely. The pacing kept me turning pages, looking for the next clue to the larger mystery, and the final outcome was both intriguing and satisfying.

A good story, excellent characters, and a clever mystery - a good read.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Started early, took a while to finish... 19 Oct 2010
By Cat
I'm a huge Kate Atkinson fan, so I was excited to read the latest in the Jackson Brodie novels. I'm sad to say, I fell a bit out of love with him in this book. I didn't feel like I really connected with any of the characters, even Jackson's "voice" didn't hook me in as usual, and the split timeline felt confusing to me. The most intriguing story was Tracey's, and I felt really cheated by the end - what on earth happened?! I went back and re-read One Good Turn and When Will There be Good News? after I finished this, and read both of them in a couple of nights, whereas I dipped in and out of this over the course of a few weeks. I found it a disappointing and frustrating read in comparison with Atkinson's other novels, and hope the next episode - assuming there is one - is back on track.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Once again a brilliant book from Kate Atkinson. I love the way she captures the Northern-ness of the characters. My only query is what is Courtneys secret?! Read more
Published 3 days ago by Janey
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Jackson Brodie
I have loved all the Jackson Brodie books and this one doesn't disappoint. Great read, good plot and I want that dog!!
Published 12 days ago by MRS H A JACKSON
5.0 out of 5 stars such an excellent book
If you've seen the TV adaptations of the Jackson Brodie books, don't imagine they reflect the pure excellence of Kate Atkinson's writing. Read more
Published 14 days ago by jannywanny
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange and tedious
thought it would be a good read but was disappointed. complicated plot and characters, lots of detailed information I skipped over in order to follow the plot.
Published 20 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars think this might be my favourite Jackson Brodie novel
Jackson and his new canine friend have more adventures - loved the dog! And former policewoman Tracey is great character - we need more like her!
Published 28 days ago by Emma B
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great read from Kate
This is yet another great book from Kate Atkinson. She makes you want to keep turning the pages so much so that I missed my bus stop (that has never happened before) I love the... Read more
Published 29 days ago by Debs
5.0 out of 5 stars good
Great book, I am a massive bookworm so I love all books but I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and family.
Published 1 month ago by becccci
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but is the 4th book flagging slightly?
I'm a recent convert to Kate Atkinson and love the lively style. I have given the previous Jackson Brodie books 5 stars. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Emi D
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read
I love Kate Atkinson's books, especially the Jackson Brodie stories. They are so witty and the characters are always so interesting that they are difficult to put down once you... Read more
Published 1 month ago by V. M. Hall
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read ...
... only slightly spoilt by the plot being over-contrived to the point of being unbelievable. Excellent characters, interesting story, good dialogue, but I personally preferred the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alison
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