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Started Early, Took My Dog: (Jackson Brodie) Paperback – 17 Feb 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Black Swan; New Jacket edition (17 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0552772461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0552772464
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (307 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 41,021 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

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By smartesthorse on 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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191 of 199 people found the following review helpful By Sukie VINE VOICE on 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 By DaisyBelle on 5 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have been looking forward to tackling my paperback copy of the latest Jackson tale. I even considered buying it in hardback (a rarity for me) but I'm glad I didn't stretch to that extravagance. I've never really understood anyone who gives Atkinson less than 3 stars - but I find myself agreeing with a lot of their comments this time. I am also beginning to feel that there is a tiny, tiny bit of a 'forumla' appearing with these Jackson books. The disparate characters and jumbled plot-lines worked well in 'Case Histories'; exceptionally well in 'One Good Turn'; very well in 'When Will' but seemed far too forced in 'Started Early'. I felt that Jackson didn't really connect with any of the characters, the plot or his Yorkshire homeland - and so I felt that I wasn't connecting with Jackson either. The story was good enough but I feel it was just not really finsihed off to the same high standard of her previous. There seemed a lot of hype around this novel and I wonder if Atkinson's heart wasnt really in it this time.
I loved Tracy and if she had been absent I'd have really struggled with 'Started Early'. However, Tilly was a side-line too far and too oblique to the rest of the action (the ending on the railway lines? Really?). In my opinion it could have done with a bit more on Linda instead (never mind Lomax et al!). Still, I read it in super quick time and feel that it does add to the Jackson stable more than it detracts. But it's a long way off being Atkinson's best.
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111 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Meadows VINE VOICE on 14 July 2010
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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