Top positive review
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A brilliant read
on 27 September 2017
Having thoroughly enjoyed Kate Atkinson's ""Life after life", "A god in ruins" and "Scenes from the museum" I was intrigued to try one of her Jackson Brodie books and the initial volume seemed as good a place to start as any. I always feel that her novels tend to throw in a curved ball to begin with and it takes a while for everything to eventually coalesce before you become totally absorbed in the characters and the stories. This book was no different and the many of the traits within her books seemed to apply to this detective novel. Fans of her writing will enjoy this and it is fair to say that Atkinson has a knack of producing literary novels which are easy to consume,
The plot centres around three crimes including a disappearing child, the senseless murder of a student and the murderous actions of a frustrated housewife. Needless to say, in the typical fashion of this writer things aren't always as clear as they seem and the three "plots" are tied together by the engaging character of Jackson Brodie, a somewhat put upon private detective. Ultimately there is not really a great deal of detective work that does on in this novel and Brodie is principally there to glue the three plots together whilst offering some wry and amusing observations at the same time. There is much to enjoy in this book and if it isn't quite as switched on as a piece of detective fiction as say Reginald Hill's excellent Dalziel and Pascoe novels, the pleasure of reading this book comes from encountering the panoply of interesting characters.
I quickly polished off this book but I felt it lacked the clout of the other three novels by Kate Atkinson I had read which basically knock the wind out of your sails when you have completed them. The longer narrative of these books plunge you in to an entire world whereas the Jackson Brodie book seems to follow a shorter trajectory. Like Hill, the book does have a few anachronisms which amusingly pick up on some cultural references of the 2000's however those reviewers alluding to this book being difficult are wide of the mark. Setting aside any reservations about some of the quite racy content of this novel, it is still a hugely enjoyable read.