Kate Atkinson remains one of my favourite writers. I will drop any other book I've got for her new novel -- she's a lot like Laura Lippman in that way. She writes engrossing, utterly readable, quasi mystery books with flawed protagonists (ahh, Jackson, I knew exactly when you showed up in the narrative and it actually made me smile) and great, rollicking plots. In her latest, Started Early, Stole My Dog, Jackson Brodie is no longer a true private eye, semi-retired but working the odd case, he's on a road trip inspired by a case: a young woman wants to find out more about her birth family. Seems simple, right? But, of course, this being a book with Jackson Brodie as the main character, there are twists, turns, and some solid punches before he gets to the bottom of the mystery.
There are plenty of other stories woven into the narrative... a retired DCI, Tracy Waterhouse, does something so out of character, she has to go on the run. And then, she's chased. The group of police Waterhouse worked with, the old boys' club, has something to hide that Jackson stumbles upon. Lastly, an actress on her last legs, literally, as her mind starts to wander due to dementia, and the way her final action turns the tide on the entire story feels shocking, to say the least. Of course, Jackson, even when he tries his damnedest, can't stay out of the middle of all of it, and how Atkinson pulls it all together remains impressive throughout the novel.
It's the kind of novel that you can read in one sitting, the perfect for a book-a-day challenge. It just breezes along, pulls you in from the beginning and doesn't let go of your hand until you're absolutely on the last punctuation mark of the very last page wishing that you didn't read so bloody fast. There's really not much more to say except I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and won't spoil it at all for those of you who haven't discovered Atkinson yet.
Lastly, she was born in Scotland, which means that Kate Atkinson's novel counts as another Around the World in 52 Books, which means, maybe I'm at seven or eight now... Yay!