Started Early, Took My Dog

Started Early, Took My Dog: A Novel
Kate Atkinson
Reagan Arthur Books (2011)

Amazon.com Review

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 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.

Author One-on-One: Kate Atkinson and Lee Child

In this Amazon exclusive, we brought together authors Kate Atkinson and Lee Child and asked them to interview each other.

Lee Child:
This is the fourth Jackson Brodie book. It's starting to look suspiciously like a series! What brought you back this time?

Kate Atkinson:
I never intended to write more than the first one -- which was
Case Histories
-- but I wrote it so quickly -- which was highly unusual for me -- that I somehow felt as if I hadn't finished with the form and the characters. And then it became the 'power of three' and I thought "one more" and then I found I had unfinished business for Jackson and it became four. I honestly don't know how that happened. There is something seductive about the shape of a detective novel, or at any rate of using a detective in a novel, because it gives you a ready-- made dynamic and a reason for introducing characters to whom interesting things happen as opposed to, say, starting with a whole load of people in a bank or an office and thinking so what are their stories, and what's going to happen to them? (Although, even as I'm writing that, I'm thinking oh, actually that sounds quite intriguing).

Child:
Your career so far shows you're not afraid to write whatever you choose. It's as if you've been in and out of several different rooms in the house. Is that fun?

Atkinson:
Yes! I get bored quite easily but also there are so many ways of writing out there to explore. To run with the house analogy -- I love houses and there are so many lovely ones that I'll never have a chance to live in because life is short and so is money. It's the same with different styles and genres of writing. I hope before I die I manage to write a romantic novel (because I never write any kind of romance) and I would love to be able to write a children's book, but I think they are the most challenging of all.

Child:
Is it easier to write the Brodie books than the others? Or harder?

Atkinson:
I found the Brodie books easy to begin with, and then very difficult to finish. I haven't actually finished with him yet but at the moment he's taking a holiday somewhere restful. I found the new book really hard but I think I'd just run out of steam with the character. I'm writing something completely different at the moment and it's amazing how much energy I have for it and what a relief it feels! I think the next time I re-visit Jackson it will be with that same kind of enthusiasm -- and he (and I) will be all the better for having taken a break from each other!

Child:
You write about Yorkshire with a certain exasperated affection. You were born there, right?

Atkinson:
I am actually a patron of the Yorkshire Tourist Board! I think it's true of everyone in exile -- I live in Edinburgh -- no matter how mild the form, that you have a longing for what you have left behind.

I think the older you get the stronger that is -- not so much nostalgia, but a feeling that your heart is in another place. I may be kidding myself there and, like Jackson, there are certain parts of Yorkshire that I would never want to re-visit, but like him I think there are places in North Yorkshire that do mark it out as God's Own county. (I don't know why Yorkshire people are so fervently patriotic about their county!) My whole family is settled in Scotland so that kind of prevents me from moving back although I dream about that little cottage in the Dales, Aga in the kitchen, sheep bleating outside the window...

(Photo of Kate Atkinson © Martin Hunter; photo of Lee Child © Sigrid Estrada;)

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. British author Atkinson's magnificently plotted fourth novel featuring Jackson Brodie (after When Will There Be Good News?) takes the "semi-retired" PI back to his Yorkshire hometown to trace the biological parents of Hope McMasters, a woman adopted by a couple in the 1970s at age two. Jackson is faced with more questions than answers when Hope's parents aren't in any database nor is her adoption on record. In the author's signature multilayered style, she shifts between past and present, interweaving the stories of Tracy Waterhouse, a recently retired detective superintendent now in charge of security at a Leeds mall, and aging actress Tilly Squires. On the same day that Jackson and Tilly are in the mall, Tracy makes a snap decision that will have lasting consequences for everyone. Atkinson injects wit even in the bleakest moments—such as Jackson's newfound appreciation for poetry, evoked in the Emily Dickinson–inspired title—yet never loses her razor-sharp edge. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

Started Early, Took My Dog: A Novel
Kate Atkinson
Reagan Arthur Books (2011)

Amazon.com Review

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 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.

Author One-on-One: Kate Atkinson and Lee Child

In this Amazon exclusive, we brought together authors Kate Atkinson and Lee Child and asked them to interview each other.

Lee Child:
This is the fourth Jackson Brodie book. It's starting to look suspiciously like a series! What brought you back this time?

Kate Atkinson:
I never intended to write more than the first one -- which was
Case Histories
-- but I wrote it so quickly -- which was highly unusual for me -- that I somehow felt as if I hadn't finished with the form and the characters. And then it became the 'power of three' and I thought "one more" and then I found I had unfinished business for Jackson and it became four. I honestly don't know how that happened. There is something seductive about the shape of a detective novel, or at any rate of using a detective in a novel, because it gives you a ready-- made dynamic and a reason for introducing characters to whom interesting things happen as opposed to, say, starting with a whole load of people in a bank or an office and thinking so what are their stories, and what's going to happen to them? (Although, even as I'm writing that, I'm thinking oh, actually that sounds quite intriguing).

Child:
Your career so far shows you're not afraid to write whatever you choose. It's as if you've been in and out of several different rooms in the house. Is that fun?

Atkinson:
Yes! I get bored quite easily but also there are so many ways of writing out there to explore. To run with the house analogy -- I love houses and there are so many lovely ones that I'll never have a chance to live in because life is short and so is money. It's the same with different styles and genres of writing. I hope before I die I manage to write a romantic novel (because I never write any kind of romance) and I would love to be able to write a children's book, but I think they are the most challenging of all.

Child:
Is it easier to write the Brodie books than the others? Or harder?

Atkinson:
I found the Brodie books easy to begin with, and then very difficult to finish. I haven't actually finished with him yet but at the moment he's taking a holiday somewhere restful. I found the new book really hard but I think I'd just run out of steam with the character. I'm writing something completely different at the moment and it's amazing how much energy I have for it and what a relief it feels! I think the next time I re-visit Jackson it will be with that same kind of enthusiasm -- and he (and I) will be all the better for having taken a break from each other!

Child:
You write about Yorkshire with a certain exasperated affection. You were born there, right?

Atkinson:
I am actually a patron of the Yorkshire Tourist Board! I think it's true of everyone in exile -- I live in Edinburgh -- no matter how mild the form, that you have a longing for what you have left behind.

I think the older you get the stronger that is -- not so much nostalgia, but a feeling that your heart is in another place. I may be kidding myself there and, like Jackson, there are certain parts of Yorkshire that I would never want to re-visit, but like him I think there are places in North Yorkshire that do mark it out as God's Own county. (I don't know why Yorkshire people are so fervently patriotic about their county!) My whole family is settled in Scotland so that kind of prevents me from moving back although I dream about that little cottage in the Dales, Aga in the kitchen, sheep bleating outside the window...

(Photo of Kate Atkinson © Martin Hunter; photo of Lee Child © Sigrid Estrada;)

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. British author Atkinson's magnificently plotted fourth novel featuring Jackson Brodie (after When Will There Be Good News?) takes the "semi-retired" PI back to his Yorkshire hometown to trace the biological parents of Hope McMasters, a woman adopted by a couple in the 1970s at age two. Jackson is faced with more questions than answers when Hope's parents aren't in any database nor is her adoption on record. In the author's signature multilayered style, she shifts between past and present, interweaving the stories of Tracy Waterhouse, a recently retired detective superintendent now in charge of security at a Leeds mall, and aging actress Tilly Squires. On the same day that Jackson and Tilly are in the mall, Tracy makes a snap decision that will have lasting consequences for everyone. Atkinson injects wit even in the bleakest moments—such as Jackson's newfound appreciation for poetry, evoked in the Emily Dickinson–inspired title—yet never loses her razor-sharp edge. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

 

 

Started Early, Took My Dog: A Novel
Kate Atkinson
Reagan Arthur Books (2011)
Rating:
★★★☆☆

Amazon.com Review

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 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.

Author One-on-One: Kate Atkinson and Lee Child

In this Amazon exclusive, we brought together authors Kate Atkinson and Lee Child and asked them to interview each other.

Lee Child:
This is the fourth Jackson Brodie book. It's starting to look suspiciously like a series! What brought you back this time?

Kate Atkinson:
I never intended to write more than the first one -- which was
Case Histories
-- but I wrote it so quickly -- which was highly unusual for me -- that I somehow felt as if I hadn't finished with the form and the characters. And then it became the 'power of three' and I thought "one more" and then I found I had unfinished business for Jackson and it became four. I honestly don't know how that happened. There is something seductive about the shape of a detective novel, or at any rate of using a detective in a novel, because it gives you a ready-- made dynamic and a reason for introducing characters to whom interesting things happen as opposed to, say, starting with a whole load of people in a bank or an office and thinking so what are their stories, and what's going to happen to them? (Although, even as I'm writing that, I'm thinking oh, actually that sounds quite intriguing).

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