Thursday, October 8, 2015

Case Histories

by Kate Atkinson
373 pgs  (Jackson Brodie series #1)

Kate Atkinson's Case Histories begins with the telling of three unconnected crimes: The first involves the mysterious disappearance of a three-year-old girl who was camping out in her backyard with her sister. The second is the violent murder of an attorney's teenage daughter. The third involves a young mother who loses her temper with her husband and kills him with an ax.

After describing these three events, all of which took place over a decade ago, Atkinson introduces the central figure in her story--Jackson Brodie. Jackson is a former-police-officer-turned-private-investigator, who is drawn into these case histories in order to try to provide some closure for the loved ones left behind.

Jackson has been struggling himself recently. Newly estranged from his wife and young daughter, Jackson is cynical and more than a little bitter. Characteristics that seem to have a two-fold effect on him during his investigations: they give him a careless attitude about his own safety and protection. But at the same time,  they seem to give him a desire to restore balance to the world by helping the others around him.

Atkinson does a commendable job slowly unraveling the mysteries surrounding the three crimes she begins with. Jackson seems to possess an innate ability to tie together the loose strands that were left behind from the crimes and brings each investigation to a satisfying conclusion.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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