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Case Histories: A Novel (Jackson Brodie) by [Atkinson, Kate]
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Case Histories: A Novel (Jackson Brodie) Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this ambitious fourth novel from Whitbread winner Atkinson (Behind the Scenes at the Museum), private detective Jackson Brodie—ex-cop, ex-husband and weekend dad—takes on three cases involving past crimes that occurred in and around London. The first case introduces two middle-aged sisters who, after the death of their vile, distant father, look again into the disappearance of their beloved sister Olivia, last seen at three years old, while they were camping under the stars during an oppressive heat wave. A retired lawyer who lives only on the fumes of possible justice next enlists Jackson's aid in solving the brutal killing of his grown daughter 10 years earlier. In the third dog-eared case file, the sibling of an infamous ax-bludgeoner seeks a reunion with her niece, who as a baby was a witness to murder. Jackson's reluctant persistence heats up these cold cases and by happenstance leads him to reassess his own painful history. The humility of the extraordinary, unabashed characters is skillfully revealed with humor and surprise. Atkinson contrasts the inevitable results of family dysfunction with random fate, gracefully weaving the three stories into a denouement that taps into collective wishful thinking and suggests that warmth and safety may be found in the aftermath of blood and abandonment. Atkinson's meaty, satisfying prose will attract many eager readers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Like Donna Tartt in The Little Friend (2002), 1995 Whitbread winner Atkinson (Behind the Scenes at the Museum) here combines a compelling narrative drive with sophisticated psychological portraits and telling detail. Artfully exploiting the conventions of the detective novel while also sending them up, Atkinson gives us Jackson Brodie, the world's most empathic private eye, who seemingly channels his clients' grief while attempting to provide closure. Addicted to the plaintive songs of female country-and-western singers and heartsick over the breakup of his marriage and his separation from his daughter, Jackson becomes friend and confidant to the people who seek his aid. One of his cases involves the florid, bickering Land sisters, who, after cleaning out their father's house upon his death, are stunned to find the bedraggled blue bunny that was their sister's most prized possession before she went missing 30 years ago. Another case concerns lonely, obese Theo, who, out of concern for his daughter's safety, insisted that she work in his law office rather than as a bartender, only to find that he put her directly in harm's way. As Jackson methodically tracks down decades-old clues, Atkinson employs omniscient narration to step in and out of crime scenes both past and present. Playful humor, an impressive technique, and an offbeat detective with a penchant for weeping are the most obvious pleasures of a page-turner that succeeds in being both brainy and thoroughly entertaining. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1546 KB
  • Print Length: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (Oct. 15 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000SEI07S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Jan 1st, 2006 - I just finished the last page of this amazing novel a few minutes ago and was compelled to post a review immediately. I was quite surprised to find the review section for this novel on the site "empty" - though I strongly suspect a visit to the site would reveal numerous five-star write-ups.
We were convinced to order the book just a few weeks ago when Stephen King recommended this novel as the number one read of the year in his year-end Entertainment Weekly column. Although I have become a bit skeptical of Mr. King's opinions recently - he was bang-on on this one!
This tightly crafted, superbly written British novel is a gripping mystery (or rather set of mysterIES), a touching heart-wrenching collection of "case histories" of violent and tragic loss (that hits particularly hard for any parent), and an amazing mix of suspense, drama, comic relief and tragedy. The editorial summary on this page is sufficent to give you an overview of the plot so I won't waste time. To say too much of the story might rob readers of the sheer joy of discovering this novel, and it's complex web of interlocking stories, so I'll say nothing other than that the stories intertwined within the novel are gripping and compelling.
Ms. Atkinson has written an incredible novel which left me amazed at the brilliance of the endings (and there are a number). A Warning - find yourself the necessary time and isolated space to sequester yourself away in order that you might savour the last sixty pages of this book in un-disturbed peace - and the time necessary afterwards to then tell all your friends about this book.
The best novel of 2005 for me was the last novel I read this year - "Case Histories" is wonderful.
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By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 14 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one intricate and plot driven novel.

Three crimes that happened years earlier (cold cases) are been looked into by newly hired private investigator, Jackson Brodie.

Mysteries surround each of the cases and in all of them those left behind have clearly been damaged by the experience. Ms Atkinson weaves a complicated tapestry in telling these diverse stories. She jumps from past to present and from case to case and inevitably overlaps the same story, telling it differently, a literary maze, leaving you wondering if everything will ever come together.

Although the stories are compelling enough, they have too many details and characters making it hard to follow everything. Several scenes lacked credibility; they appear to be written to please a soap opera audience not a mystery novel aficionado. The novel left me unsatisfied. On the up side, Ms Atkinson has a unique style of writing; her prose is lively with razor-sharp observations, wry phrases and black humour. It takes adjustment to appreciate this author, I must say after reading two novels I am still trying to adjust...
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A 'couldn't put it down book.' Amusing, engaged the reader with fast moving action, with a real twist at the end. My husband enjoyed it, too and we don't usually read the same books, so should appeal to a wide audience.
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By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on April 24 2009
Format: Audio CD
You know, I've heard nothing but great reviews about Kate Atkinson's works, but just haven't gotten around to reading one yet - until now. Boy, I've been missing an absolutely fantastic mystery author!
Case Histories opens with three different crime cases from the past being presented, each described in great detail up to the moment of the actual crime taking place. The background is fascinating - the feelings, emotions and background that lead up to that point.

We then meet Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator. He is hired to investigate all three of these case histories. As he delves deeper into each one, tiny threads connect one case to the other. Atkinson does a magnificent job of carefully weaving all these seemingly disparate threads together into a deliciously intricate, detailed plot. Many times the same scene is replayed from a different character's viewpoint, completely changing it. Three quarters of the way through I still hadn't figured it all out.

I actually listened to Case Histories in audio format. The reader, Susan Jameson, was excellent. This book is set in England and her accent was perfectly suited. Her inflections brought the words and tone to life, expressing incredulity, sadness, despair and a host of other emotions easily.

Atkinson slyly throws in a seemingly innocuous line or comment that proves germane to the outcome, so you'll want to listen or read carefully. Definitely an author I'll be following from here forward!
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The abduction of a three year old child from her backyard in the middle of the night.

The murder of a young woman in her father's law office.

The murder of a husband by his wife in front of their infant daughter.

Each case is horrific enough on its own, now thirty years after the occurance of the first, all three have come to the attention of ex-police inspector Jackson Brodie.

For the life of me, I couldn't imagine how author Kate Atkinson was going to pull these stories together. The only thing they seemed to have in common, was the grief of the victims' families.

I enjoyed the back and forth arguing and sisterly concern/love between Julia and Amelia. It was obvious that the two had never got over the abduction of their youngest sister and that they truly did imagine her living her life somewhere safe.

Retire lawyer Theo Wyre is a father torn by grief. I can't imagine what a parent would go through at the lose of a child in such a traumatic manner. I found his character intriguing. He would feed his daughters the healthiest of foods, yet comsume huge quantities of very fatty foods himself. He knew he should exercise, yet would cheat and take a taxi. So real.

This story would have been nothing without Jackson Brodie, ex-Police Inspector turned Private Investigator. His life is a mess, divorced, small business that is possibly failing, lack of a love life, and now 3 clients who want him to solve the seemingly impossible. oh yeah, and then there is his very first client, Binky Rains, a slightly nutty old lady who constantly calls Jackson to find her supposedly missing cats. She really didn't do anything active in this story, but as a passive participant she was invaluable.

This mystery will keep you guessing right to the final pages. I look forward to reading about the next cases of Jackson Brodie in 'One Good Turn'.
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