Monday, April 23, 2012

#13: Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

A retired British policeman impulsively buys a child from a drug addict; a sometime private eye rescues a dog from an abusive man at a park; and an elderly actress struggles with dementia while co-starring on a hit detective show; how these stories cross, loop back, and fold in on each other forms the heart of Started Early, Took My Dog.

I picked this up on a whim from the Farmland Public Library based on the title alone, having never heard of Kate Atkinson.  I found a rewarding, complex mystery that may be one of my favorites of the year.

The story picks up threads of the notorious Manchester Ripper case of the 70s and reaches all the way to contemporary times, following the life arcs of many complicated, fully-realized characters, including tarnished cops and well-meaning criminals.  The diverse storylines, which include a humorous running background thread about a cheesy cop show, are very nicely tied up at the end.

I listened to this via a good audio book rendition I borrowed from the Farmland Public Library.

Atkinson is a fine literary writer with all of the requisite beats for mystery fans.  Recommended. 

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