Kate Atkinson is an author I discovered quite late - so when I finally found her I went about reading almost everything of hers I could get my hands on - then I had to wait for what felt like ages for her new book, Started Early, Took My Dog, to be released.
Started Early, Took My Dog is Atkinson's latest book with ex-police officer, current private detective Jackson Brodie as one of the main characters. Each of these books could really be read exclusively in any order but I think you would miss out on so much of the back story and character development if you did this - reading these books "in order" would be the best way to go.
This latest story finds Brodie on the hunt in the UK for the true story and parentage of a woman now living with her own young family in New Zealand. It's a job he is not particularly keen on but in true Jackson Brodie style he finds himself in the midst of it anyway - along with some other complications and characters.
Brodie's story and work becomes intertwined with middle aged security chief (also an ex-police officer) Tracy Waterhouse who, finding herself with an almost unheard of opportunity in the middle of a shopping centre one day, takes the opportunity and changes the whole course of her life and the story to come. There is also Tilly, an elderly and flailing actress whose own story and memories give life and direction to the outcome of Started Early, Took My Dog.
Atkinson is a brilliant writer but I think her biggest talent is being able to weave and build a particular story (or stories) to breaking point in a way that just makes you want to keep reading and reading. Each character is full and rich but it is the way their stories combine that makes this a special read. My only sadness is that I will now have to wait an age for her next book to be released!