Customer Reviews for

Case Histories (Jackson Brodie Series #1)

Average Rating 3.5
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(91)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

loved it.

this was a great read! i just finished it. portions of this book were so heartbreaking that i found them difficult to read-- but as a whole, the book was entirely rewarding. i was sort of obsessed with this book while i was reading it. i, too, couldn't stop thin...
this was a great read! i just finished it. portions of this book were so heartbreaking that i found them difficult to read-- but as a whole, the book was entirely rewarding. i was sort of obsessed with this book while i was reading it. i, too, couldn't stop thinking about it. yes, it does have a lot of characters. there were a few times where i had to stop and think for a minute (or just charge through and wait to catch up)-- but i was able to keep track well enough to know what was going on. and i'm pretty dumb in that way.

posted by Anonymous on February 22, 2007

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Most Helpful Critical Review

18 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

That's It?

CASE HISTORIES is a novel about three murder mysteries erratically woven together. I bought the book at the recommendation of Stephen King. Yes, that Stephen King. In his column in Entertainment Weekly a couple of years ago, he named CASE HISTORIES as the best book of t...
CASE HISTORIES is a novel about three murder mysteries erratically woven together. I bought the book at the recommendation of Stephen King. Yes, that Stephen King. In his column in Entertainment Weekly a couple of years ago, he named CASE HISTORIES as the best book of the year. Perhaps I read it during the wrong year. The first few chapters of the novel introduce a new set of characters in each chapter, without tying them together -- haphazardly -- until much later. Their only connection seemingly being Jackson, a detective trying to solve each cold case crime. There were too many characters and names thrown at the reader to truly enjoy and get to know (or care about) any one of them. I recommend future readers grab a piece of paper and pen before sitting down to read CASE HISTORIES and draw family trees and connections so they know who's who and what time period they're in. It truly helped years ago when I read Truddi Chase's 100+ multiple personality account in When Rabbit Howls. Then again, that book held my interest. As I started to get to know the characters a little bit, the author would end the chapter and start anew with different characters. By the time I got to a second chapter with characters introduced several chapters back, I had already forgotten what their story was and how each interacted with one another. After several chapters like this, I was discouraged. A friend of mine told me to 'stick with it' because after she got through the muck, she got into the story much more. Sadly, I never reached that point. Like the 2007-2008 TV Season, I got interested in the new characters and then they were taken away from me (because of the writers' strike). I had to endure their absences and by the time they returned, I forgot why I liked them in the first place. As for Kate Atkinson's writing, it was reminiscent of Ellen DeGeneres' comic rambling...without the comedy. The author went off on tangents at every possible moment, as if we were leaping from one person's thoughts to another's. There wasn't a specific point of view in the book, as if Atkinson couldn't decide whose viewpoint to use. Another disappointment I found with Atkinson's writing is her account of the violence and murders. They were all written matter-of-factly. No drama, no suspense, no build-up. It was almost...textbook. This, too, made me unsympathetic toward the characters and their bonds with the victims. And when the mysteries were solved and truths revealed, they felt anticlimatic. The ideas were interesting, but they weren't fleshed out in the writing. The author mostly tells you what happened instead of showing it. All in all, although this wasn't the worst book I've read, I was very disappointed after investing in 300 pages. After too long of disinterest, when you finally reach something of interest, you can't muster up the enthusiasm to enjoy it. By then, you already feel cheated by the writer. 'That's it?' Jackson [asked]. 'No, of course it's not,' Amelia said. 'Now we have tea and cake.'

posted by Anonymous on April 4, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2008

    That's It?

    CASE HISTORIES is a novel about three murder mysteries erratically woven together. I bought the book at the recommendation of Stephen King. Yes, that Stephen King. In his column in Entertainment Weekly a couple of years ago, he named CASE HISTORIES as the best book of the year. Perhaps I read it during the wrong year. The first few chapters of the novel introduce a new set of characters in each chapter, without tying them together -- haphazardly -- until much later. Their only connection seemingly being Jackson, a detective trying to solve each cold case crime. There were too many characters and names thrown at the reader to truly enjoy and get to know (or care about) any one of them. I recommend future readers grab a piece of paper and pen before sitting down to read CASE HISTORIES and draw family trees and connections so they know who's who and what time period they're in. It truly helped years ago when I read Truddi Chase's 100+ multiple personality account in When Rabbit Howls. Then again, that book held my interest. As I started to get to know the characters a little bit, the author would end the chapter and start anew with different characters. By the time I got to a second chapter with characters introduced several chapters back, I had already forgotten what their story was and how each interacted with one another. After several chapters like this, I was discouraged. A friend of mine told me to 'stick with it' because after she got through the muck, she got into the story much more. Sadly, I never reached that point. Like the 2007-2008 TV Season, I got interested in the new characters and then they were taken away from me (because of the writers' strike). I had to endure their absences and by the time they returned, I forgot why I liked them in the first place. As for Kate Atkinson's writing, it was reminiscent of Ellen DeGeneres' comic rambling...without the comedy. The author went off on tangents at every possible moment, as if we were leaping from one person's thoughts to another's. There wasn't a specific point of view in the book, as if Atkinson couldn't decide whose viewpoint to use. Another disappointment I found with Atkinson's writing is her account of the violence and murders. They were all written matter-of-factly. No drama, no suspense, no build-up. It was almost...textbook. This, too, made me unsympathetic toward the characters and their bonds with the victims. And when the mysteries were solved and truths revealed, they felt anticlimatic. The ideas were interesting, but they weren't fleshed out in the writing. The author mostly tells you what happened instead of showing it. All in all, although this wasn't the worst book I've read, I was very disappointed after investing in 300 pages. After too long of disinterest, when you finally reach something of interest, you can't muster up the enthusiasm to enjoy it. By then, you already feel cheated by the writer. 'That's it?' Jackson [asked]. 'No, of course it's not,' Amelia said. 'Now we have tea and cake.'

    18 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 25, 2010

    Disappointing

    I almost never fail to finish a book, but it was very difficult at times to continue with this one. I found the storyline to be eratic, and at times quite difficult to follow. When the various pieces finally started to come together, this seemed rushed, as if the book couldn't go beyond a specified number of pages. In retrospect, the story of the book is interesting, but the eratic approach just didn't work, at least not for me.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    At first glance, Case Histories appears to be a collection of stand-alone stories but as the novel unfolds, they come together to form a very different kind of mystery.

    Often, I find mysteries to be a bit predictable in nature. For this reason, I typically steer clear of them. However, my book club picked Case Histories for this month and although it's definitely a mystery, it's sort of veiled in its delivery. Meaning, it doesn't hit you over the head with its mysterious-ness.

    Each case is, well.a tad shocking. Shocking in that these characters tend to think out loud and their observations and feelings over a particular person, place or thing are so honest that at times, you suck in a breath and say, "Wow."

    I believe the idea was to have the stories alternate, and then eventually mesh into one. This happens, but rather loosely. You aren't given all the details, but given enough to know what happens by the end of the novel. Although the result was a tad predictable, what happens within each case, is not.

    In the end, I'm not sure I liked how the cases came together. I almost like them better as stand-alone stories. As I read each case, I was left wondering about the people within them. As horrible as some of these characters are, I could easily relate to them. But given the entire situation, I lost the ability to relate to them. Well, some of them.

    As you can see, this review is a collection of my rambling thoughts because this reading experience left me rather antsy. It wasn't a short story collection but in my opinion it didn't really read like a novel either.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2008

    Not worth reading!

    Although this book was highly rated I found it very disappointing. The characters were not interesting or fully developed.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    That's It?

    CASE HISTORIES is a novel about three murder mysteries erratically woven together. I bought the book at the recommendation of Stephen King. Yes, that Stephen King. In his column in Entertainment Weekly a couple of years ago, he named CASE HISTORIES as the best book of the year. Perhaps I read it during the wrong year.

    The first few chapters of the novel introduce a new set of characters in each chapter, without tying them together -- haphazardly -- until much later. Their only connection seemingly being Jackson, a detective trying to solve each cold case crime. There were too many characters and names thrown at the reader to truly enjoy and get to know (or care about) any one of them. I recommend future readers grab a piece of paper and pen before sitting down to read CASE HISTORIES and draw family trees and connections so they know who's who and what time period they're in. It truly helped years ago when I read Truddi Chase's 100+ multiple personality account in WHEN RABBIT HOWLS. Then again, that book held my interest.

    As I started to get to know the characters a little bit, the author would end the chapter and start anew with different characters. By the time I got to a second chapter with characters introduced several chapters back, I had already forgotten what their story was and how each interacted with one another. After several chapters like this, I was discouraged. A friend of mine told me to "stick with it" because after she got through the muck, she got into the story much more. Sadly, I never reached that point. Like TV Seasons, I get interested in the new characters and then they are taken away from me. I endure their absences and by the time they return, I forgot why I liked them in the first place.

    As for Kate Atkinson's writing, it was reminiscent of Ellen DeGeneres' comic rambling...without the comedy. The author went off on tangents at every possible moment, as if we were leaping from one person's thoughts to another's. There wasn't a specific point of view in the book, as if Atkinson couldn't decide whose viewpoint to use.

    Another disappointment I found with Atkinson's writing is her account of the violence and murders. They were all written matter-of-factly. No drama, no suspense, no build-up. It was almost...textbook. This, too, made me unsympathetic toward the characters and their bonds with the victims. And when the mysteries were solved and truths revealed, they felt anticlimatic. The ideas were interesting, but they weren't fleshed out in the writing. The author mostly tells you what happened instead of showing it.

    All in all, although this wasn't the worst book I've read, I was very disappointed after investing in 300 pages. After too long of disinterest, when you finally reach something of interest, you can't muster up the enthusiasm to enjoy it. By then, you already feel cheated by the writer.

    "That's it?" Jackson [asked].
    "No, of course it's not," Amelia said. "Now we have tea and cake."

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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