Case Histories (Jackson Brodie Series #1)

Case Histories (Jackson Brodie Series #1)

3.5 382
by Kate Atkinson
     
 

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A triumphant new novel from award-winner Kate Atkinson: a breathtaking story of families divided, love lost and found, and the mysteries of fate.

Case One: Olivia Land, youngest and most beloved of the Land girls, goes missing in the night and is never seen again. Thirty years later, two of her surviving sisters unearth a shocking clue to Olivia's disappearance

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Overview

A triumphant new novel from award-winner Kate Atkinson: a breathtaking story of families divided, love lost and found, and the mysteries of fate.

Case One: Olivia Land, youngest and most beloved of the Land girls, goes missing in the night and is never seen again. Thirty years later, two of her surviving sisters unearth a shocking clue to Olivia's disappearance among the clutter of their childhood home. . .

Case Two: Theo delights in his daughter Laura's wit, effortless beauty, and selfless love. But her first day as an associate in his law firm is also the day when Theo's world turns upside down. . .

Case Three: Michelle looks around one day and finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making. A very needy baby and a very demanding husband make her every waking moment a reminder that somewhere, somehow, she'd made a grave mistake and would spend the rest of her life paying for it--until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

As Private Detective Jackson Brodie investigates all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge. Inextricably caught up in his clients grief, joy, and desire, Jackson finds their unshakable need for resolution very much like his own.

Kate Atkinson's celebrated talent makes for a novel that positively sparkles with surprise, comedy, tragedy, and constant, page-turning delight.

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Editorial Reviews

Jacqueline Carey
Certain characters are the stock in trade of detective novels: innocent female murder victims, embittered spinsters, wives with secrets, teenage runaways, sexy old actresses and men who feel driven to try, over and over, to protect or avenge the downtrodden. Kate Atkinson's latest novel contains all these characters, which might suggest it's just another variation on a host of well-worn themes -- but, amazingly enough, this cast, as familiar as it is, still has the power to ensnare us. In fact, Case Histories is so exuberant, so empathetic, that it makes most murder-mystery page-turners feel as lifeless as the corpses they're strewn with.
The New York Times Sunday Book Review
Janet Maslin
… the lifelike characters in Case Histories are what make it such a compelling hybrid: part complex family drama, part mystery. It winds up having more depth and vividness than ordinary thrillers and more thrills than ordinary fiction, with a constant awareness of perils swirling beneath its surface.
— The New York Times
Jeff Turrentine
Breaking detective-thriller form, Case Histories is told from multiple points of view, reducing the burden on Jackson to "solve" the crimes for us and letting each character bloom in the light of the author's sharp, observant prose. That's something that the genre's hard-boiled forefathers would never have done; for them, the ratiocinative novel was a one-man job, and sympathetic characters just gummed up the works. Kate Atkinson, though, seems to have intuited that the most compelling mystery of all isn't necessarily whodunit, but rather howtodealwithit.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Private detective Jackson Brodie finds himself entangled in three distinctly different cases only to thread the needle time and again and come across remarkable connections between them. Susan Jameson delivers an absolutely stunning performance; her classically trained voice is perfect for Atkinson's prose and the shifting point-of-view narration. Though the lead protagonist is male, listeners will never question Jameson's abilities; she brings raw emotion to this tale and her British dialect also gives the story a vintage mystery feel. As Brodie, Jameson is simply flawless, delivering her words firmly and with resoluteness. Hers is a performance that demands repeated listens. A Back Bay paperback (Reviews, Oct. 25, 2004). (Sept.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Edinburgh resident Atkinson has been touted for her clever subversion of the standard family saga (the Whitbread Prize-winning Behind the Scenes at the Museum), as well as her playful parody and magic realism (Not the End of the World). Now she turns her deft hand to the hard-boiled detective genre and wreaks a similarly wonderful havoc. Cambridge P.I. and Francophile Jackson Brodie serves as the link among three interwoven tales. Red herrings abound as Jackson plows through the sad cases of a missing toddler, a young woman brutally killed while temping at her father's law firm, and an overwrought mother driven to ax murder. The relatives of the victims, Jackson's motley clientele, prove to be alternatively pitiable and hilarious but always painfully human. Superfluous plot elements involving attempts on Brodie's life and the running commentary on Brodie's musical tastes may lead to comparisons with Ian Rankin's Inspector John Rebus series, but only briefly, for this is a very new world of old crimes. Recommended for larger fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/04.] Jenn B. Stidham, Harris Cty. P.L., Houston Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
After two self-indulgent detours, Atkinson proves that her Whitbread Award-winning debut, Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1996), was no fluke with a novel about three interconnected mysteries. They seem totally unrelated at first to private detective Jackson Brodie, hired by separate individuals in Cambridge, England, to investigate long-dormant cases. Three-year-old Olivia Land disappeared from a tent in her family's backyard in 1970; 34 years later, her sisters Amelia and Julia discover Olivia's stuffed toy in their recently deceased father's study and want Jackson to find out what he had to do with the disappearance. Theo Wyre's beloved 18-year-old daughter Laura was murdered by a knife-wielding lunatic in 1994, and he too hires Jackson to crack this unsolved murder. Michelle was also 18 when she went to jail in 1979 for killing her husband with an ax while their infant daughter wailed in the playpen; she vanished after serving her time, but Shirley Morrison asks Jackson to find, not her sister Michelle, but the niece she promised to raise, then was forced to hand over to grandparents. The detective, whose bitter ex-wife uses Jackson's profound love for their eight-year-old daughter to torture him, finds all these stories of dead and/or missing girls extremely unsettling; we learn toward the end why the subject of young women in peril is particularly painful for him. Atkinson has always been a gripping storyteller, and her complicated narrative crackles with the earthy humor, vibrant characterizations, and shrewd social observations that enlivened her first novel but were largely swamped by postmodern game-playing in Human Croquet (1997) and Emotionally Weird (2000). Here, she craftsa compulsive page-turner that looks deep into the heart of sadness, cruelty, and loss, yet ultimately grants her charming p.i. (and most of the other appealingly offbeat characters, including one killer) a chance at happiness and some measure of reconciliation with the past. Wonderful fun and very moving: it's a pleasure to see this talented writer back on form. Agent: Peter Straus/Rogers, Coleridge & White
Stephen King
Not just the best novel I read this year, but the best mystery of the decade. . . . I defy any reader not to feel a combination of delight and amazement.
Entertainment Weekly
Leslie McGill
One of the most enjoyable books in a long time.
Kansas City Star
Elisabeth Egan
CASE HISTORIES combines the suspense of a whodunit with the richly textured plot of a sprawling family saga. The result is top-notch literature - an unforgettable, unclassifiable read.
Chicago Sun-Times
Jacqueline Carey - New York Times Book Review
"CASE HISTORIES is so exuberant, so empathetic, that it makes most murder-mystery page-turners feel as lifeless as the corpses they're strewn with."
Leslie McGill - Kansas City Star
"One of the most enjoyable books in a long time."
Elisabeth Egan - Chicago Sun-Times
"CASE HISTORIES combines the suspense of a whodunit with the richly textured plot of a sprawling family saga. The result is top-notch literature - an unforgettable, unclassifiable read."
Janet Maslin - New York Times
"Grabs hold of the reader and doesn't let go. . . . CASE HISTORIES winds up having more depth and vividness than ordinary thrillers and more thrills than ordinary fiction."
Stephen King - Entertainment Weekly
"Not just the best novel I read this year, but the best mystery of the decade. . . . I defy any reader not to feel a combination of delight and amazement."
From the Publisher
"Not just the best novel I read this year, but the best mystery of the decade. . . . I defy any reader not to feel a combination of delight and amazement."—Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly"

Grabs hold of the reader and doesn't let go. . . . CASE HISTORIES winds up having more depth and vividness than ordinary thrillers and more thrills than ordinary fiction."—Janet Maslin, New York Times"

One of the most enjoyable books in a long time."—Leslie McGill, Kansas City Star"

CASE HISTORIES is so exuberant, so empathetic, that it makes most murder-mystery page-turners feel as lifeless as the corpses they're strewn with."—Jacqueline Carey, New York Times Book Review"

CASE HISTORIES combines the suspense of a whodunit with the richly textured plot of a sprawling family saga. The result is top-notch literature - an unforgettable, unclassifiable read."—Elisabeth Egan, Chicago Sun-Times"

Susan Jameson delivers an absolutely stunning performance.... As Brodie, Jameson is simply flawless.... Hers is a performance that demands repeated listens."—Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781843956853
Publisher:
Thorpe, F. A. Publishers
Publication date:
01/28/2005
Series:
Jackson Brodie Series, #1
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
410
Product dimensions:
5.88(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.11(d)

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