A day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a shocking impulse purchase. That one moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy's humdrum world to be turned upside down, the tedium of everyday life replaced by fear and danger at every turn.
Witnesses to Tracy's outrageous exchange in the Merrion Centre in Leeds are Tilly, an elderly actress teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie who has returned to his home county in search of someone else's roots. All three characters learn that the past is never history and that no good deed goes unpunished.
Kate Atkinson dovetails and counterpoints her plots with Dickensian brilliance in a tale peopled with unlikely heroes and villains . Started Early, Took My Dog is freighted with wit, wisdom and a fierce moral intelligence. It confirms Kate Atkinson's position as one of the great writers of our time.
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Crime has given Atkinson the freedom to write an ambitious, panoramic work, full of excitement, colour and compassion - Sunday Times
Atkinson's finest novel to date. Indeed, it's one of the finest British novels, in any genre, to have emerged for years...sharp and dexterous, subtle and stylish, very funny and at time extraordinarily cutting...This is very much a state of the nation novel - far sharper and more observant and satirically understanding than anything else out there at the moment. And yet Atkinson also gives us humanity, insight and entertainment...a story that deserves to be read for decades to come - Mirror
The wonder of Atkinson's novels has been their joie de vivre, extraordinary given the high incidence of violent death. An irrepressible exuberance shines throughout..folds past and present together with Atkinson's customary flair...extraordinary combination of wit, plain-speaking, tenderness and control - Guardian
As ever, Atkinson's prose is diamond-cut to twinkle and slice by turns. Her playful sense of humour dances round the darkness of her themes. She skips through the difficult steps required to balance the reader's need for satisfying (and surprising) resolution with a realist's view of human nature and the messiness of real-life criminality - Daily Telegraph
A wonderful stylist...but she was never confined to the crime genre, has written in assorted other modes and excels at them all. Whatever she goes on to write, she leaves Jackson Brodie at a suspenseful and pivotal moment. Future installments are well worth waiting for - New York Times
I can't think why it has taken me so long to discover Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie novels. Started Early, Took My Dog is the fourth and is so brilliant that I rushed out and bought the previous three. Lauded for her literary fiction, Atkinson has taken to writing crime with ease, skilfully weaving the lives of three characters into a complex tale of murder, child abduction and corruption - Daily Express
Accept Atkinson's vision; enjoy, admire, laugh and be moved...Atkinson is witty and satirical of modern mores; she is a virtuoso of dialogue - The Times
The fourth Jackson Brodie book, Atkinson's unlikely but utterly addictive detective...If only more literary authors could turn their hands to readable, commercial fiction with such elegance and verve - Red
My friends queue up to borrow advance copies of Kate Atkinson's books...The book is full of allusions, illusions and conclusions about life, the universe and everything...original and amusing - Literary Review
Started Early builds into a state-of-the-nation novel that delicately balances bleak cynicism and affecting humour...She's also not averse to having fun with the genre she's adopted - her affectionate swipe at TV detective series is even funnier since the announcement of a BBC adaptation of previous Brodie novel Case Histories - Metro
Manages to sashay a fine line between comedy and tragedy, malignancy and lightness of touch...A stellar cast, the sophisticated plotting we've come to expect, and an incendiary denouement...hypnotic, compulsive reading, the result more bright fine lines of literary cocaine from Kate Atkinson - Scotland on Sunday
A funny, savvy, surprising sort of writer - Psychologies
Atkinson's detective novels capture the strangeness of modern times, and our supposedly atomised lives, with spiky wit, emotional intelligence and consummate cleverness...Above all, they scrutinise an England too few literary novelists seem to notice, or care about - Independent
Superbly suspenseful storytelling, weaves missing children, romantic trauma and professional misconduct into a riveting read - Sainsbury's magazine
Intricately plotted, mixing humour with pathos, and bubbling with ideas, this is a thriller with the momentum of a runaway train - Mail on Sunday
Reunites us with curmudgeonly private detective Jackson Brodie, who this time is sucked into a tale of child abduction, murder and police corruption. Atkinson's spiky wit, exuberance and delight in outlandish coincidence means a novel with pressing state-of-the-nation concerns also revels in a playful sense of whimsy - Metro
Another sharply observed piece of storytelling - Good Housekeeping (Book of the Month)
A delight: an intricate construction that assembles itself before the reader's eyes, populated by idiosyncratic, multidimensional characters and written with shrewd, mordant grace. They are in some respects mystery novels, but they're written with a literary skill uncommon in that genre, and in a mode - the tragicomic - that few but the most adept novelists can pull off in any genre - Salon.com
Some authors inspire mild interest; others complete devotion. Kate is defnitely one of the latter.... a dazzlingly plotted, un-put-downable read - Grazia
Kate Atkinson has created a crime fiction sub-genre of which she is the only member...Poignant, funny, surreal...totally entertaining - The Times
Kate Atkinson'sStarted Early, Took My Dog is the fourth novel to feature the former private detective Jackson Brodie, after Case Histories, One Good Turn and When Will There Be Good News? (voted Richard & Judy Best Read of the Year). The first three Brodie novels were adapted into a successful BBC TV series starring Jason Isaacs. Kate won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize for her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since. She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List.