Thursday, October 12, 2017

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

Private detective Jackson Brodie is surrounded by missing or killed young women as he ponders the meaning of being a father and as his ex-wife threatens to take his eight year old daughter to another country.  All his cases at the moment revolve around this theme.

Several decades ago, three year old Olivia disappeared from her back yard where she was sleeping outside in a tent with her sister.  No real clues were ever found.  Now surviving sisters Amelia and Julia have come home to bury their father and uncover a clue that they believe Jackson can use to discover what happened to Olivia all those years ago.

Laura was a young woman who was about to head off to college.  Her last summer home she is to work in her father's office but is brutally killed her first day on the job.  She was the joy of her father's life and even ten years later, he is determined to find the killer and turns to Jackson.

A young woman marries too early at eighteen and has a baby.  Being a perfectionist, she is quickly overwhelmed with no help and a touch of postpartum depression.  In a fit of rage one day, she kills her husband, leaving the baby to go to uncaring relatives.  That girl ran away and is now missing but her sister wants Jackson to track her down. 

In the midst of all these cases, Jackson helps an old lady who keeps lots of cats as she has no one else to call on.  She is a neighbor of the family of Olivia, the missing toddler.  Can Jackson solve the mysteries surrounding all these women?

This is the first novel in the Jackson Brodie case.  Jackson is a former military man and policeman who is kind but can't seem to figure out women or how to live with them.  He has a tormented childhood history himself that has focused his life choices and made him realize how valuable life is and how quickly it can be snatched away.  He is an interesting character and the reader will want to read more about him.  This book is recommended for both mystery and literary fiction readers.

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