A review of Started Early, Took My Dog, by Kate Atkinson
@@@ (3 out of 5)
You can tell from the title that this award-winning author is reaching for another prize with this well-written crime novel. Once you find yourself immersed in the story, you know that for a fact. Although Started Early, Took My Dog, is from one perspective a mystery story, though one that’s hardly simple, it’s clear from the mellifluous prose and the unsparing depiction of its characters that this book strives to be Literature and transcend the boundaries of the genre.
Unfortunately, though I remained fully engrossed through a good two-thirds of the novel, I found as I (figuratively) turned its last pages on my Kindle that I was deeply unsatisfied. Sophocles and Aeschylus may have looked kindly on this literary effort, but I found the overuse of coincidences at the base of the plot to be downright annoying. Though coincidence may be at the root of much dramatic literature, it gets in the way of a good story. And Started Early, Took My Dog, could have been a very good story.
This is the fourth of Kate Atkinson’s novels featuring former police inspector and later private investigator Jackson Brodie. First came Case Histories (2004), followed by One Good Turn (2006) and When Will There Be Good News (2008). The others were better.