Thursday, June 13, 2013

case histories

Investigator Jackson Brodie has been hired to look into three separate cases:

#1- In 1970, a very young girl, Olivia Land, disappears in the middle of the night. 

#2- In 1979, a single father's beloved daughter Laura is stabbed at her new job by a man in a yellow sweater.

#3- In 1997, an overwhelmed young mother reaches her breaking point, with nightmarish results.

My expectations were high for this and while I did still enjoy Atkinson's writing (and look forward to reading more), the plot really lost me. We start with those three case histories, which are very intriguing and mysterious. I was immediately excited to get lost in the cases (and couldn't help but think of Gillian Flynn, whose books I've been reading and loving lately). But then Atkinson started to lose me. We spend a lot of time in the minutia of everyday life, following Jackson's troubles with his ex-wife and daughter, Olivia's sister and her unhappiness, a puzzling woman named Caroline who lives in the country, and others. We don't really get a chance to delve into the mysteries. Very few details come to light, making it impossible for readers to solve the cases by picking up clues. And after (mostly) just following the various characters and their struggles, the book ends by going back to the case histories and explaining what happened. While I was really relieved that we did get to hear those nitty gritty details at some point (I hate when mystery stories are left unsolved!), there wasn't a sufficient build-up to the big reveal.

TITLE: Case Histories

AUTHOR: Kate Atkinson
PUBLICATION DATE: 17 October 2005
DATE FINISHED: 1 June 2013
VERDICT: 3/5 stars. Just disappointing. But since I'm still excited to read more of Atkinson (and am kind of considering reading Jackson Brodie #2- One Good Turn), it wasn't a complete botch.

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