Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
“Case Histories” is the first in Atkinson’s series of Jackson Brodie books. Brodie is a private detective who, in “Case Histories” is investigating three separate cases, while trying to deal with his daughter, ex-wife, and the fact that someone seems to be trying to kill him.
The fact that all three of Brodie’s cases deal with vulnerable young women makes him more and more conscious of his daughter, which really added a lot of depth to the story for me. The first two cases are very compelling: the young beloved girl who disappears one summer night from the tent she was sharing with an older sister in the backyard, the promising young woman who was murdered by a knife-wielding maniac in her father’s law office while he’s out at a meeting. The final case, the young woman who is stressed out by her life as a very young mother and wife who kills her husband, starts out promising, but ends up much less compelling. It really didn’t connect with the other stories in any super meaningful way, in my opinion. I think a re-evaluation or omition of the third case history would have made the book stronger.
It took me quite a while to get into this book, a fact I blame on the audio. I did eventually enjoy it, but I think this book is better suited to paper than to audio. Before I familiarized myself completely with the cast of characters I found myself wanting to flip back to remind myself who was who (for some reason the names Olivia and Caroline kept flipping in my head and if there was only a brief mention of one of these women I had a hard time remembering which one she was). Obviously a hard copy of the book would have been a bit more conducive to that.
I would definitely read another one of Kate Atkinson’s books. I thought it was well-written (aside from the fact I wasn’t impressed with the third case history) and the story as a whole worked for me. Next time, though, I think I’ll skip the audio in favor of a book.