Book Review: Case Histories: A Novel, by Kate Atkinson

casehistoriesCase one: A little girl goes missing in the night.

Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac’s apparently random attack.

Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making – with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband – until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge .

A child gets abducted from a tent during a long hot summer in the 1970s. A woman kills her husband in a fit of post partum depression leaving her child with her parents as she reinvents herself. A teenager is attacked in the office of her father as she works as a temp.

Spread over 30 years and mixed timelines, this is an interestingly written story where all the strands come together in the end. Jackson is not the only damaged person in the book, with all characters having their own story. Timelines chop and change, going back to the 1970s and into recent history, with parts of the already told story being told again from another person’s perspective.

Most of the time it’s not immediately apparent why characters turn up in the story, but over the course of the book it becomes more clear.

The story of the teenager’s killer comes a little fast and late in the story, although Jackson knows the identity about 2 chapters earlier. I’m not sure whether Caroline’s story was truly fulfilling, and therefore whether there should have been more or less of it.

Overall a cleverly written book, whose plus points outweigh any of the minor negative points


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