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Case Histories: A Novel by Kate Atkinson

Case Histories: A Novel (original 2004; edition 2005)

by Kate Atkinson (Author)

Series: Jackson Brodie (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,941319911 (3.79)908
Private detective Jackson Brodie finds his own need for resolution sparked by three investigations, including that of two sisters who discover a shocking clue to the disappearance of their third sister thirty years earlier.
Title:Case Histories: A Novel
Authors:Kate Atkinson (Author)
Info:Back Bay Books (2005), 336 pages
Collections:Nancy's library

Work details

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (2004)

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» See also 908 mentions

English (305)  French (4)  Dutch (3)  German (2)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  All languages (317)
Showing 1-5 of 305 (next | show all)
I went back and forth on this one. I think in the end that one of the story-lines that we get introduced to ends up making no sense and was just used to introduce a character who would become important later. Two of the case histories I thought were done very well. That said, I ended up not liking a good portion of the characters we meet except for Jackson and Theo. Everyone else...eh. I also don't know if I liked the ending that much either. The pacing of the book was so slow too. Since we kept coming back certain cases and people you just didn't get for a while what was going on.

"Case Histories" follows three cases that will be important later. Case 1 has a family on the brink of disaster it seems (the Lands) the youngest Land, Olivia, is beloved by all and then one day she disappears. Case 2 follows a man who loves his daughter Laura to distraction. However, tragedy occurs and he is left a decade later to mourn her. Case 3 has a wife who in a fit of fury takes an ax to her husband.

Then the book moves onto Jackson Brody. A retired police officer, Jackson is now a private investigator. He barely seems to make any money though and mostly sits around feeling angry that his ex-wife left him for another man. He wants his life back the way it used to be, but doesn't see that happening. Jackson has a demanding client (who never pays) that wants him looking into her disappearing cats, Theo who wants to find the man who murdered his daughter, and then the older Land sisters who find a clue about what may have happened to their sister who want Jackson to investigate.

Atkinson follows what I would consider the primary characters in third person POV Jackson, Amelia Land, Theo, and a woman named Caroline. I don't know if I have much to say besides Jackson apparently wants to do good things, but seems to be a terrible private investigator. Ameila Land is obsessed with her sister's sexuality (Julia) and finds herself attracted to Jackson. Too bad Jackson finds her not attractive and finds himself thinking about Julia. Theo feels badly that he doesn't love his remaining daughter as much as the one that is lost to him. He can't let go of finding out who the man was that killed her. Caroline seems weird at first and you don't tie into who she is until almost the end.

The writing was fine, it just felt like the big as flip flopping back and forth to everyone too much. I just wanted to stay with Jackson and didn't want to keep seguing back to Amelia, Theo, and Caroline every other chapter. Also some of the characters I just didn't like such as Caroline. I initially was not too impressed with Jackson until Atkinson reveals his case history. Then I felt really sorry for him. And I ended up dislking his ex-wife everytime she popped up in the book. One wonders how are things going to be now with how Jackson's life is changed at the end of this book. I did end up liking Theo the best of the characters and felt indifferent towards Amelia.

The book setting changes several times over. Case 1 takes place in the 70s, I think case 2 was the 90s and case 3 was the 80s. Then we are back in the present day with Jackson investigating or mostly obsessing over his ex and worrying about his 8 year old daughter.

The ending for some of the cases was good I thought. One was confusing and disappointing to me. I also thought that the ending for Jackson danced on the absurd and I am curious on how the rest of the series is supposed to go. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
I really wanted to love this book but I never cared enough about the characters and the plots. I saw at least one twist coming from miles away, and another twist just didn't make any sense because it involved a character we (the reader) hadn't been introduced to. I liked Jackson and Marlee, but fought to stay engaged with the others. Overall, not a great read. ( )
1 vote bookishtexpat | May 21, 2020 |
Atkinson is a new author to me and I did like the author's portrayal of Jackson Brodie. I was confused about the lack of continuity until near the end. Even then, some of the intertwining stories seemed disjointed and unfinished ~ a sense of but happened next? The premise for the Jackson Brodie series is sound, so I hope book 2 is better. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Apr 30, 2020 |
A gem. Jackson Brodie has only mildly improbably things happen to him like his house exploding and inheriting a fortune wait scratch that. And he gets knocked unconscious as usual. And hooks up with the wrong woman as usual. There's a little internal puzzle, everyone interconnects, it's all very satisfying. ( )
  adzebill | Mar 9, 2020 |
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson introduces us to private investigator Jackson Brodie. Through luck and serendipity, Brodie ends up with three cases to investigate that are quite unusual. Some might even say unsolvable. Following the death of their father, sisters Julia and Amelia press Jackson to try and find what happened to their sister Olivia, missing some thirty years. Theo Wyre's daughter was murdered a decade in the past, the case long gone cold. Twenty years ago a young housewife unable to cope with a colicky child and an unsupportive husband snaps one day. The aftermath leaves a child orphaned for all intents and purposes. On top of this, Brodie is dealing with his precocious daughter Marlee, his ex- wife's new beau, and one godsawful toothache.

Each of these cases are linked with delicious hints of synchronicity. I loved that! Jackson really seemed to stumble upon these things like providence (or a curse). He's persistent and dedicated once he turns his mind to a case, though he tried many times to impress upon the 'clients' that the task is likely futile, especially since two are cold cases.

I adored Brodie! He has a good heart, and wants to help people. Yet he's gruff, standoffish at times, and clearly flawed. It hurt to see him going through the states of grief when it came to finding acceptance that his daughter was being moved to New Zealand. He might have some interesting parenting notions, but he's a good da and doesn't deserve to go through that! I know, things happen, but still…

Of the three cases, the most interesting to me was the missing little girl. The story behind that, the childhood four sisters shared, and the truth of Olivia's fate was heart-breakingly believable. All of the cases felt so to me, as did the synchronicity leading to their being solved. Cold cases can be like that. It's often luck, serendipity, and synchronicity that lead to them being resolved. I loved this book and I'm definitely going to continue the series!

****This book was purchased and read for my own enjoyment ( )
  PardaMustang | Feb 26, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 305 (next | show all)
We have a woman who once thought she was marrying a “great mathematician” but now finds herself—a mother of four daughters and pregnant again—wondering what her glowering husband “would look like when he was dead.”
Atkinson has always been a gripping storyteller, and her complicated narrative crackles with the earthy humor, vibrant characterizations, and shrewd social observations that enlivened her first novel but were largely swamped by postmodern game-playing in Human Croquet (1997) and Emotionally Weird (2000).

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atkinson, Kateprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arduini, Adasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Isaacs, JasonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jameson, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
For Anne McIntyre
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How lucky were they? A heat wave in the middle of the school holidays, exactly where it belonged.
She should have done science, not spent all her time with her head in novels. Novels gave you a completely false idea about life, they told lies and they implied there were endings when in reality there were no endings, everything just went on and on and on.
It wasn't that [he] believed in religion, or a God, or an afterlife. He just knew it was impossible to feel this much love and for it to end.
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Olivia Land, youngest and most beloved of the Land girls, goes missing in the night and is never seen again. More than thirty years later, two of her surviving sisters, each achingly lonely in her own way, reunite when their cruel and distant father dies. There, among the clutter of their childhood home, they unearth a shocking clue to Olivia's disappearance.

All of Theo's happiness is tied to his devoted daughter Laura. He delights in her wit, her effortless beauty, and her selfless love, and in the fact that she's taken a position at his prestigious law firm. But on her first day on the job, a maniac storms into the office and turns Theo's entire world upside down.

Michelle looks around one day and finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making. A very needy baby and a very demanding husband make her every waking moment a reminder that somewhere, somehow, she made a grave mistake and will spend the rest of her life paying for it — until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

As private detective Jackson Brodie investigates all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge. Jackson finds himself inextricably caught up in his clients' lives — their grief, their joy, their desire, and their unshakable need for resolution are very much like his own.

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