Intelligent and Utterly Compelling: Read an Extract from Big Sky by Kate Atkinson

Intelligent and Utterly Compelling: Read an Extract from Big Sky by Kate Atkinson

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A brilliant new literary crime novel from number one bestseller Kate Atkinson: Jackson Brodie makes a highly anticipated return.

In 2004, Kate Atkinson wrote the first Jackson Brodie novel, Case Histories. Stephen King called it, “The best mystery of the decade”. Three in the series followed with the last one published in 2010. Since then, Atkinson has concentrated on a number of novels set during the war, including Life After LifeA God in Ruins and Transcription. Now, nearly a decade since her last Brodie book, this wonderful character returns in Big Sky.

Here’s where I must admit to something – I’d never read a Jackson Brodie mystery prior to this. I’m not sure how this happened and, after reading Big Sky, this error will be rectified immediately with me playing catchup. However, you don’t need to be familiar with the series to read Big Sky. It reads as a stand-alone.

In Big Sky, former soldier and policeman, turned private investigator, Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village, so he can spend time with his son. It’s picturesque, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes.

Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, is fairly standard-issue, but a series of events leads him into the much darker territory of human trafficking.

There are many characters introduced early in the book, each with their own storyline that eventually weaves together to a masterful conclusion. Atkinson’s writing is taut, polished, often funny, often heartbreaking, always excellent. There are apparently appearances from characters that featured in earlier novels. Other richly drawn characters include Bunny an ageing drag queen, and Crystal, a client.

I personally loved Brodie’s surly son Nathan and had numerous laugh-out-loud moments reading his chapters. “Living with Nathan was like living inside an argument.” Every minor character has colour and life, starting with the opening pages, and two Russian sisters hired via Skype to work in an English hotel, completely unaware they’ve been dangerously conned.

This is an excellent novel, timely with the #metoo movement. It’s about exploitation, the abuse of vulnerable women and greed. About men failing, women rising, and family. Atkinson is a master weaver of plot, deliverer of dialogue and memorable characters. It’s clear why Jackson Brodie is so well loved. Old fans will be truly thrilled with this fifth instalment in the series, while new fans will be buying the backlist.

An intelligent and utterly compelling read.

Buy a copy of Big Sky here

About the author:

Kate Atkinson is one of the world’s foremost novelists. She won the Costa (formerly the Whitbread) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. She has written four previous bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie, Case HistoriesOne Good TurnWhen Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog, which became a BBC television series starring Jason Isaacs. She has since written three critically lauded and prizewinning novels set around World War II: Life After Life, A God in Ruins (both winners of the Costa Novel Award), and, most recently, Transcription. Big Sky is her twelfth book.

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                      Synopsis

                      Jackson Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son and an ageing Labrador, both at the discretion of his ex-partner Julia. It’s picturesque, but there’s something darker lurking behind the scenes.Jackson’s current job, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, is fairly standard-issue, but a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network—and back across the path of his old friend Reggie. Old secrets and new lies intersect in this breathtaking novel by one of the most dazzling and surprising writers at work today."Big Sky is a fantastic gift to readers so soon after the wonderful Transcription. Jackson Brodie is back in his fifth novel (these can happily be read as stand-alones) with his doggedly unenthusiastic teenage son at his side in a picturesque seaside village. A gripping mystery unfolds, but what glued me to the page was Atkinson’s brilliant portrayal of the ageing hero and the fallacies of the male ego she weaves into her story. For me, anything Atkinson puts her pen to is mandatory reading." – Ben Hunter, Booktopian Review
                      Kate Atkinson
                      About the author

                      Kate Atkinson

                      Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind The Scenes At The Museum. Her four bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs. Her latest novel Life After Life was the winner of the Costa Novel Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Prize, and was shortlisted for the Women's Prize.She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List, and was voted Waterstones UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards.

                      Books by Kate Atkinson

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