Way back in 2007, I first met Jackson Brodie in Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson. Formerly a police officer, Jackson was a private detective living in Edinburgh, trying to make a living working with insurance companies and helping people find missing animals. Brodie is a complex man who hasn’t had an easy life. He is divorced and struggles with a troubled past life.
Over the next few years, the author offered a three more Jackson Brodie novels, all of which I enjoyed very much. And then the books stopped coming. I missed the somewhat introspective and morose detective.
Finally, over 10 years later, Atkinson offered a new Jackson Brodie novel, Big Sky. It was worth the wait. Lots has changed for Brodie, but lots has stayed the same.
The detective has retired and moved to a small village near the sea. He spends most of his time with his teenaged son and a very old lab. He is separated from Julia, whom he met and with whom he fell in love in the first novel. They are still friendly, however. She is the mother of the teenager Nathan. Brodie was hired for a boring case involving a cheating spouse. From this seemingly boring case, he becomes involved in a sex trafficking scheme. Like her other books, Brodie meets people along the way who somehow end up being involved in the case, tying everything together.
The wait for an update on Jackson Brodie was worth it. The books offer some dark comedy and some low-key drama, but mostly some interesting perspectives on people and life from Brodie’s perspective.
The ending seemed a bit rushed and confusing. The stories were all wrapped up, but somewhat haphazardly. Still, it was a great read, and a pleasant reconnection with one of my favorite detectives.
By the way, Case Histories became a PBS series, and a very good one. If you can find it, watch it.