By Kate Atkinson
Published by Penguin
What it’s about?
Private detective, Jackson Brodie, has moved to the North Yorkshire coast. He’s currently employed helping wives find proof their husbands are cheating and helping local solicitors with background checks.
Crystal is the wife of a local businessman. Yummy mummy, Range Rover driving between playdates and living in her dream home, she is convinced someone is following her. Is her past coming back to haunt her?
Vince is desperately miserable. His wife is divorcing him and has kicked him out of the house. He has been made redundant and is living a grotty flat. He’s contemplating his future on the top of a crumbling cliff.
Jackson gets drawn into different people lives and the seedier side of the local business community. Lies, corruption and unimaginable horrors lie behind the golf club smiles and riches.
What I think:
Big Sky is the fifth book in the Jackson Brodie series. Although their are references to the previous books, it can definitely be read as a stand alone.
There are a lot of characters. The opening chapter switch around giving the reader glimpses of different lifes. The underlying story is hinted at but it takes a while for the connections and commonalities between the characters to become clear.
This is very much a contemporary British novel. Taking inspiration from Operation Yewtree and historical sex abuse cases, the book explores the secrets hidden by the wealthy and people in power. It also looks at the contemporary world of sex trafficking and immigration. There’s lots of references to British culture – especially comedians of the 70s/80s.
Despite the horrific subject matter, there is a lot of humour in the book. The characters are distinct and witty. They tell jokes, mock each other, have in jokes and can be very sarcastic. This really contrasts with the awful crimes and reminds you that people can be much more complex than simply bad or good.
My favourite characters were Crystal and her step-son Harry. Crystal is perceived to be beautiful but dumb when she is actually sharp and shows a strength lacking in other characters. Harry is incredibly intelligent and witty. His love for his family and calm in moments of stress are admirable.
The interesting thing about this book for me, if that Jackson Brodie was a very different kind if detective. He is not an all-knowing Poirot style detective unveiling a big reveal. In many ways the characters solve some of the crimes themselves. He is just a common factor that draws all of the pieces together.
I was lucky enough to be gifted a copy of the book as part of the Tandemcollectiveuk readalong. It came with fabulous question cards at different points in the book that made you think about what you reading. And it was great to chat together Bookstagrammers about their views.
Having read this book I’m definitely going to add the rest of the series to the TBR pile. I liked the humour and the way in which Kate Atkinson develops the characters and would like to get to know Brodie better.
Thank you Penguin Books, Tandem Collective, PageTurners UK and DeadGoodBooks for the opportunity to join in the readalong.
If you would like to read Big Sky head to:
Waterstones: click here
Amazon.co.uk: click here