Big Sky is Jackson Brodie's fifth outing in a Kate Atkinson novel. not that I've read any of the previous incarnations. I must admit I was attracted by the cover and the blurb. A novel set on the east coast of Yorkshire (my favourite place) and a huge seagull on the cover... sold. It was when i got the book home I realised it was part of a series. Then the dilemma started. Should I get the others and read them first? Being a completist, I put it on the shelf and vowed to get the first when I went to the bookshop again. Lockdown came and I never did get back, so the other day coming towards the end of my TBR pile, I picked it up to read. What did I have to lose?
It turns out Jackson Brodie is a private detective with a complicated past life. Once a policeman, he's now living near Whitby and doing private detective work. Juggling this with looking after his thirteen-year-old son and an old dog, he's constantly faced with his past. With a story rooted in historical sex cases, the story follows investigation of 'the magic circle' with a newer, but no less shocking, people trafficking.
Most crime novels come out blasting with both barrels between the eyes. I quite like this approach, get me hooked and draw me through the book on the end of a fishing line. Kate Atkinson does it differently. It's like she's laying a table for a posh dinner (not one that you eat in the front of the TV on your knees. The story unwinds slowly as she introduces the various and vast cast that will fill the book. Slow pace or not, I was soon halfway through the book without noticing. A very clever ploy 😉
So how did the book work as a standalone, without reading the previous books? Had I made a big mistake? Not on your nelly. it didn't seem to matter this was the first-time meeting Jackson Brodie. It's a stunner of a book. The characters are so well drawn, the back stories carefully unfold. Like a fine wine, it gives you diverse levels throughout the book. The humorous touches like detectives Ronnie and Reggie add up. Crystal, the mother who'll stop at nothing to protect her children is the strongest character. At first, she seems light weight, but the more the flesh is applied to the skeleton, the more you will her to succeed.
In conclusion, I really enjoyed this book Another five-star award, the second in a row. I will be revisiting the previous Jackson Brodie novels by Kate Atkinson.