• Started Early, Took My Dog

  • A Novel
  • By: Kate Atkinson
  • Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
  • Length: 12 hrs and 22 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (1,365 ratings)

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Started Early, Took My Dog

By: Kate Atkinson
Narrated by: Graeme Malcolm
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Publisher's Summary

Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective - a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other - or so decides Tracy, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly.

Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge.

Meanwhile, Jackson Brodie, the beloved detective of novels such as Case Histories, is embarking on a different sort of rescue - that of an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished.

©2010 Kate Atkinson (P)2011 Hachette Audio

What listeners say about Started Early, Took My Dog

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

For the Love of Children and Dogs

Kate Atkinson has once again written one of the most interesting and touching novels I have been entertained by in a long time. Saving a child and a dog are only the tip of this tale which weaves its heartfelt story with well developed characters you care about even with their many flaws. A mystery, a love story, a story of redemption- I recommend this book whole heartedly.

42 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A Bittersweet Beauty

Well this is the sort of book that will keep you up listening way too late at night and most likely making sure you have pockets to hold the player as you go about your day. I listened almost nonstop. I have loved each book in this four book series. Maybe this last installment being my favorite. Just know that each book fits together perfectly, building upon the last and snapping together--each as a piece in a large jigsaw puzzle.

Much of this story takes place in Yorkshire. It was an added treat for me as I have rented the National Trust house for a week years ago at Fountains Abbey where some of the action takes place. To me, Atkinson captured that location beautifully, it was like being there again.

Be aware that Atkinson tackles difficult topics in this book--which becomes a time bending look at people at risk in society and those meant to help. Police, private investigators,social service, actresses, children and dogs all play vital roles.

This is the last book in the series (so far) and I know Atkinson has been interviewed about the possibility of a fifth book and she has said no. While I would love to hear more from Jackson Brodie and hope she continues, I can understand. If I view the series as a whole--seeing the puzzle picture as I stand back--I think I can fill in the missing bits. It all makes sense.

I am so glad I stumbled on Atkinson and her writing. She is a gem. This is a series not to be missed if you love complex literate mysteries with depth. Fantastic.

36 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Pleasant surprise

I downloaded this book as a filler in until I got my next credits, and chose it strictly for its quirky title. (I never heard of the author.) I hoped it would be a good listen, and I wasn't disappointed. The characters are well formed and real, not ultra glamourous, as they have been in some of the books I've listened to recently. The plot held my interest throughout. It also had that real effect. It was a story that could plausibly happen to any of us, and kept me listening to find out how everything would turn out in the end. The narrator's British accent threw me off at first, only because I had to listen just a tad bit closer to understand the words. Once I got used to it, I found his voice smooth and delightful to listen to. I look forward to listening to another one of Ms. Atkinson's books. This one deserves all five stars.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Came for the Dog, stayed for the plot.

I, as another review did, got this book on a whim, and because I liked the title. I'm a sucker for dog stories, and if the word "Dog" is in the title, I will definitely check it out. This story follows two people who have, through some buried, previously unaknowledged, unfulfilled desires, acquired dependents that alter the course of their lives. The first is a man, a detective, who becomes the owner of a small dog, a Border Terrier. The other is a woman, a retired policewoman, who - in action completely outside of her previous experience- impulisvely "buys" a 5 year old girl from a preoccupied prostitute. Both of these characters must learn to live with and care for their new charges, and while they do not know each other, their lives become entwined by the course of events both past and present. At the heart of this story is a murder mystery, the circumstances of which unfold, curling back into time as the lives of the two main charaters hurtle forward. Other characters appear and become entangled in the plot as well, and the whole thing becomes a giant soup of chance meetings and twisted connections that are just as strange as real life. I really enjoyed the ride this story took me on, and loved all the characters I encountered. The only thing I never learned, as all the loose ends tied up, was why the book was titled as it was. Still, it is great fun, and Graeme Malcom is a terrific reader.

18 people found this helpful

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Such a complex plot

Wow! I was not expecting this. I thought this would be a cute little mystery. It turned out to be a complex book with a terrific plot and clever characters. The narrator is perfect for the book. I had to listen to it twice just so I could see how Kate Atkinson had pulled it off. Excellent use of a credit for me. Remarkably entertaining.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED IT.

Kate Atkinson does a great job of combining the foibles of human behavior, irony, humor, all wrapped up in a mystery....couldn't be a better package. And the narrator, Mr. Malcolm does s superb job telling the story with a wry humor evident in his voice. A great pleasure, and I don't say that too often!

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Complex and entertaining

I had a bit of trouble getting things straight at the beginning of this novel, but as the story progressed I couldn't stop listening (got a lot of dishes washed!). The narrator was fabulous - with subtle character differences and a dry tone that had me laugh out loud in places. I found the characters believable and -not appealing, really, but I could like them and have compassion for them. The little girl was worth the price of the book. A crazy scene at the climax of the plot, with enough denouement to give a good sense of closure. I bought it for the title, but will go back and listen again for the quality. Looking forward to "reading" more of Atkinson's work.

12 people found this helpful

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Not your mother's murder mystery

Calling it a murder mystery really does an injustice to this story. The story is so complex and multi-layered, you won't be able to stop listening. The multiple plot lines weave and intersect the past with the present. It's not a casual listen, as you must be constantly alert to which time line and plot you are following. The characters are so well-developed and real, you feel like they could pop into reality at any second. This is a very enjoyable listed, and the narrator's accents add to the ambiance of the story. I'm going to search out some more books by this author and narrator.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Couldn't even finish it

This book had too many characters, and they moved back and forth without any rhyme or reason, without ever explaining who they were or why they were in the book. Sometimes they even switched decades unexpectedly -- throwing in a whole lot more characters when they did. I got fed up with trying to keep track and figure out who was who, but I also lost interest, in spite of the somewhat compelling primary story lines ... well, I think they were the primary story lines. They were the only ones mentioned in the synopsis anyway. It was not only not making my daily commute more pleasant (some books make me look forward to the hour-long drive to work), it was making it more frustrating. So I gave up. Perhaps it all fell together somewhere in the end, but I couldn't handle it until then.

Definitely not good audiobook material.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Not what I expected

I hadn't read any of Kate Atkinson's books before but I liked this title and the description sounded interesting. I wouldn't have downloaded this book if I'd realized it was part of a series. The book was a lot darker than I thought it would be. Most of the characters I had to work at liking, they were pretty jaded with life. However, the writing was good and the reader was fine. I liked it enough to download the first novel containing these characters, hoping to understand how they got to where they were emotionally in this book.

11 people found this helpful