Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

I got hooked on the Jason Isaac’s mystery series, “Case Histories” (2011), on Amazon Prime Video, and was fascinated to read the original, which is similar, but very different, particularly in the way events are laid out. I adore nonlinear fiction and delayed decoding (small details whose significance is only revealed later), and I really liked this about the book, which I found innovative. Book 1 contains three cases, jumping back and forth in time, hopping point of view, and it was a delightful brain-scramble to keep up. I loved that about this.

That said, I feel like the book needs a warning label: If you can relate to these characters (like I did), you should probably not be reading this book. There is an existential darkness, a chronic depression and sense of ugliness, that mires all of them, which spilled over into my day-to-day life while I was reading it. The end is satisfyingly optimistic in a way that I enjoyed at the time, but the morning after feels improbable and contrived. I am interested in reading the next books in the series, but not sure that I should….

I do highly, unqualifiedly, recommend the TV adaptation, which is gritty, but not nearly as bleak.