Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Cuckoo's Calling


Cormoran Strike:  Ex-military, somewhat rough around the edges, no holds barred, private detective.  New concept?  Not really.  Well written?  Absolutely.  Completely can’t-put-it-down gripping?  Ummm…  

Before I got into YA Paranormal I read Mysteries.  Lots and lots of Mysteries.  Some of my favorites are the Alphabet Mysteries by Sue Grafton (A is for Alibis, B is for Burglar, etc. – I’ve read them all) and the Inspector Lynley Series by Elizabeth George (her character development is some of the best I’ve ever read).  If you were to check out my Goodreads page {HERE} you would see a long list of authors like Susan Dunlap, Dorothy Cannell, Charlotte MacLeod.  So when I say that I have a good frame of reference for murder mysteries, rest assured that I do.  So, is this why my feelings about Robert Galbrath’s debut mystery are not as ecstatic as some reviews I’ve read… maybe?  

The mystery itself was well thought out (even if the first person I suspected really did turn out to be the killer, it was probably a lucky guess).  All the details were intimately woven and I found that I was glad to have this one in hardback and not on my Kindle so that I could turn back to remind myself of little things that might have gone unnoticed.  

I would also say that the characters were very well fleshed out.  It was very much a character driven story which is what I always look for, so it did not disappoint in that aspect.  Each character had an interesting backstory, and things were revealed at just the right time as to keep me intrigued.  Also the language used to describe the people was almost poetic… phrases like “an inevitability about his decent into despair and oblivion” and “veritable parade of his frailties” and the words like “exophthalmic” and “pellucid.”  Language that is almost too beautiful to be in the description of a murder investigation.

So why did I feel a tiny bit let down?  Probably because this wasn’t actually a debut book.  Probably because Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym.  Probably because I knew before picking up the book that it was written by one of the most famous authors in the world today.

A little over a month ago it was leaked by the law firm who handles her affairs that the true author of The Cuckoo’s Calling is none other than      J.K. Rowling.  Being such a huge fan of Harry Potter I guess I was just expecting to be blown away.  I think if I hadn’t known the author I would have loved this book.  If I had really thought it was some unknown male author I would have given it much more credit… Which is probably part of the reason that Rowling wanted to write under a pseudonym:  there is just too much pressure when you’re one of the most well-known authors in more than a generation.  

If I were to take Harry Potter out of the equation and compare this only to Casual Vacancy, however, this would win HANDS DOWN!  This story had likeable characters- Casual Vacancy had NONE.  Not everyone used profanity in every sentence (a couple of the witnesses who were interviewed did use language I don’t like, but not many of them and certainly not the main characters).  There wasn’t a rampant display of sexual promiscuity (and absolutely no descriptions of sexual interactions).  And, to really break away from anything else she has written, Rowling managed not to kill off everyone which is a plus in a book where I like the characters.  

Overall I would definitely recommend this book.  Don’t expect Harry Potter, but it is still a very good story that is worth your time.  And on a side note, I got my mom (who reads more mysteries than even I do) to read it and she loved it.  If that’s not recommendation then I don’t know what is!

And just because I found it hilarious I have to add this illustration of Rowling by Matt Blease - found in this article {HERE}

1 comment:

  1. The first book I read by Ms. Rowling. I know, i know, there are people there who will want to crucify me for not reading the Harry Potter series, but... Well, what can I say about this one. Hefty (since i was reading an ebook on my cellphone), but an absolute ''unputdownable" one. The way she builds up the story and the end is fabulous with different pieces falling in place in the last conversation like a jigsaw puzzle getting completed... The characters are so nice esp. Strike & Robin. was happy to know that this was the 1st of the series... waiting for the next one with Strike & Robin (full time now) duo at it again!!!