Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling (2013) is the private eye mystery that J. K. Rowling tried to sneak past her fans--and the rest of the world--under the name of Robert Galbraith. That secret didn't stay under wraps long.... 

Here is where I make my confession--I have not read all of the Harry Potter books. I've read the first one--just to see what all the fuss was about and to acquaint myself with the writer and her world because my son was interested. I'm absolutely certain that I would have loved the books had they come out when I was young. But as a mother of a five year old (when the first book was published), I wasn't reading that genre at the time and it didn't grab hold of me as it has so many thousands (millions...) of readers.

Rowling does an exceptional job with the characters in The Cuckoo's Calling. I think characterization is one of her strongest points as an author. Despite only reading one of the HP books, the characters were so strong and individually interesting that they have stuck with me for twenty years. Her characters here are equally strong and interesting. Cormoran Strike is the usual damaged modern detective--Afghan war veteran, wounded, disastrous love life, and financial woes. But he is made interesting through his interactions with the people in the case and his new secretary.

As a long-time mystery reader, I have to say that the final twist is a well-worn one and isn't really a surprise. It was telegraphed quite obviously. I'd hoped for something more original from the author of the Harry Potter series. As a mystery, it doesn't earn high marks, though the way Strike and Robin investigate it does capture the interest. The best part of the book for me (and the biggest reason I've rated it 3 out of 5 stars) is the relationship between Strike and his secretary Robin. I liked how Robin--who's only supposed to be a temp--plunges herself into the investigation and makes herself more of a sidekick than a secretary.

[Finished 2/28/18]

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