Friday, July 26, 2013

Guest Review: The Cuckoo's Calling

Hi guys! I’m very proud to introduce and welcome Valerie to the blog today, and to share the first (and hopefully not the last) guest post. Valerie and I have met through the wonderful All Souls Trilogy Discussion group on Facebook, and I think I’m pretty fortunate to consider her a friend. Valerie is a lady of many talents and I’m very excited that she agreed to share her review of J.K. Rowling’s new novel – The Cuckoo’s Calling. Thanks Val!

Guest Blogger:
Hi! I’m Valerie. I’m a DoD employee by day (or night) and moonlight as obsessive reader, graphic + web designer + IT enthusiast (Dr. of Daemonosity). Apparently, I’m also a guest blogger (!) What I’m into now: I’ve joined forces with the other Dr(s) of Daemonosity by donating my rather odd skills to help facilitate the crusade of Armitage4Clairmont. Sounds important, huh? Well it is. Join our Crusade!

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)
Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym), J.K. Rowling

Release Date: April 30, 2013

Book Description:
A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide. After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

Amazon US | Goodreads

The Cuckoo's Calling is a venture into the anonymous for J.K. Rowling. Written under the pen name “Robert Galbraith” she explores the detective/whodunit novel genre with flair. We find ourselves in the heads of a private detective and his accidental assistant working together to solve a mystery involving a super-model's suicide and the curious cast of characters surrounding her.

I enjoyed this book. It kept me entertained throughout. As usual, J.K. Rowling has a flair for painting characters for her readers. I was very interested in Mr. Strike (the detective) and his side-kick Robin. Some of their interactions were predictable as there was an obvious understated attraction between them - the author leaves that alone. With that knowledge, the investment of their back-stories plus their situational chemistry made me think there will be more books involving these two.

I liked the other characters as well. Some of them were a little too “stereotypical”. You had your mega-movie producer who reminded me of a mob-boss + rich banker combined, the victim’s flighty model friends, her clothing designer (male/gay – yeah – you are picturing him), her in-and-out of rehab, beautiful, angsty actor boyfriend, her brother the lawyer + his partners in the law firm, the lawyer’s wives + their spoiled-rotten desperate housewives-esque existences, and her “common” friends (met through rehab) who surrounded the model and tried to milk her for what she was worth. In the author’s defense, perhaps it's actually me stereotyping these characters as I was imagining them. Don’t let this keep you from reading it.

The Verdict:
The Cuckoo's Calling is a satisfyingly solid read. The story flowed well and I cannot emphasize my appreciation for her descriptive writing enough.  This is not my typical genre and this book would not have crossed my Goodreads, LibraryThing or, Amazon path based on what I normally enjoy. Yes, I easily admit that I read it because I found out J.K. Rowling wrote it (NOT ASHAMED!). Having said that, I stayed invested and entertained (and isn’t that what we look for in our novels?). It’s long, but J.K. Rowling needs that kind of space for her descriptions. I will most definitely continue reading Strike and Robin’s adventures if Ms. Rowling decides to run this as a detective series.

Rating: 4/5

1 comment:

  1. An explosive debut for "Robert Galbraith" !

    The gist of the novel is that a Private Investigator has been hired by the victim's brother to find out whether the supermodel committed suicide when by all accounts she was hale and happy or was it murder. It displays the sordidness of London and the paparazzi culture in agonizing detail and mercifully limits the royal references to 4.

    As it proceeds, Rowling demonstrates her ability to present her characters with shifting shades rather tastefully. The detailed scene setting - be it the extraordinary detail of the pain of caused by the prosthetic and its removal or of a man living out of his kitbag for instance - proves to be at once her friend and foe. Readers accustomed to Forsyth's meticulously delicious plot setting and the glorification of detective work meet their doom in Cormoron Strike - who despite his dogged detective work, astute questioning and bluffing skills, comes across as resolutely 'regular'. In evoking the sense of danger and darkness through those details however, she succeeds superbly.

    As an added exercise, a reader (especially the e-book ones for its easier to do this electronically) could count the no. of times the F word occurs in the book along with a few other choicest swear words than the Brits frequently employ - and perhaps how many times within a single sentence. ;)


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