Monday, June 23, 2014

The Cuckoo’s Calling (by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling)

The sequel to The Cuckoo's Calling has just been released, which reminded me that I'd never read the first one. The sequel sounded intriguing so I figured I'd catch up.

(Here I made a miscalculation. I noticed it was kind of pricey on the Kindle but figured it was the J.K.Rowling factor. In truth, it's a Hatchette book, which means Amazon is gouging customers on the price, which reminds me that Amazon is sort of evil. I will be trying out Kobo for the sequel, which is an independent bookstore e-reader. I'll let you know how it goes.)

So, all that aside, The Cuckoo's Calling is incredibly enjoyable. I'm not sure exactly what Rowling's secret is, because the plot is not super propulsive, it's more like Strike goes here and has this conversation, then there and has that conversation, and picks up these little clues that Rowling only puts together at the very end, Agatha Christie style. But the characters are great, not just the detective Cormoran Strike and (especially) his resourceful assistant Robin, but all the various suspects and players in the murder itself. They're well-drawn and interesting, and it's fun to "go along" on the investigation, as it were.

(Something interesting that Rowling does with point of view: it's third-person-limited-omniscient, but it switches between Strike and Robin, sometimes at random in the middle of a chapter. Like they will have a scene together narrated from Robin's point of view, then Strike exits the room, and we start "following" him instead. It works well, and I can't remember another author who's used this technique to essentially have two protagonists.)

There were a couple of points where I couldn't help remembering that Rowling was writing it. A little shoutout to Pinewood Studios, a page full of ellipses, some touches of humor. But mostly it is a solid, classic-style, very fun murder mystery. I'm looking forward to the sequel.



Blogger BC said...

I really liked it, too, in spite of being kind of lukewarm on Harry Potter! Did you read The Casual Vacancy? That one got panned all over the place but I think it's her best work.

3:28 PM  
Blogger mo pie said...

I didn't read it because of all the pans! I'll have to check it out. I'm in the middle of The Silkworm now (parceling it out slowly on the elliptical)--have you read it?

9:50 PM  
Blogger BC said...

No, I have not. (I have not read anything in months except for first chapters.) I listened to the audiobook of The Casual Vacancy so I can't swear that she didn't do all that annoying Rowling stuff she does with the ALL CAPS and ellipses. But it's one of the best books I've ever read about adolescence and particularly parenting adolescents. I did not find it to be bleak or unsympathetic, as many people did, although it's certainly really sad -- I thought it was about the way that every adult is a product of the damaged adolescent they used to be, and it made me retroactively like the Harry Potter books more!

10:00 AM  
Blogger mo pie said...

Harry Potter is great except for that terrible epilogue.

I think I avoided it because of the sadness. I'd rather read a cheerful book about grisly murder! :)

10:08 AM  

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