Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Wednesday Review – The Cuckoo's Calling

World famous model Lula Landry has fallen to her death from the balcony of her third floor luxury apartment.  Although the incident is considered as a suicide, her brother, John Bristow, is convinced she was pushed.  To investigate, he hires ex-military and now private eye, Cormoran Strike.  Strike takes on the case, not certain if he'll prove Landry was killed or that Bristow is just a deluded grief-stricken man.

The Cuckoo's Calling created a lot of ripples when it was reavealed that Robert Robert Galbraith is in fact J. K. Rowling.  Although she was angry that her pseudonym was discovered, there is no doubt the extra publicity was welcome.  I made a point of not peeking at my HP books before reading it, in order to give a fair review.

Strike's investigation spans over 455 pages and is meticulously constructed.  Every detail connects, every piece and bit has meaning to the story.  Immediacy is created through the numerous people the detective interviews.  As he moves up in the layers of society of Lula's entourage, tension is built and the reader can tell they are getting closer to the puzzle's answer. Narration is done through Robin, Strike's temporary secretary, as well as through Strike himself.  The transitions are clear and well done.  However, the reader gets the feeling, in the first chapter, that Robin will be the main character, which is not the case. 

Once again, Rowling manages to create believable characters with very different personalities.  She sometimes flirts with clichés but just enough to convey a clear image of the protagonists. Strike is a lovable character who wins the reader over right away.  The quality of the author's prose, excellent as usual, contributes to it.

One thing that disappointed me in this book is the identity of the killer.  I found it rather anti-climatic and, to be quite honest, I had a good idea of who it was before I even reached then end.  I would have liked to be a bit more surprised.  Speaking of the end, this book took me forever to finish.  Somehow, The Cuckoo's Calling didn't turn out to be the page turner I expected it to be. 

Fans of Harry Potter should approach Rowling's last book with an open mind.  There is much to enjoy, but there is no magic, just harsh reality, which the author describes perfectly.

September selection of a ABCC


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