Saturday, November 16, 2013
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling
I am almost positive that I have seen The Cuckoo's Calling around before the big reveal. It may have been on one of my ARC sites, I may have passed by it in our mystery section at work. Sometimes I try different genres, just to see if there may be something I'm missing. Even so, I don't usually read mysteries. Therefore, The Cuckoo's Calling went under my radar. Months later, when news broke that Robert Galbraith was actually a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, I suddenly had to read it.
Like everyone (Who isn't INCREDIBLY WRONG), I love Harry Potter. When The Casual Vacancy came out, I was excited. I love Harry Potter, and I AM an adult! This sounds right up my alley. Then, I read it...and I gave up on it after about 100 pages. It's just so long, and she seems to be taking too many liberties with profanity and sex now that she is writing for the grown-ups, and I sort of wish maybe she would have stuck with Fantasy, except for adults. The Casual Vacancy is so normal.
Unfortunately, The Cuckoo's Calling still isn't Harry Potter. It is a pretty darn great murder mystery. It starts with supermodel Lula Landry falling to her death from the balcony of her apartment. Given the troubled young woman's history of substance abuse and her rocky, well publicized relationship, it seems likely that Landry committed suicide.
When Lula's brother seeks to hire him to investigate, at first Cormoran Strike refuses. Business has been terrible, he can't pay back the loans used to start the agency, and he can barely afford the fee for his temporary secretary. Still, he doesn't want to take advantage of someone's death, even when John Bristow is offering double his normal fees. The money eventually wins. Strike takes the case, expecting to come to the same conclusion as the police. Instead, he discovers that the facts don't add up. The more he investigates, the more he starts to agree with Bristow. It appears that someone killed Lula Landry, and it's up to Strike and his new temp Robin to bring the murderer to justice.
I think that I liked this book so much because of the characters. Cormoran Strike is an imposing, tough man. He is also very sympathetic, having lost his leg in the war, and his girlfriend breaks up with him right at the beginning of the story. I also admire him because he is an amazing detective. Robin is newly engaged and planning to leave for a permanent job. However, she gets caught up in the excitement of working for a private investigator. I was a little jealous, because I also wanted to be a detective when I was younger. She is also impressively efficient at her job, often going above and beyond the secretarial role. The relationship between Strike and Robin was my favorite part. Both of them are so good at their respective jobs, and they form a mutual respect. It just warmed my heart, and I'm not being sarcastic. There is supposed to be a second book featuring these characters, and I am incredibly excited to see what unfolds between Strike and Robin.