Sunday, 3 July 2016

Book Review - The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowling)

I've had to use a stock photo as my book cover has pretty much rubbed off and you can't tell what it is!

“A lie would have no sense unless the truth were felt as dangerous.” 

I only, eventually, read this book because it fell into my lap once my mum had finished it. If I’m honest, I never really thought about going out to buy it; I thought J.K Rowling (or Robert Galbraith as she is known on this book) couldn’t write for adults. Which was silly really, just because I was a child when I read all the Harry Potter books, didn’t mean that adults hadn’t enjoyed them as well, and as I grew up with the books, they seemed to grow up too.

The Cuckoos Calling follows Cormoran Strike, a private detective who, as early as the first page, is living in his office on an old camp bed, living off of instant noodles. He hasn’t had any cases in a long time, debt collectors are chasing him up, and he has just had to fire his last secretary from Temporary Solutions. Following a mix-up at the temp agency, he is sent Robin, a recently engaged girl, who is relishing in the idea that she can work a couple of weeks in her dream job of private detectives. After a very awkward introduction; which involves Strike saving Robin from falling down the stairs by grabbing her breast (?) They both set to work on the case of Lula Landry, a celebrated model who plunged to her death from her balcony window. Was it suicide like the police ruled? Or did something more happen, like so many of her close friends, and brother, believe? And what the hell was on that blue piece of paper!

I love crime fiction, I think I have mentioned it before, and no doubt I will mention again in the future - because I love crime fiction! I love the mystery that it entails, and the usual twist at the end. And I really enjoyed this book too.

A lot of people said that they guessed the ending way before they got there. As an avid mystery reader I thought I would too, and at one point I did, but I dismissed it as a silly idea and went back to trying to guess what else could have happened. Even though I enjoyed the book  I feel like this isn’t the kind of novel that you would enjoy so much once you had guessed the ending, I think it would seem somewhat tedious after that. It does follow a similar format throughout, they get a lead, Strike talks to them, he goes back to the office, and gets another lead, I think this is only interesting if you are still guessing what happened, and not just reading through to prove that you’re right.

I also have to admit, I didn’t enjoy the way the ending came out. It seemed to come out as a long, 3 page lecture, with Strike boasting that he knew everything from the beginning, instead of a quick, snappy, surprise like most twists.

What I really enjoyed about the book were the characters, Rowling really knows how to bring her characters to life. I’ve seen a few people complain that they don’t enjoy Rowling’s descriptive writing style, but personally, I really like it. Sometimes it does get a bit silly, every noun in the paragraph will have an adjective, and that adjective has to be slightly obscure, but overall I don’t mind it.

When my mum was telling  me about the book, she told me that at points she was laughing out loud at it, especially the scene where Strike and Robin meet. Personally, I just found that scene awkward, how can you save someone from falling down the stairs by grabbing their boob? Unless they were absolutely huge, which by the way Robin is described they’re not, it doesn’t make sense to me, it just seemed to be added in to assert that 'yes, this was written by a man, no multi-millionaire authors here'. Having said that, there were a lot of scenes that were slightly funny; I’m not a huge ‘LOL’ person when it comes to books, but there were parts that made me smile, and Strike, though huge and grubby, does come across as a big softie - sort of Mad Eye Moody in a way.

Having, personally, enjoyed this book, I would give it 4/5. I can see why some people gave it less, but if you’re not amazing at guessing endings of mystery, and you want a lighter hearted read than other crime fiction, then I really think you will enjoy this book. 

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