Books, Reviews

The Cuckoo’s Calling

Cuckoo's Calling cover

Summary: Supermodel Lula Landry’s alleged suicide launches a chain of events into motion, changing the lives of two different people. Cormoran Strike, a private eye contracted to prove said death is a murder, has a hard time sifting through the unlikely assignment while dealing with his own shipwrecked life. Robin Ellacott, a young woman with everything in her perfect life, finds her childhood dream fulfilled when a part-time job introduces her to the eccentric sleuth.

Comment: [Read this back in 2013 but somehow forgot to upload the post]

I am a big fan of Harry Potter, I’d say that upfront. However, A Rowling dabbling in a fantasy fiction and a Rowling juggling a whodunnit mystery are two completely different cases.

I am reminded of Agatha Christie’s style as we delve further in the story. All the usual elements are present. The red herrings, the family dispute, the masked feelings. There are touches that are distinctly Rowling’s however, like the long-winded descriptions on almost anything and her penchant of introducing interesting places, but you can’t help but notice the similarities. However, I have to say I prefer Christie’s mystery novels for reasons stated below.

The book suffers in slow pacing. To clarify, the last two-third of the book is alright, but it takes over a hundred of pages before things start to pick up. To be fair, so much of the excess is clearly a setup for the next books in the series, like glimpses of Strike’s past and his haphazard way of life, and contrast between his and Robin’s life. Rowling, is not known for her fondness of Chekhov’s Gun for nothing. But it’s dragging from pages to pages something I did not feel when reading Harry Potter.

But the characters are the exact opposite. They are rich and human. Each and every one of them are lovingly brought to life, despite the fact that they might not be around in the other books (it is, after all, a typical episodic crime story). Even Lula, who is already dead in the first page, is fleshed out to the point you can see her haunting everyone else.

Personally, I’m not fan of the profanities thrown around like free candies, but given the environment and people who use that words, most are tolerable. I just wish there wasn’t so much though.

It is a good read but nothing special. My opinion might be skewed for my love of the likes of ‘And Then There Were None’. Overall though, a step into the right direction.  I have to give a credit to Rowling for her bravery to step out of her comfort zone after completing Harry Potter. Overpowering something so popular is a difficult feat, but we will see how well she manages. I have a good feeling she will eventually get past the problem.

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