Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's CallingWhat’s it about?

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger…

My thoughts

This book had been on my Kindle since publication so I thought it high time I read it.  I approached this book with trepidation though as several of my blogging friends had warned me they thought it quite slow.

As with any book that is the first installment of a series it was always going to be overly descriptive with the background stories of the main characters and there’s no exception here.  The book as a whole is very descriptive and wordy but this didn’t deter me or made it feel overly long as I felt the plot moved consistently and some parts felt like I was reading it in real time.  I didn’t really see the point of the Latin quotes at the start of each part to be honest; by the time I’d read the first page of the new chapter I’d forgotten the quote and any relevance it may have had.  Show-offy ness!! (I just made that word up!)

I recently reviewed The Girl in the Ice where I said that the author has to set their characters apart from all those others available. You’ve got to believe and invest in these characters otherwise it could be just any old easily forgotten crime story and it’s the same with this book and the protagonists Cormoran and Robin.  I really enjoyed their back stories and their developing working relationship.

I liked the style of Strike’s investigation, I think this suited me very well because I love court room dramas and the style of conversation and investigation is just like that.  To me, it’s a proper detective novel, asking the right questions of the right people, using your initiative, going out on a limb (pardon the pun), catching people in lies and putting it all together.  As I raced towards the end and as the big reveal approaches there were scenes that actually gave me the chills!

“Her death was an almost palpable presence in the room, as though it stood waiting patiently, politely, behind the curtains.”

I’ve never read Harry Potter but I have read The Casual Vacancy which was laborious so I didn’t read and review this book particularly as a Rowling fan but I do love a good whodunit, and for me, this didn’t disappoint.  I’ll definitely pick up the second book The Silkworm.

Links: Goodreads | Amazon

Connect with the author Robert Galbraith

Website | Goodreads

 

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Christmas socks or books?

One can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair.

People will insist on giving me books.

Professor Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling

mmmm let’s think about this for a minute….which would you rather have under your tree? Books or socks?

pile-of-bookschristmas socks.

Book Review: The Casual Vacancy by J.K Rowling

The Casual Vacancy What’s it about?

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty facade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? A big novel about a small town…

My thoughts

This is J.K Rowling’s first novel specifically for adults following the hugely successful Harry Potter series. Having not read any of the Harry Potter books I wasn’t sure what to expect, not that I was expecting this to be similar in anyway.

The book is split into 7 parts, each introduced by Charles Arnold-Baker, Local Council Administration, no idea who he is but the excerpts from this ‘administration’ relate to what happens in that part of the book. Eg; 6.11 A casual vacancy is deemed to have occurred: (a) when a local councilor fails to make his declaration of acceptance of office within the proper time; or (b) when his notice of resignation is received; or (c) on the day of his death… this introduces part one and the main characters death. From there, it’s all about the characters, the plotting and their interactions. It’s all there, everything you’d kind of expect to be going on in a small town: marriage problems, domestic violence, teenage sex, bullying and drug abuse to name but a few.

This took a really long time for me to get into, we’re talking a couple of hundred pages and I  actually got quite bored and considered giving up. However, someone mentioned to me that it was a ‘slow burner’ and that’s it exactly was it was. From around the 200 / 250 page mark I found it much more gripping and was more intrigued into how it was going all going to pan out.

I think this novel is very much character driven rather than plot led and essentially reads like a soap opera in a novel. The actual election part seems to come and go quite quickly and with not much description but it’s the leading up to and after that’s more explosive.

There are so many characters I did find myself losing track of who was who and what family they fitted into. The character’s story line I was most interested in was Krystal’s. She was an explosive character yet had a very caring and protective side to her which I found to be quite endearing – despite her family background and I felt so sorry for her in the end.

One thing I found quite irritating was that some of the chapters started and finished in the middle of pages. As a reader who likes to read in chapters this was annoying.

Overall, it’s a good read once you’ve got past all the intro’s of who’s who so read if you’re a fan of Rowling but be prepared to have to put the work in at the beginning!

Available in hardback or Kindle on Amazon The Casual Vacancy