August Book Review

Cuckoo's Calling Cover

The Cuckoo’s Calling
By: Robert Galbraith a.k.a. J.K. Rowling

This book intrigued me and found its way into my shopping cart before I knew Robert Galbraith was the pen-name for J.K. Rowling.

I’m not sure, to be honest, if I enjoyed the book more or less after finding out the author’s true identity. In some ways I’m saddened that she was outed so early on as I think Robert Galbraith could have stood on his own as an author without Ms. Rowling’s fame. Galbraith could have enjoyed that slow, agonizing trek up the publishing ladder ... well, except that there was already a decent marketing machine behind him, something many first-time published authors don’t have.

What I did notice while reading the book - which is a good read by the way - is that I kept looking for hints of Rowling’s more famous characters, just to see which traits she would transfer, carry over into other writing. Somewhere in one of the more important characters I did spot a hint of Hermione Granger, which by Rowling’s own admission is a character closest to her own. So it should come as no surprise that we find her in this book.

But it’s not my intention to pick a good read apart and certainly I do not want to comment on Rowling’s style. I just want to review what was a satisfying, well-crafted detective story.

It has many elements of the ‘hard-boiled’ genre, but would probably be placed on the tamer side of that shelf because it wasn’t as gritty or cynical as say a Raymond Chandler or Dashiel Hammet book, but certainly fitting with the things the down-on-his luck private eye, Cormoran Strike, has already witnessed in his own extremely dysfunctional upbringing and military career and now his detecting business.

As this was the author’s first foray into the whodunit genre there is still room for growth, and I look forward to more.

For me it was a satisfying summer read, nothing too heavy, just a good page-turner, and that is what summer reading should be all about.