Monday, July 15, 2013

What's in a name? The Cuckoo's Calling

When the British crime novel The Cuckoo's Calling, by Robert Galbraith, was released in April, reviewers hailed it as the next big thing. Publishers' Weekly raved that the novel "combines a complex and compelling sleuth and an equally well-formed and unlikely assistant with a baffling crime...a stellar debut." Library Journal gave The Cuckoo's Calling a starred review for "mystery debut of the month."

Then it was revealed over the weekend that the critically acclaimed debut novel was actually penned by J.K. Rowling. Following the April release, readers were slowly picking up on the fact that this "new author" produced a really great read. No doubt sales will rise dramatically now.

I say, good for Rowling! Following the big reveal, she maintains that she had hoped to have worn the cloak of anonymity a little longer. Writing under a pen name was a very liberating experience.

Pop culture is a fickle mistress. What's trending today may not have a very long shelf life. Following the stellar celebrity of Harry Potter, Rowling's first novel for adults (Casual Vacancy) received mixed reviews. By writing under a pen name, her new novel was praised on its own merits, not on the author's reputation. Of course, now that the cat is out of the bag, it will be interesting to see where this all will lead.

Best to read The Cuckoo's Calling and make your own determination.  Here's the publisher's description:

A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

Work is underway on the next Robert Galbraith mystery featuring Cormoran Strike.

1 comment:

Dosti SMS said...

I wasn't very thrilled about The Casual Vacancy, JKR's entree into adult fiction. In fact, it wasn't my thing at all. I couldn't even finish it.

But with The Cuckoo's Calling JKR's done it again. She's brought back the warmth I always associated with Hogwarts in this solid muggle detective story! The writing is BRILLIANT- with lines I found myself highlighting and smiling at. I love the quirkiness in her descriptions and how well fleshed out the characters were. Their accents, their airs, the mannerisms- all so beautifully captured, just like she did in Potter!

The main character is this stand-up guy whose back story reminded me a lot of Dr. Watson from Sherlock Holmes! His secretary, Robin, made a great partner-in-crime-solving(?)! I do hope we see more and more of her. YES, there is more. This is only the first book in a series and I'm already waiting for the next book! It's also a pretty good mystery. I couldn't solve this whodunnit till the very end of the book when I was surprised to find out who the murderer was.

I guess the bottomline is this:

The Cuckoo's Calling, plot-wise, is NOTHING like Harry Potter. It's an adult detective novel, for godssake. BUT it comes closest to being as warm, as amazing, as engrossing and as much of a treat as a Potter novel! The characters leap out of the page! Even better, since it's an adult novel, the characters don't hold back at all! The mystery is tightly knit, hard to solve! Descriptions of food- even if it's Pot Noodle and sticky toffee pudding rather than pumpkin juice, chocolate frogs and treacle tart- will make your mouth water. When you near the end, you will feel yourself slowing down, not because you're bored but because you don't want it to end.

An all too familiar feeling, isn't it?