The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith 3/5 stars

    It has to suck being J.K. Rowling. Sure, the money's pretty decent, but after writing the Potter series where do you go? The fans are expecting another kid series, and the non Potter fans want to see her fall on her face in a big steaming pile of failure. I've read one Potter book, and have yet to read Casual Vacancy so, I can be pretty fair and balanced when it comes to this book. There are some fans I'm sure who were pretty upset when they realized that the first Cormoran Strike novel was their beloved Rowling writing under a pen name, and came out in droves to protest her second adult novel. With the pen name, she got a little breathing room, and less pressure. If it doesn't sell well, at least it's not going to be a big deal, but fail under her own name, and all hell would break loose. Angry fans are just going to hate on the novel because it's not Potter, and it's an adult novel so they're going to feel betrayed, while non Potter fans are just checking out to see what the big deal is.

      The Cuckoo's calling is an interesting premise and brings back the crime novel, or at least attempts too. We have Strike who is your typical P.I. hired to investigate the death of Lulu Landry to see if it was an actual suicide. There's not a whole lot of new ground tread here, and fans of crime novels will no doubt love this. Strike is a big guy with problems of his own, and the case comes at a time when his life seems to be falling apart. Galbraith (Rowling) is a talented writer who allows you to get to know Strike as well as all the other characters in the novel and he (she) has a great eye for detail so you don't just feel as if you're reading a novel, you're right there throughout the investigation. As a first book in a series he (she) allows you to get to know Strike just enough so you'll either like him, or hate him. There's no middle ground.

      In crime novels like these, they're pretty predictable, but this one has a bit of originality. Problem is it moves so slow, and doesn't really pick up steam until the second half. At times it does become a bit tedious as Strike tries to solve the case, and the glimpses we get of his personal life do break up the monotony, but it still drags quite a bit. If this'd been a shorter read it would have worked, but there's quite a bit of filler here. Galbraith (Rowling) has talent, but at times it just feels as if he's (she's) just trying too hard. Now that we know this is Rowling you can almost see she's just trying to show people she's capable of writing a book that doesn't include wizards, or magic. For the most part it works. I'm not a fan of crime novels, but this one isn't bad. A little too long, but not terrible. As the book wound toward its conclusion I knew I'd check out the 2nd Strike novel and hope it's a better read than this was.


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