The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

…except actually J.K. Rowling. We all know it was Rowling, so I’m not even going to use the name Galbraith again, after that time right there.

As always, the British cover is better.
As always, the British cover is better.

When I found out that Rowling had used a pseudonym to write a mystery novel, I was very interested, but not exactly excited. Not that I’m not thrilled every time I find out that she created something new, but mostly because mystery novels aren’t usually my thing. I don’t know why, I mean, I watch enough Law and Order and true crime specials, but those just aren’t the types of books I zoom in on when I need something new to read.

After reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, I have to say that I liked it. The characters were interesting, and pretty fleshed out, even the ones you don’t really see too often through the book. And there were almost as many people here as in The Casual Vacancy, but because only a handful of them were major players, rather than, like, all of them, and they were all pretty distinctive, it was only once or twice where I lost track of who someone was. With the eventual revelation of the killer, I was pleased to find that Rowling also did my favorite of her tactics from the Harry Potter books: make you so positive that it’s a certain person or persons, then turn around and make it someone you never suspected, yet still have it make total sense.

But remember, I said that I liked it, not that I loved it. It was really long, over 400 pages, and I don’t know if it had to be. Sometimes the characters would spend a long time analyzing a situation or examining exact feelings, or remembering something from the past that relates to that moment, and spend a few paragraphs going over it, which would often slow things down and cause me to zone out. Also, there was a trope that always bothers me a bit: here’s the guy that everyone acknowledges is not very attractive, but look at all the hot women who want to sleep with him. But since these hot women are also, like, crazy, eh, I can let it go.

Again, I don’t read a lot of mystery novels, so I can’t really compare it to others, but I think The Cuckoo’s Calling is a good book in the genre. I certainly enjoyed it, enough to read big chunks at a time, and I can see other readers enjoying it as well. Of course, this could turn out just like The Casual Vacancy, and I’ll be the only human I know who liked it.

Book Thoughts: A Return to Harry Potter

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireAs always, I have too many books on my list to read, from a new Francesca Lia Block novel to a nonfiction book on being an introvert. But surely I also have enough time to reread the entire Harry Potter series. I’ve read the first 4 books several times, but for some reason never got around to rereading 5-7. I became inspired to get on that when we were watching the movie marathon on ABC Family and my husband asked a question I could not remember the answer to. Unacceptable! But really, all I needed was one good excuse to read these guys again.
  • Speaking of J.K. Rowling, I’ve also gotten her new book, which she wrote secretly as a dude, from the library. Now, I’m in the minority of people who really, really liked The Casual Vacancy, so I went into The Cuckoo’s Calling with I think far less trepidation than some other people I know. Unfortunately, I’m also not a real fan of crime novels, which this new one is, but I still adore her, so I’ll get this beast read. Which I really need to get on top of to beat the hold list…
  • Other reason I have to rocket through this book: Rainbow Rowell’s new book is out! I read Eleanor & Park a few months ago, and it’s only my recent discoveries of The Fault in Our Stars and The Book Thief that beat out my love for that book. Her new on, Fangirl, sounds a tad less serious, but still delightful, especially since her main character is obsessed with a series that sounds a lot like Harry Potter…
  • Back to J.K. Rowling — have you heard about her movie? While I always thought that she would go back to books if she reentered the Harry Potter world, it’s still really exciting to hear about the movie she’ll be making. Even more exciting that it won’t be something potentially series-ruining like, “Let’s see what Harry’s doing now!” I don’t know if people are skeptical about this or not, but if they are, I say, leave her alone! After Harry Potter, Rowling’s got something most writers don’t: enough money and time to do whatever she wants. Let her try different genres and modes of storytelling; even if we don’t like it, we just have to remember what her first project was, and realize that no matter what, we can forgive what comes next.