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04 October 2013

'The Cuckoo's Calling' by Robert Galbraith, J.K. Rowling

Cormoran Strike; funny, meticulous, thoughtful, awkward, strange, cautious, flawed, clever, insecure and interesting.

I could not finish 'The Casual Vacancy'.  It dragged, I just did not care, so I dropped it.  Which is completely the opposite from my Harry Potter experience... The point I want to make is that I was not in a hurry to read 'The Cuckoo's Calling'... Crime novels are not my favorite and well etc etc.... Right, awkward... as my teen sometimes says, because Beloved Proof Reader brought it home.  He read it first and announced that I should read it too.  Nah, don't feel like it, have a pile to do here... So I finally picked up this book. Ehem.  I loved it.  Now I have to tell you why.

I will start with the only problem I have with this book.  The protagonist, Cormoran Strike (fantastic name) stumbles into pubs quite regularly and always orders a pint of Doom Bar.  I am in Germany.  I can find certain bottled ales but variety and quality are not great.  My favorite ale happens to be Doom Bar.  I love to walk into a pub and order two pints of Doom, one for me and one for BPR.  My BPR is well aware of my preference and laughed quite loud when I complained that for the first time in years I want something different than tea to drink while reading.  There is no cure for this thirst however until I next visit the UK.

The story, it grabbed me.  It made me care.  It made me smile.  And very important, unlike several other crime books, it was not an obvious "who dunnit' by chapter 3, which is one of my pet peeves with these kinds of books.  Now I have to go back to Cormoran Strike, who happens to be a gift.  He is funny, meticulous, thoughtful, awkward, strange, cautious, flawed, clever, insecure and interesting.  In other words, he is an engaging character that I want to know better.  This book feels like the start of a series, I hope it is too...

The story line itself is basic, with a body, a grieving family, surprising twists and turns and at least one serious hangover.  London was explored well.  The weather, the pubs, the neighborhoods felt real and familiar.  As I reflect on this book I realize that Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) did not make any of it feel like a cliche, which is a talent given the genre and the premise.  Some of the side stories regarding Strike's life were perfect as side stories.  In all a well balanced book that I would recommend to crime novel fans but especially to those who are not crime novel fans.  Oh and do have something to drink while Strike is at a pub, you will enjoy the experience more...

J.K. Rowling 
ISBN: 9781408703991 

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