Sci-fi, History, Police Procedurals and Science
I normally review SF, although I do read a good bit of detective and spy fiction. (I don't feel I have the breadth to comment on those areas.) But this book is so completely peculiar that I doubt anyone has the right background to provide expert commentary.
My wife insisted I listen to it. I really didn't want to read a Rowling romp. What a moron I am at times. I could not disagree more with those who suggest this is a great "first" effort in the genre. It is a really good book. Period.
This is clever and VERY "meta'" -- brilliantly narrated. It is as though someone had reviewed all detective stories from Chandler on, sat a LONG time digesting the body of work and then written what was supposed to look simple but was really a sly book. The author covers every single base on the "tough but scruffy British police/detective" checklist right out in the open....no pretending it is something else. But each is addressed in new and interesting ways -- and the author supplies all of the mandatory snappy patter. But in the end it becomes just a good story.
It is fun and self-deprecating. It delivers completely I thought.
I loved the private eye, Cormoran Strike: tough, smart, full of heart, wry, cool, thoroughly flawed -- just great. Great interviewing and extracting of key info and using his imagination to understand when the pieces didn't fit and how to make connections. And although modern and realistic, the book wasn't gory -- phew!And the narration was truly superb.
After I finish writing this review, I'm hunting down Robert Glenister's other performances and will begin downloading immediately. He was fantastic -- so full of understanding and intelligence, empathy and wry humor. He made the experience of listening like being at the movies, bringing all the characters to life with fantastic timing. I'm too American to understand what Strike's accent is supposed to be! Maybe Robert Glenister will explain it to us; I know that mixture of strains is indicative of Strike's motley background, but I don't know how!
Strike's sympathy for his characters -- his moments of really understanding them was always moving. But I was touched by his inner responses to learning key info -- a kind of commitment that was so great. And I was touched by his heart going out to his own mother and Lula --the women who wouldn't or couldn't follow the rules.
Long may JK Rowling and Robert Glenister continue to bring to life the damaged, the great Cormoran Strike.
So I guess I am the only person who didn't know this was JK Rowling! I was really surprised how engrossing, intelligent, yet entertaining it was. I binge listened in one weekend and was guessing right to the end! If you're a fan of GOOD mystery, and you sick of all the genre schlock that get 5 star ratings even though it's crap, you'll really, really enjoy this :)
this was one of those books that seemed to take forever; for better or worse- but JK is without a doubt a great storyteller. I will for sure read tge second book, but im in no hurry.
I enjoyed the Cuckoo's Calling every step of the way. The author melds the stories of the detectives personal and professional life into a fascinating journey, holding your interest throughout. There were many moments that I had to take pause and realize that a single actor was reading all the parts. Bravo.
Excellent! Just excellent! Buy it, read it, you won't be disappointed.
Such an immensely thick plot, with so many variables. I was enthralled throughout the whole book and tried as hard as I could to figure out "whodunnit" (as they say) and was not able to figure it out. Masterful!
Apparently, a lot of people liked this book. Read their reviews and see if it's for you. I got 7 hours into it before quitting. In those 7 hours there was no action. Really, none. It seemed like the author wanted to convey how boring PI work can be. I liked the main character but not enough to keep listening, hoping something might happen.
She could have added SOME action early on, she could have made me care more about the victim early on, and she could have edited some of those long, rambling sentences that served no plot purpose.
Scenes with his sidekick, Robin.
The scene where he interviewed the cop in the bar was deadly boring.
I wasn't going to. Not at all. Not another going-to-seed, emotionally and psychically broken, cop/detective/policeman take your pick! Ex-military cop, now PI Cormoran Strike has lost part of a leg in Afghanistan, and his difficulties with it are essential to the character. He's out of shape, dead broke and has just split up--very dramatically-- with Charlotte. And of course Cormoran smokes (but at least he's not an alcoholic). The physical picture painted of our hero is somewhat appalling. A clue; the name Cormoran comes from the Cornish legend of Cormoran the Giant. We hear huge, bulky, hairy, boxer's face. Repeatedly. I'd never heard "pube hair" applied to someone's head of hair before. Gross--I mean, my hair is frizzy, but if anyone had ever called it pube hair I'd have clobbered 'em. In any case...recall the Potter books. This is part of the author's penchant for the grotesque we should be familiar with by now, only this time it's not PG. But Cormoran's personality, with his gentle patient manner, and impressive intellect won me over. And anyway, it turns out that a number of very attractive women are drawn to our hero--this man the author paints as huge, hairy, and even ugly--so, maybe not so ugly, maybe a rough, more hirsute combination of say, a John C Reilly and Sebastien Chabal of rugby fame. (I'm a visual reader, and I LIKE my heroes physically appealing--so, sue me). The author constantly references his huge bulk and hairiness, but eventually we find out he is just 6'3" and while he may be out of shape, carrying some extra pounds, he looks good in an Italian suit, and when he sees himself in a mirror he has hair on his chest and arms, but not all over...so again, the author's love of visual hyperbole.
This plot itself involves celebrity and fame, and those who feed it and from it. Knowing Galbraith was actually Rowling was provocative. I take it she had some bitterness resulting from her own catapult into celebrity to get out of her system, which she does here and then some. We saw the potential for caustic wit in the Potter books; here it is full blown. The author paints a colorful, but often mean and tawdry world of high fashion, drugs, music and hangers on.
While I absolutely loved the Harry Potter movies, the books themselves were a bit over-rated, in my opinion. (I've heard however that the audio versions are outstanding due to narration). Writing for adults seems to enhance the author's facility with character development...allows for deeper digging. The plot is not filled with suspense, there is little to no action, just good ol' plodding detective work, amid the fascinating evolution of a quirky to bizarre cast of characters, which by contrast paint Cormoran and his temporary assistant Robin in a downright normal light.
The mystery unfolds through sheer doggedness on the part of Cormoran--and Robin. The plot is character and dialogue driven, the use of TA Robin eliminating the need for much expository narrative. While we are privy to all of Cormoran's discoveries, the conclusions are available only to the natural detectives among us. We don't spend an inordinate amount of detecting time in his head; we hear instead about his personal issues including the beautiful and of course, damaged, Charlotte--ex-fiancée. That way many of us can be surprised at the outcome, without the device of keeping the audience in the dark.
The final reason I was compelled to love this book was Robert Glenister, whose face and voice I remember from BBC's "Spooks" (MI-5 to American viewers), among other productions. His skill with accents and emotions is outstanding--in short he was perfect for this performance--and performance it was. I am looking forward to The Silkworm--with Glenister. If the author's creative pattern holds, we may be seeing a new one per year. I can hope...
I don't usually rush out for all the "best sellers", but give each intriguing book/author a look. I have found many diamonds in the rough.
A beautiful starlet, Lula Landry, plunges to her death and the assumption is that she jumped, the only problem with that is that there was no viable reasoning behind that action. She was a complicated individual but not necessarily suicidal. After the case is closed for several months John Bristow, Lula's brother, walks into Cormoran Strike's office, a private detective who is down on his luck. Strangely Bristow wants to hire him to investigate Lula's death. Cormoran at first thinks that this guy is just grieving or that maybe his cheese has slid off his cracker, but after hearing him out decides to take the case. He figures, what the heck I need the income and something to keep my mind off my recent breakup.
During the investigation many different theory's are voiced by Lula's friends, foes, family and new found family. This is where the plot really starts to thicken. Lula was adopted as a small child by a very wealthy family and had recently been looking for her blood relations. Lula had her own fortune made from her acting career so she was not too concerned with offending her adopted family or loosing any inheritance.
I liked Cormoran's investigative process and strategies, he keeps his discoveries to himself so it kept me guessing. It was enjoyable to watch his much younger new assistant, Robin, become integral to the case and at the same time melt Cormoran's big ole gruff exterior and heart. If there is another book, they and their growing, platonic relationship would be the reason I would read it. The narrator was a good voice for Cormoran.
I hope there are more of these. I read all the HP books; unlike those, this one has some very nice writing, almost as though it were written by someone else.