Monday, September 23, 2013

The Last Thing I Read...

Yes, I'm back. And I have to comment on the book I just finished reading...
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (recently revealed as J.K. Rowling).

I must admit I have read all the Harry Potter books (more than once) but did not consider reading Rowling's first fiction title following the end of her fantasy series - not because I had heard bad comments on it; not because it was purported to be completely different than the HP series; but because it wasn't a genre I read very often. I read mostly mystery, sci fi, fantasy and biography - not straight fiction. I'm always on the watch for books from my favorite authors or intriguing new authors but as I said, I chose not to read the next offering by Rowling because The Casual Vacancy seemed too much straight fiction for my taste.

Truthfully, I had not considered reading The Cuckoo's Calling when I first ran across it (only one library in our county library system owned it when it first came out and one of our patron's had requested the book) because I was not impressed by its cover. Yes, yes. I know. Never judge a book by its cover. But when I am training new volunteers at our library, I tell each one the importance of displaying new books with their covers face out BECAUSE most people DO judge a book by its cover. Face it, publishers employ whole graphics departments to create eye-catching cover art. The cover should make you stop and want to pick up the book, open the cover to read the fly leaf or maybe even the first paragraph. When our patron returned this book, I just checked it back in and sent it on home to the one library in our county that owned it.

Then this summer, it was revealed that Rowling had penned this book under the pseudonym of Galbraith in order to have the book stand on its own merit. That, plus the information that the publisher helped keep the secret of the true name of the author even from some of its employees and the pre-pub reviewers, let alone the media, intrigued me. I went online to Amazon to see what the early consumer reviews had to say and was impressed. I decided I needed to read the book.

I'm glad I did.

This book not only had a good plot-line and well-developed, captivating characters, but it was very well written. Entirely up to, if not exceeding, the standards set by the writing in her HP novels. Because of my love of mystery novels (from childhood) and my enjoyment of detective stories (written and on television) I found myself identifying with the female character, Robin, who worked as a temp secretary for the main character, Cormoran Strike. The character (Robin) also admitted to a dream of wanting to solve mysteries, wanting to try her hand at being a detective. I liked how involved she became and how much her natural curiosity and intelligence assisted Cormoran in solving the case. It was also interesting to see the point of view shift back and forth from Robin to Cormoran, keeping the plot moving forward without bogging down in narrative. And last but not least, I sure thought I had the killer figured out but was pleasantly surprised  by the denouement.

I can't wait for the next one in the series.
And there will be a next.
J.K. Rowling says there will be!