Tuesday, 27 August 2013
BOOK REVIEW: THE CUCKOO'S CALLING by ROBERT GALBRAITH (2013)
Yes, I confess that I was one of the many thousands of suckers who, on learning that an obscure novice crime writer who had written a decent first novel was actually none other than the legend in her own lifetime J. K. Rowling, went out and ordered it. Alas not quickly enough to get a last copy of the first edition but instead the reprint which acknowledged the author's true identity.
And now I've read it.
And if anyone comes up to me and says that Rowling is a crap writer who got lucky I will be tempted to punch them in their stupid face. This novel proves beyond all doubt that Joanne Rowling is a very good writer who got lucky. I bought her previous post-Potter novel but it's sitting on the shelf albeit not for much longer than it takes to write this review.
I don't really want to regurgitate a plot summary which you can easily find elsewhere (like Amazon) so I won't. I'll tell you what Rowling does instead. Her characters are vivid and interesting and if at first sometimes appearing as stereotypes are gradually revealed as having hidden depths and as fully believable people. The protagonist in particular is a vividly realised creation. Her descriptive abilities are superb as she creates a particular milieu and involves the reader in it. Rowling writes in a very dense style by crime novel standards -a fast and racy read this isn't- but her prose is so good that you can't stop reading.
This has to be one of the best crime novels of the year and it's definitely one of the best I've read in some considerable time. Another in the series is completed for publication next year and I hope there'll be more after that.