Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Hello Everybody. I'll be the first to admit that it has been quite a while since I last posted a book review. That doesn't mean I haven't been reading books, just that I haven't had much time to write reviews too on top of my other creative responsibilities.
But let's take care of both situations right now with a fresh review of a recently (re)released book.

Mulholland Books/Little, Brown & Co.
The Cuckoo's Calling was originally released as the first book by a new mystery writer named Robert Galbraith. As such, it received decent reviews and some reader interest. Then came the spilling of the beans when the author's real identity was revealed. But we'll get to that in a moment.

First book or not, The Cuckoo's Calling is a good mystery, with plenty of suspects when private detective Cormoran Strike is hired to investigate whether or not high-fashion model Lula Landry really committed suicide or was murdered. The reader follows Strike as he sets out on the trail, at first believing his time is being wasted but in need of the money to continue investigating. However, when things begin to add up towards proving that Landry did not shuffle off this mortal coil willingly, greed and grief seem to go hand in hand as Strike deals with his own problems while trying to discover the identity of the killer and prevent any more deaths in the process.

I must admit, that while the solution made sense, the ultimate culprit was not who I thought it would be at all. The author does play fair in regards to letting the reader discover the clues as Strike does. There is no deus ex machina, whether it be specialized knowledge in a particular subject that only the detective knows or something totally out of left field that would have made absolutely no sense otherwise.

My only quibble with this novel is that the author seemed to overuse semi-colons ( ; ) when a period would have been more appropriate to create separate sentences. Otherwise I would love to read further adventures/cases of Cormoran Strike, provided they are done in the same quality of this debut novel by author Robert Galbraith.

But therein lies the rub. While the book did well enough in its initial release that it probably would have earned a sequel on its own merits in time, over the late summer of 2013 it was revealed that Robert Galbraith is (allegedly) author J. K. Rowling; creator/writer of the Harry Potter series as well as her first stand alone novel: The Casual Vacancy.

You can imagine the public's reaction and book sales since then. A couple of reprintings, with at least one bragging about the big reveal right on the cover. Since then, the information is more subdued and limited to the proper places: the inside cover flap and the "About the Author" page.

Now then, the big question (to me at least) is this: is J. K. Rowling really Robert Galbraith?
In all honesty, I don't know.
The initial release/first edition was honest and admitted that Galbraith was a pseudonym, but allegedly for more professional reasons, to keep the real author's military/law enforcement background discreet if I understand the situation correctly.

ALSO: Rowling had already released The Causal Vacancy under her own name, so why use a pseudonym now?

I have read the entire Potter series, although not The Casual Vacancy, yet. Based upon that, I can honestly say that in my humble opinion, The Cuckoo's Calling just does not read like a J. K. Rowling's novel to me.
I don't have any explanation as to why this is so, just that it is my personal perspective on the matter.

But whether Rowling or Galbraith, I repeat my earlier position: to see more mysteries featuring Cormoran Strike, provided future volumes maintain the quality of Cuckoo.

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