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Old 05-20-2014, 11:55 AM   #1
pilotbob
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May 2014 Discussion: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (spoilers)

The time has come to discuss the May 2014 MobileRead Book Club selection, The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert (J.K. Rowling) Galbraith

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Old 05-22-2014, 10:27 AM   #2
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I read The Cuckoo's Calling and enjoyed it enough that I will definitely read the next one to see where Rowling takes her characters.
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Old 05-22-2014, 11:21 AM   #3
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I was curious to see how Rowling would approach a detective mystery. I read The Casual Vacancy a while back and despite the terrible reviews, I thought the book was quite good and her character development was excellent.

I really liked the Cuckoo's Calling and was pleased that, unlike her last book, there were some very positive and likable characters. The relationship between Strike and Robin is predictable, but well developed. I really wanted her to continue working with him and I wanted her to be gracious with him. I don't always feel that way about such relationships, but Rowling successfully sucked me into it in this book.

The plot was also well thought through although I did suspect earlier than I should have that the very person who hired Strike was indeed the culprit. I'll read the sequel.
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Old 05-22-2014, 11:54 AM   #4
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I thought Cormoran was a great hero. I didn't quite believe that the murderer would have hired a PI, but enjoyed how the mystery played out. The characters were all very colourful, inventing wonderful characters is obviously one of Rowling's great skills. I'm excited that there will be a sequel, and hopefully even more volumes.
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Old 05-22-2014, 02:55 PM   #5
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Most modern versions of private investigators don't measure up to the classics in the genre, this does an admirable job. The chemistry of the characters and the in depth examination of one person's life blended realism with the hard-boiled PI formula. The pacing might be slow for those used to thrillers, but it meshed well with the gradual development of the relationships.

This book made my top reads list from last year, and I will certainly read the next one.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:57 PM   #6
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May 2014 Discussion: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (spoilers)

Overall I liked the book, and plan to read the next one when there' said next one to read. I did think it was too long, which isn't a bad thing in itself, but the book felt "padded" to me. The pace seemed a bit too slow, but I really liked Strike and Robin. I hope no romance develops between them, though.

Like treadlightly, I found it hard to believe the murderer would hire a private investigator. In another story it might have worked, but not this story and this this villain. What was his motivation for doing it? The police were satisfied with the verdict of suicide. The press was satisfied. Except for a small cult of conspiracy theorists, the public was satisfied by the verdict. The killer had nothing to gain and everything to lose by stirring things up.

DAMMED IPAD AUTOCORRECT!!!!!

That first sentence should have read, "Overall I liked the book, and plan to read the next one when there's a next one to read."

Last edited by WT Sharpe; 05-24-2014 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 05-25-2014, 06:56 AM   #7
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I'm only just starting this book now.

I should probably be finished by the end of this week as long as it isn't unreadable.
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Old 05-25-2014, 02:26 PM   #8
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...Overall I liked the book, and plan to read the next one when there's a next one to read.
Yesterday I received an email from Barnes and Noble letting me know that the wait for the next Cormoran Strike novel will be a very short one indeed: The Silkworm arrives in bookstores on June 19th.

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-...=9780316206877

Although at $14.99, I'll surely wait for the "got to have the latest and greatest now" crowd to earn their bragging rights and move onto something else new and trendy, thus letting the price for the rest of us drop a bit.
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Old 05-26-2014, 08:38 AM   #9
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20% in. It might be just that I know about the woman writing under a male pseudonym, but this feels like a book written by a woman. Or at least, it reminds me of the other crime/detective novels I've read in recent past that were written by women.

Was anyone thrown by the reference to people takes pics with mobiles, but then the main characters using A-Zs or even hand-drawn maps to orient themselves?
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Old 05-26-2014, 09:04 AM   #10
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20% in. It might be just that I know about the woman writing under a male pseudonym, but this feels like a book written by a woman. Or at least, it reminds me of the other crime/detective novels I've read in recent past that were written by women.
I don't believe I'm qualified to comment on that.

Tom: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...51#post2837751

CRussel: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...59#post2837759

Tom: http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...98#post2837798

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Was anyone thrown by the reference to people takes pics with mobiles, but then the main characters using A-Zs or even hand-drawn maps to orient themselves?
I didn't pay much attention to the phones. Did Strike even have a camera phone? What's an A-Z?
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Old 05-26-2014, 01:41 PM   #11
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Unfortunately, I suspected the killer from his first meeting with Strike. The bit about the young dead brother gave it away for me as it, ahem, struck me right away that Bristow probably murdered both his siblings.

Having said that, I went through a gamut of possibilities throughout the book - I considered Bristow of having a secret lover and co-conspirator in Ursula, Ciara or Kieran; I also considered him conspiring with Wilson or his own mother. As long as he was involved in the possibility, I was game to consider it.

I think the solution was quite convoluted. I knew the killer the entire way through and yet still had to let Strike explain most of the details of the how to me at the end. I also think a lot of the explanation balanced on the edge of reason, even if Rowling took pains to make it clear that Bristow was very lucky. It was all a bit of a Rube Goldberg machine.

Despite some quibbles, I think this was a quality mystery and think it’s worthy of anyone interested in a proper old fashioned detective mystery. It was well written, with Rowling’s signature vibrancy, with colorful characters and colorful story mixed with a humanistic, multi-cultural and empathetic realism, and with much attention paid to the details, even if the details were at times convoluted.

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20% in. It might be just that I know about the woman writing under a male pseudonym, but this feels like a book written by a woman. Or at least, it reminds me of the other crime/detective novels I've read in recent past that were written by women.
I couldn’t help but pay attention to this sort of thing as well; I was looking at it from the perspective of a woman writing who is trying to pass herself off as a manly man writing, but honestly I think she did an OK job of it. After all, no one suspected anything until the secret was leaked (despite The Sunday Times trying to pass the leak off as investigation after suspicion).

Some people have faulted the portrayal of some of her female characters in the book, but I think she did it on purpose to throw everyone off her scent.
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Old 05-27-2014, 07:53 AM   #12
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Some people have faulted the portrayal of some of her female characters in the book, but I think she did it on purpose to throw everyone off her scent.
I hope not. It would lack integrity wouldn't it?
"Oh, I developed my characters specifically so that people wouldn't know I wrote it"

In any case, it's an aside really. As I've read further, I've found the character of Robin reminding me often of how women are portrayed by women in books of this kind (at least in ones I've read in the recent past). But I didn't feel the same way about Cormorant Strike; I think he's fairly neutral in tone.

I'm about 35% in now and I'm finding it similar to any one of a dozen British crime dramas which is neither a good thing nor a bad thing - just a thing. So far, there hasn't been any idea really being explored outside of the crime and the procedure being followed. Cormorant's past hasn't really been enough to raise an eyebrow and Robin almost seems like the character of a romance novel, displaced as novelty.

Its all quite readable though. I certainly don't feel like tossing it.
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:25 PM   #13
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Some people have faulted the portrayal of some of her female characters in the book, but I think she did it on purpose to throw everyone off her scent.
If she wanted to throw people off the scent, I think she it would have been wise to put the ixney to the bourgeoisie-bashing inherent in the one-dimensional Matthew-the-boyfriend character.

The best thing about the book is Cormoran's characterization. I learned a lot about his disability, and believe what I learned. One reason I want to read the next installment is to see how he is faring.
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Old 05-28-2014, 10:37 AM   #14
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I enjoyed the book which does have entertainment value and an adequately drawn main character though Rowling is rather self-conscious in her use of the form. As a mystery novel it isn't up with the acknowledged greats in the genre. Certainly it is a long, long way behind the work of Dorothy Sayers in just about every department. Still, it was a pleasant enough read.
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Old 05-31-2014, 02:13 AM   #15
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OK - finished this morning. Although I was a little neutral in the first part of the novel, I warmed to Cormorant Strike more as the story progressed. In the end, despite the constant references to his missing leg (ok, I get it), I found his character worthwhile.

I still wasn't overly impressed with Robin's character as she seemed to be portrayed as an efficient, switched-on professional and then as a childish, starry-eyed daydreamer. But despite her inconsistent and rather annoying portrayal, her prominence waned in the shadow of Strike, so she didn't end up damaging my enjoyment too much as I continued reading.

There were a few times where the shifting POV was a bit annoying. For example, there were a couple of times where the first paragraph of a chapter would start from Robin's point of view only to immediately shift to Strike's. It happened a few times when they were together in the story.

The plot itself I enjoyed. Initially, I picked the correct killer, but was convinced enough by revelations here and there to shift my suspicions to different characters. I agree that it was pretty convoluted. Enough sub-plots were woven in that you could legitimately sense guilt in multiple quarters - all the better to muddy the waters. The book gave the classic climax with the crime explained which, although hardly an original idea, is satisfying.

So, in the end, I liked the book. I thought it was a nice blend of classic whodunnit with a healthy dollop of noir.
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