Deductions made on debut criminal novel

Deductions made on debut criminal novel

I’ve always loved a good mystery.

When a new, hyped-up mystery novel comes into the spotlight, my necessity to know the truth is already pushing me toward the checkout counter. To add to my desire, another mystery was thrown into the pot. Robert Galbraith, the henceforth known author of “Cuckoo’s Calling,” was revealed to be a pseudonym for my most idolized and beloved author and creator of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling. How could I resist?

The story centers on an ex-military detective named Cormoran Strike who’s just broken up with his long-time, on-and-off girlfriend. The other main character, Robin, who plays Strike’s new temp, is on a completely different spectrum concerning her personal life. She is introduced as an attractive young woman who has just been proposed to by her boyfriend and has many promising opportunities for a great career in her future. The two crash — quite literally — into each other’s lives and struggle to solve the case by appreciating each other’s talents while respecting personal boundaries. The omniscient point of view switches seamlessly from Robin and Strike’s inner thoughts, easily involving two different minds.

The aforementioned case involves the untimely death of celebrated supermodel Lula Landry. The media and police have already overturned the case multiple times before settling on the seemingly undeniable fact that the star took her own life. However, her brother John Bristow comes to Strike to have the case reopened, and hysteria commences.

Cormoran and Robin are thrust into the glitzy facade of the famous and find that not all that shines is gold. I loved the way Rowling tore down the impenetrable wall of stardom and delved deep into the characters.

The plot was entertaining and fast-paced but still allowed me to understand each twist and turn in the case easily. Rowling’s writing was as witty and sarcastic as ever, blending all aspects of the perfect novel together with an artistic flare. Strike’s back story is a big part of the novel, and — similar to Harry Potter — she manages to create a realistic, believable past without distracting from the current action.

I will admit, when it came to the climax of the story, I was surprised, but I was surprised because I completely expected it.

After sitting with the book in my hand for a long time, trying to telepathically connect with Rowling to know what she was thinking to leave me so underwhelmed, I concluded that “Cuckoo’s Calling” is less about the actual mystery Strike is trying to solve. However, the real purpose of the novel is to describe the complex and two-sided relationships between people. The book is full of one of Rowling’s classic themes — that there is depth in every person, and people are more than just their outside appearance and the stereotypes associated with their image.

The ending leaves plenty of room for sequels to come, and I will not cut Strike and Robin out of my to-read list just because I figured out the ending. Part of the reason I loved the book was because it made me think. Deducting and learning are the basis of mystery novels, and when I can do the same along the way, I say all the better.