First Impressions: The Cuckoo’s Calling

I just got my copy of The Cuckoo’s Calling yesterday and being my first fiction book in a long long time, I couldn’t wait to get started on that. I do have a whole reading list (mostly non-fiction), and I am waiting to start on that list since some time but I tore off the plastic shrink wrap and went to the nearest cafe. Having just started it, and only made a dent in it so far, I am just sharing my first impressions of the book.

The book is a few months old, but it gained attention when JK Rowling announced that she had actually written the book under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Honestly, I wouldn’t have even heard about it otherwise. I only occasionally read fiction and only from authors that I have read before or ones for whom I have got great reviews. Despite that, I had no inclination at all to read The Casual Vacancy. I knew it would be judged differently and anyway, it felt too soon after Harry Potter. I was quite sure that the book would suffer negative reviews and I was right. I was hoping for something else.

Personally, I feel that it was a good strategy to write the book under a pseudonym. It worked, at least. Apart from removing unreasonably high expectations at the launch, it might have also helped focus on the content rather than selling the book.

Book still shrink-wrapped

The Cuckoo’s Calling

I ordered it on a whim last week, when it was still shown as a pre-order. I didn’t expect to actually receive it until much later, but to my surprise, I got a message it would be arriving that day. It was actually larger than I thought.

Like I said, I went to a cafe, ordered an Espresso and started reading it. At first, it was all a blur, and I had to read the first paragraph about four times to take it in. I guess I am so used to reading non-fiction, that I could not process the change. Anyway, I was impressed by the writing. It is definitely the kind of writing that I like from Harry Potter.

The book is written in five parts, plus a small prologue. Each part contains multiple chapters or sections, similar to Dan Brown’s books, with each section lasting from two to ten pages, maybe more. This writing style makes it easier for the writer to switch scenes, and easier to reader to maintain continuity. Not to mention, this is also a great way to save bookmarks.

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First Impressions

Each part begins with a short poem or a quote, the context of which is only understood clearly after reading the part. , at least in the beginning. I had to keep myself going through first three pages.

I found the beginning intriguing, but I was not particularly hooked to it. That did not happen until about two sections in the part one. The book itself is not as easy to read as I thought, and I had to keep myself going through the first three pages. After the first section in the first part, I was hooked and found it difficult to keep the book down. I had to force myself to get out of the chair as I had to get to the railway station, where, as the train was late, I continued reading in the parking lot.

When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.

Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get and the closer he gets to terrible danger.

That is how the story is described on the back-cover of the book, and it doesn’t say anything about the incredible detail in the book. Right from beginning, Robin’s and Strike’s world are pulled over your eyes and you experience London city in glorious, and somewhat shabby detail. And you would not want to get it off. The story is paced evenly so far and it is slowly picking it up. I am very excited to continue reading it. I will post a more complete review at the end of the book.

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