Friday, January 27, 2017

THE CUCKOO'S CALLING by Robert Galbraith

Robert Galbraith

            The Cuckoo’s Calling is the first foray into adult fiction published by J. K. Rowling, well-known author of the highly successful Harry Potter series, under her pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. In The Cuckoo’s Calling, we meet Cormoran Strike, a war hero, private investigator, illegitimate son of a famous father. We actually meet Strike through Robin, a temporary secretary sent to Strike by the temp agency. It was a fortuitous assignment for Strike, as his business, like his personal life, was about shot to hell. He was down to his last (and only) client when Robin, and the case of a lifetime, walked through his door.

            Famous model Lula Landry died after falling from the balcony of her apartment. Although the police ruled Landry’s death a suicide, her brother, John Bristow, did not believe that his sister had killed herself. Bristow hired Strike to prove that Landry did not jump but, rather, that she had been murdered.

            The Cuckoo’s Calling is a “classic” mystery novel, and Strike takes us along as he solves the case. Galbraith has Strike walk us through each step – there is no leap by the detective or evidence that he uses in his resolving of the case to which we were not privy.

            In The Cuckoo’s Calling, we see the masterful character development that Rowling evidenced in the Harry Potter series. Cormoran Strike may not be one of the “beautiful people” – he is far from perfect, and we have been given a close up view of many of his “warts” – but, he is a character whose cause we want to champion. Galbraith makes us love Strike, much as Rowling led many of us to love Severus Snape with fierce loyalty.

            Galbraith’s plot is interesting as well. Although I successfully pre-saged who done it, it was a fluke, and I was not able to formulate much about how it was done or why. I in no way felt cheated or let down by the fact that my speculation was correct.

            I thoroughly enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling. I love Cormoran Strike, and I look forward to spending more time in his world. This who-done-it does not disappoint.


Thursday, January 26, 2017


Tana French

            Antoinette Conway, of the Dublin Murder Squad, has returned. She and her partner, Stephen Moran, were given yet another domestic – the murder of Aislinn Murray – and Conway hates domestics. How she wishes that they would be given a nice, juicy high-profile murder. Be careful what you wish for, Antoinette!

            We follow Conway and Moran as they try to sort out what happened to Murray and who killed her. We are drawn into the sometimes seedy world of the murder detective. Not only do Conway and Moran have to outthink and outwit the bad guys, but Dublin Murder Squad’s only female detective must do this dance with her own colleagues. Has hazing turned to harassment? Is anyone other than Moran in her corner? Wait…is Moran even in her corner?

We are caught up in these squad squabbles with Conway and can feel her reaching her breaking point. These simmer – then boil – beneath the murder investigation.

            Although we suspect from the beginning that the “domestic” answer to Murray’s murder is not the correct answer, it is nonetheless masterful to watch how Conway and Moran work their way to the correct answer.

The Trespasser, like French’s previous novels, is a work woven from the exquisite, extraordinary character development for which she is known. It is, quite simply, another Tana French masterpiece!