Apparently not, and The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith is proof of that.
In April, 2013, when Robert Galbraith released The Cuckoo’s Calling, it sold about 1,500 copies in the UK. A few weeks ago when it was alleged and confirmed that the book was really written by J.K. Rowling, the book sold out, soared to #1 and hundreds of thousands of copies of the hardbound edition were reprinted.
This story was featured in many online news sites and blogs last week (and is still being featured), and what got me really curious was that all the articles I read focused on the author being J.K. Rowling, and nothing at all about what the novel was all about. All the articles mentioned was that it was a crime novel – written by J.K. Rowling.
So, I read it because, first and foremost, I was curious as to what it was about. J.K. Rowling being the novel’s author was not my sole reason for reading this, though I admit that if it didn’t receive so much publicity, I probably would never even have noticed it, especially with a title like The Cuckoo’s Calling – it doesn’t actually scream “interesting!”
In my defense, I’m not a huge fan of J.K. Rowling – of course I’ve read all her Harry Potter books, but because the story did not seem interesting, I never bothered to read her first ‘adult’ novel, The Casual Vacancy. Since The Cuckoo’s Calling was a crime fiction novel, I decided to give it a try.
The protagonist of the story is Cormoran Strike, an ex Royal Military Police turned private detective, who is on the verge of failing in every aspect of his life – his business, his love life, not to mention his social life when he is hired by a wealthy man to re-investigate the apparent suicide of his adopted sister, supermodel, Lula Landry (doesn’t sound AT ALL like a name from Harry Potter….).
Though Lula was mentally unstable, extremely spoiled, and oftentimes unhappy with her life, her brother had reason to believe that she was excited about her future and would never think to kill herself.
Contrary to initial police investigations and lack of suspects, Lula’s brother strongly believes that Lula was pushed off her posh apartment by an unknown man and pleads with Strike to investigate the case.
My honest opinion of this novel is that it is very ordinary. There was nothing special about the plot – no twists and turns, and not a lot of suspense or intrigue. The characters were a bit one-dimensional and except for the protagonist, Strike, none of the other characters really stood out, and the main reason for the plot or events in the novel were lost on me (maybe I need to read it again…but, no thanks!).
It’s a very dry, dull, boring read – regardless of who wrote it. Robert Galbraith being really J.K. Rowling really helped this novel. It helped The Cuckoo’s Calling turn from a mediocre crime novel written by a nobody to a mediocre novel written by a world-famous, multi-millionaire author.
Does knowing who really wrote this book make it more interesting? Sadly, no, but it will make J.K. Rowling a whole lot richer.
The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013)
Robert Galbraith J.K. Rowling
Mulholland Books; 359 pages
Personal rating: 2/5