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on 17 August 2017
I read this suspense/detective story several years ago when it was first published - mainly because it was written by my favourite children's author JK Rowling and I was curious how she would tackle this genre of book for adults. Overall, I was not disappointed, although I found the slowness of the plot hard going, I kept losing interest and the numerous characters seemed very stereotyped, forgettable and quite boring, and to be truthful, after a few chapters, I didn't really care whether the case was solved or not. The book was only redeemed by the imaginative creation of the complex main character, Strike, supported by the endearing character of Robin.
HOWEVER - I re-read the book this week (after almost 4 years) and except for the ending, I had forgotten such a lot of the plot that it was like reading a new book. Also, because I remembered the ending, I appreciated the way the plot progressed much more than the first time and enjoyed very much more the wonderful character of Strike. I also re-discovered tucked away in chapters, little nuggets of the special Rowling wit and flair - and I might read this book again in another four years.
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on 31 August 2017
Thoroughly enjoyed the book. It had me gripped and I really believed the characters I was reading about. Early on in the book the phrase "long snouted..." was mentioned and I wondered if there were to be any further references to the magical world of Harry Potter. I don't believe there was! Having been a fan of the Potter books and having read 'A Casual Vacancy' I am impressed how Rowling has switched her writing style. Not that I didn't enjoy her other books but this had additional depth. Would recommend.
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on 12 January 2018
I bought and read this before the TV series. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Well fleshed out characters including the female sidekick, which is unusual.
Difficult to see the end as plot is twisted in a good way but i did work it out but did not enjoy it any the less. I've since bought the others in the series and enjoyed them too.
I've now watched the TV adaption and its quite true to the book so if you've come to it the other way around you'll find it so too. I enjoyed spotting where the narrative changed slightly.
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on 11 October 2015
The first time I read this book I wasn't impressed, but on reflection, I was probably comparing it too much with JKR's writing style in Harry Potter. This time around, the parallels between her writing here and in the Potter books are present eg. the comedy, the observations of characters... And I thoroughly enjoyed the book this time around. I bought it from a seller through Amazon and was impressed with the speedy delivery. I found the characters to be much more worldly this time around too and just generally, the story was easy to read and flowed well. My only reason for not giving it five stars was that I felt the book was quite long and for what it was, perhaps could have been slightly shorter. Especially when there are interrogation scenes that go on for pages and can feel a little bit dull at times. But on the whole, an interesting insight into someone's opinion on the world of celebrity and crime; and what happens when the two mix.
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on 19 January 2016
Not a great deal to add to numerous reviews. It's a compelling murder mystery, with some interesting characters. Cormoran PI is intriguing, with a back story that affects his current situation and relationships. Jury's out as to whether I'll feel sufficiently engaged to 'follow' his later exploits. I found him difficult to like or dislike and my interest in him was limited. The plot was barely plausible, but I did keep reading...
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on 12 October 2014
This was Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling)’s first book about Cormoran Strike, an impoverished private detective. Strike, who has lost a leg in action in the army, takes on a new case on the same day he has a new temporary secretary, Robin, who has just become engaged. She is efficient, and he is a whole lot more organised than at first seems likely. With her help he delves into the mystery of why a young and well-known model fell to her death from a luxury flat.

My general impression was that it was very readable, and on the whole, a page turner. I was interested to know what was going to happen and I particularly liked the relationship between Strike and Robin and felt empathy for them.

However, on the downside, I felt irritated by the constant swearing in the minds or mouths of most of the main characters. I also found that there were too many characters for me, and some of them I’d forgotten by the time I met up with them again.

When Strike and Robin weren’t both in the scene, something was lost, and I was bored at the scene when Strike meets up with Duffield, the model’s fiancé, in a club; it seemed to go on too long and I couldn’t remember at the end whether or not Strike discovered anything important. It just seemed to be there as padding, or perhaps to give us a glimpse of the glamorous side of that sort of world.

Towards the end, I came upon the denouement by Strike. This was supposed to be a suspenseful event, but it was so long-winded it lost its impetus. Seeing that Strike was revealing all to the killer, who knew most of it already, it doesn’t make sense that they would both sit there through it. It reminded me of the ending of a Poirrot, which is a bit old-fashioned these days. It would probably have been better if Strike had revealed all to Robin, and then had the killer come in for a couple of pages of suspense.

So on the whole, I enjoyed it, but there could have been some pruning and cutting and I would have given it a higher rating, had it been more streamlined. So I'd say 3.5 stars.
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on 11 September 2017
I enjoyed the TV show and wanted to see what the book was like. I was not disappointed. The characterisation and descriptions in the book are spot on. The only reason I can't give it 5 stars is the ending which does not stand up to scrutiny/critical analysis. Read the book and you'll know what I'm talking about. Baggiejim
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on 12 March 2015
This is a very readable mystery, if a little predictable at times. It begins with a good punch, the sudden death of celebrity. model Lula.
Its main strength lies in the characters of private detective Cormoran Strike and his secretary Robin, and the way the book describes the mundane side of Strike-s job- meticulous writing up of details, plodding through the details, painstaking assemblage of information and clues. We glimpse the Rowling hall mark from the Potter series- a playful way with names- a bird strike against planes? Robin to Batman? However many of the characters are one dimensional stereotypes, such as Lula's friend Rochelle, Lula's mother and the aspiring driver. The focus was at times so much on the artificial values of 21st century London life and the celebrity culture that it felt like stepping into a Ben Elton book. Much of the story is told through dialogue and the final showdown between Strike and the killer goes on and on and on! This book is clever but without depth, skilled but without soul, 'duende' as the Spanish call it,. and for this reason I gave it three stars.
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on 7 November 2015
I have never read any Harry Potter, but did read The Casual Vacancy, and thought that I would give J.K.Rowling in her other disguise as Robert Galbraith a go. Overall I enjoyed it, but I cannot say that I was overcome with joy and ecstasy and the pure brilliance of the writing and the plot, because I was not. The story is well put together, and I enjoyed the characters as they were depicted clearly. The plot was cleverly drawn. I felt at times there were lengthy descriptions of events that were not particularly important to the overall telling of the story .Cormoran Strike is like many others characters in other books e.g Gerald Seymour and Michael Dobbs that are detectives or pseudo detectives/spies, backward look at life in the army etc. Overall an enjoyable read, and I will certainly follow the further adventures of Strike
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on 16 October 2013
Just finished (on my lunch break, because I just could not wait!) the first detective investigation by Cormoran Strike. What can I say, it was a real page turner from about 60-70% off the book, but I could not forget the slow and a bit tedious narrative in the beginning. I guess it can be explained: we need a proper introduction to the main characters and their background (as it is the first book of the series), and I braved through the first half of "The Cuckoo's Calling".

Not to talk about the plot (it's a detective mystery!) and not to go into the whole J.K. Rowling's obsession on pseudonyms, I took the book as it was. And it was not the best (but mind you, absolutely not the worst!) detective novel. Overall, it was good, but quite structured in revealing all the hints and insinuations - almost too systematic. Let me explain further: first half of the book, the reader is not given any hints and clues, the author is greedy. Then, suddenly, half through the novel, the author starts to drop hints one after the other. You know that point in any book when you have enough information to start building up your theories? And last night, for the first time after starting "Cuckoo's Calling" a week ago (you see - quite slow in the beginning!), I spend a few hours drinking numerous cups of tea and gulping down the book page after page. That was the highlight. At about 10% before the book was to end the author revealed everything by taking her time to explain the motives, the reasoning and everything else behind what was the murder... or assisted suicide... or suicide... You will have to find out.

I will, most probably, read the next book in the series. And what is it if not an indication that the author (we all know who!) did well.
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