I pretty much trudged through Robert Galbraith's (aka JK Rowling) The Cuckoo's Calling. It weighs in at 550 pages which is a bit long for the type of middlebrow mystery that I enjoy.
The investigation in the book concerns the death of a popular fashion model. The police see it as a straightforward suicide, but the model's brother is convinced she was murdered. Clues mount up and it begins to look as if the brother is right.
It falls on Cormoran Strike to untangle the lies and alibis.
Strike is a private investigator with an office in London. He has a lot of issues. He ruminates on these issues often. In the evenings, the mornings, pretty much all the time. A former Royal Military Police investigator, he was wounded in Afghanistan, his longtime girlfriend has left him (or he left her, or maybe it was mutual), he had a rough childhood with a drug addict for a mother, he is the illegitimate child of a rock star whom he has only met twice, and he is in debt. He drinks; he smokes; he eats junk food; he bemoans his fate.
He is not really my kind of guy.
Why, you might ask, did I continue in the company of this fellow? I am not sure. Every character introduced had an involved back story and none of them were very endearing. They were all too rich, too arrogant, too thin, too duplicitous.
The only bright spot in the entire tale is Robin Ellacott, Strike's secretary just arrived from a temp agency. Robin's fiance is not too happy about her recent assignment. Robin, however, is thrilled as she has long had a hankering to solve mysteries. Turns out she is good at it.
The pages light up when Robin is in the room. She is resourceful, discreet, organized, thoughtful, and respects Strike's privacy. I liked her.
I kept thinking I would just give up and move on to something else. Eventually, though, I quit arguing with myself and settled into bed each night to find out how Strike and Robin were getting along with the case.
I mentioned in an earlier post that the BBC has created a series based on this book and the two following: The Silkworm and Career of Evil. I think I will learn of Strike's further adventures via the television series. (Please take note, Netflix.)
Have you tried any of the Strike books? What did you think?