The Cuckoo’s Calling – three stars

I felt like a complete break from fantasy, and while I’ve always really enjoyed a good crime thriller, I just haven’t had time to read any for a while. I had heard good things about Rowling’s foray into crime, so I picked this up.
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A quick comment on Rowling given the controversy around her at the moment. I do not for a single second support any kind of trans-phobic, homophobic, or otherwise offensive or inappropriate commentary on any race, religion, or sexuality. Any such commentary is beyond hurtful, ignorant, and plain wrong. But, as an author with a first hand view of some of this, I am extremely uncomfortable with cancel culture. I’m not qualified enough, or understand enough about Rowling’s situation, to comment with any kind of authority, so I won’t. Read her books if you still want to, or stop reading/buying them entirely. That’s a personal choice everyone is entitled to make – and a choice I believe should come free of judgement or shame.
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Back to the book… the murder/crime aspect of this book was top notch. Rowling’s plotting is excellent, layered, and complex, and keeps you hooked all the way through. I never had a problem picking the book back up again once I’d put it down. Her characters, though, are almost the opposite. There’s not a lot of subtlety in how she draws her characters, with a lot of blunt and detailed descriptions rather than allowing the reader to learn characters through more subtle cues. I didn’t mind this too much, but I do generally prefer more nuanced characterisation. I also wasn’t a huge fan of Robin’s stereo-typical secretarial role, and thought Rowling might have given her female MC a bit more agency and involvement in the crime solving… but there are signs this is going to change (and having already moved onto book 2, I can say it definitely does). Overall, I really enjoyed it, enough to move on to the next one. ⭐⭐⭐ from me.

QOTD: Who’s your favourite crime/thriller author?

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