This book has been written by J K Rowling under a pseudonym. If you don’t know J K Rowling, I suggest you go back to your planet. Anyway, the protagonist in this book is Cormoran Strike, a rather large, hairy man, a fact that you are reminded of repeatedly by the author. I am sure this was to drive home the effect his physical presence would have on people but mostly seems like a very tiresome, elaborate effort to do just that. Subtler mentions would have achieved this with greater impact.

A model with a flourishing career is found dead and while the police has declared this a suicide, Cormoran is roped in to do his own legwork by the model’s brother who suspects there may be foul play involved. The rest of the book follows Cormoran around as he meets up with people he suspects and would like to talk to solve this mystery. And that’s all I can tell you without being a spoilsport.

The back of the book will have you believe that the plot gets darker and Cormoran is dragged into a deeper, more sinister mess but that isn’t true. Most of the interactions he has with suspects are pleasant with a snarl or a grimace thrown in for effect. Physical violence? There was possibly more of that in a Nancy Drew book.

Most authors attempt to take the reader along on a journey of crime solving when they write a book like this. This does not happen here. The things Cormoran sees or the conclusions he draws are hidden from the reader. Rowling tends to alienate the reader in situations where Cormoran studiously takes notes but these are inaccessible to the reader, thus giving no insight into Cormoran’s skills, expertise or thought process. This makes the reader seem like they aren’t on the same team as the protagonist. This also has the effect of intensifying the frustration of the reader as you can’t fathom why Cormoran wants to talk to a certain character or what he’s looking for. A few of the characters seem distant without a cause or anything to hide. There’s no back story or any fathomable reason for their callous attitude and indifference. Plus, the reference to the title of the book is so fleeting, it seems rather contrived.

This coming from an author that gave us Harry Potter makes it a just average read.

To be precise

Book: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

The wallet is lighter by: Rs.500

Destress Quotient: 2 Aahs

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