Yes! I finished it! 5 days reading in every spare moment it took me but did I enjoy most of them! I love it when a book makes me want to finish work/washing up/return early from the pub in order to read it! And no matter its downsides, this was a very interesting read!
Maybe you have heard the story behing the book’s revealed author: Robert Galbraith supposedly published this book back in April 2013. It had managed to sell 1500 hardcopies and 7000 ebooks, audiobooks and library editions but was ricocheted to Amazon’s no #1 best-selling book (with respective sale figures) on July 14th, when it was revealed that the author was after all J.K.Rowling.
“I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer,” JKR said, “because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”
And after the dessous of the publication, there still are a few things to say about the book, too (yes, there are).
In contrast to Rowiling’s previous book for adults, Casual Vacancy, which was not so well received by audience nor critics, JKR chose to try her luck and writing abilities in a detective story. We could say that the PI genre in fiction goes back to Edgar Allan Poe, who created the character C. Auguste Dupin in the 1840s and finds its height in Sherlock Holmes and Watson of Baker street.
Rowlin’gs novel, even though not amazingly original in ideas is however a very entairtaining and compelling read:
The characters are probably the novel’s strong point: interesting and engaging (the stereotype of the troubled detective, ex-army, with relationship problems etc is still here, although in JKR’s pen he becomes more than a stereotype and lives in flesh and bone through the pages) and you can like or hate them as much as you want but you can’t deny they become real persons with character and personality. Fashion designers, spoiled rich girls, older husbands with fat wallets, homeless wanderers, the it crowd of exclusive clubs and models, the feeling of the book is that of a high paced lifestyle drama.
The plot was also very good, tight and intricate. Without obvious cliff-hangers, as the main event appears in the first page of the book, it still manages to build a complex network of relationships and clues given to the detective by the deceased’s friends and relatives, people who won’t stop babbling or others who refuse to say a word. There was only a question left inadequately explainded for me but I can’t reveal it without spoilers so I won’t.
The only thing that bothered me from time to time was (OK, I don’t know how to phrase that and I’m sure it sounds heretic) her writing style and the names – I mean, Cormoran? Lula Landry? Yvette? Very Rowiling-esque. Maybe she still hasn’t found the voice that will characterisze her adult works? Maybe she had the freedom to work under pseudonym ? Here are a couple of examples:
The chief police investigator had a: “…face the colour of corned beef…”
The protagonist has doubts about his speculations: “Had these minute flurries of black silt been flicked up by a slimy tail or were they nothing but meaningless gusts of algae-fed gas? Could there be something lurking, disguised, buried in the mud, for which other nets had trawled in vain?”
Finally, my professional perversion requires a note on language: the author has captured many interesting accents from various parts of London and various social classes. They work great in the book but they will be hell to translate.
All in all I really liked the book. I am looking forward to Cormoran and Robin’s next adventure. It definitely is no Conan Doyle, Chandler, Simenon or even Stieg Larrson – yet. The so called Queen of storytelling, though, might have more aces up her sleeve.