Saturday, July 5, 2014

P.I. Cormoran Strike Series by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)

The second book in J.K. Rowling's (writing as Robert Galbraith) P.I. Cormoran Strike series, THE SILKWORM, is already out. I read the sample pages; the writing style and Rowling's potty mouth have not improved, IMHO. I think it's even worse than the first book. Rowling's followers are eating up the 2 books and I am genuinely bewildered by it. A year ago, I wrote on my food blog my thoughts on the series debut, THE CUCKOO'S CALLING, a copy is below.

When THE CUCKOO'S CALLING first came out, it didn't sell well, only 1500 copies the first 3 months, maybe because it is simply crappy...pardon my language. Although Rowling denied she had knowledge of "outing" her as the author, I have my doubts. I believe the publishers thought they had to do something about the slow movement of the book and "accidentally" divulged to the media who the real author of the book was. Naturally, the sales and 5 star ratings [from Rowling's die-hard sheeple] went through the roof. I read it before it became a best seller and I understand why NO ONE with a sound mind wanted to recommend the book to their friends; maybe to their worst enemies perhaps to torture them.

    Goose Egg

from my food blog
THE CUCKOO'S CALLING  by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)  
After a long long pause I decided to write a review of a novel again. I occasionally wrote short reviews and recommendations in the past but had gotten tired and stopped. This book however compelled me to write one, not because it was amazingly great, but because I did something that I never have done before with any other books no matter how boring, i.e. I stopped reading at page 105 and NEVER finished the book. I didn't want to torture myself and so this is the very FIRST TIME I abandoned a book.
The quite lengthy book at 455 pages is a mystery/crime which is one of my favorite genres. The main characters are Cormoran Strike, an Afghan war veteran turned Private Eye and his supposed to be just a temporary female assistant, Robin. The P.I was hired by the brother of a young model who committed suicide to find out if she was actually murdered.
I will not elaborate on the story but will list down the reasons why I didn't like the book one bit.
  • The story is very simple which is not a bad thing but there is nothing new, extraordinary, or exciting to this novel. It's just same old same old "is it suicide or murder?", lacking layers and intrigue to reel you in to the story. I was able to guess with certainty the killer very early on. 
  • There are too many side stories and descriptions of places and people that serve no purpose. It's as though the author was paid per word.
  • The characters are not well defined. I saw them all as cardboard figures cut out from a template. I waited for distinct personalities to emerge but they never did. They, including the 2 main characters are all dull and have one voice, no distinction between men and women. It's very frustrating for me not to be able to picture in my mind the different people, most specially the P.I. 
  • Dropping F and C bombs page after page after page; it's a major pet peeve of mine. Uttering swear words constantly doesn't make a character edgy and cool, nor does it add anything to the story line. 

I don't know who Rowling is targeting to read this book. I'm guessing she is encouraging her Harry Potter fans to try reading mystery in addition to fantasy. If she wants people like me to read her mystery books, she has to do better. Hiring a really good editor for her next installment of Strike series is a must. I, for one will not be reading the sequel.
I may be too spoiled for having read hundreds of books by my favorite and, in my honest opinion, best British mystery writers ever:
Ellis Peters/Edith Pargeter
P.D. James
          Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine

          Agatha Christie

          Dorothy L. Sayers

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