The Cuckoo’s Calling

Cuckoo's CallingThe Cuckoo’s Calling

by Robert Galbraith
Page 1, paragraph 1:
Snow fell steadily on to hats and shoulders; gloved fingers wiped lenses clear. From time to time there came outbreaks of desultory clicking, as the watchers filled the waiting time by snapping the white canvas tent in the middle of the road, the entrance to the tall red-brick apartment block behind it, and the balcony on the top floor from which the body had fallen.”
Page 1, paragraph 2:
“To fill the time, the woolly-hatted cameramen filmed the backs of the photographers, the balcony, the tent concealing the body, then repositioned themselves for wide shots that encompassed… the sedate and snowy Mayfair street, with its [description of apartment block]…”

You’ve read about editors who rejected manuscripts, only to discover later on they’d passed up best sellers?

Such would be the case if I were an editor.

After reading page 1 of The Cuckoo’s Calling, I put it down. I figured repetition of the same phraseology twice in one page didn’t bode well for the rest of the storytelling. Only the fact that J.K. Rowling was the real author got me to pick it up again.

Once I got past trying to Potterize it— Robin is obviously Hermione, but is Strike supposed to be Mad Eye Moody or Hagrid?— it turned out to be a pretty good story. Believable enough characters, nice enough plot twists, few enough anachronisms, and I do enjoy being transported back to familiar scenes and feelings from my spat in London.

“Mr. Galbraith” has been offered a film deal, and it’ll make for a fun movie. Even stripped of all magic, the writing is solid and Rowling has proven herself yet again to be a gifted storyteller. She got picked up as a newbie— twice?

Kind of makes me “fill the time” loving her and hating her at the same time, which time I am filling with mixed feelings of love and hate.

“If it’s bad, I’ll hate it. If it’s good, I’ll be envious and hate it even more.”
—Ernest Hemingway’s character from Midnight in Paris

6 thoughts on “The Cuckoo’s Calling”

  1. Wow. I guess even great writers make some bad writing choices! Though I’m not sure if I feel encouraged by her getting picked up twice or discouraged by her ability to be that marketable…


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