J.K. Rowling. That woman has certainly built herself a name that elicits a reaction. Usually a positive reaction, I would say, due to an almost-universal love of Harry Potter (I try not to dwell on the fact that I have to qualify this love with an “almost”). Sometimes a negative reaction, I would also venture to say, in the case of The Casual Vacancy. Then there is the reaction ignited by The Cuckoo’s Calling — a reaction that deserves its own realm for consideration. I just finished reading The Cuckoo’s Calling last night, and while I know that it seems a little behind the times, I was a little busy when the news first struck that Robert Galbraith was, in fact, a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling. Yes, I was busy. I was busy dealing with the chaos that exploded across the publishing industry in the wake of this discovery. Once bedlam had subsided, I finally got a chance to crack open that spine and check out Ms. Rowling’s newest work.
While I truly do enjoy books across the entire spectrum of genres, I wouldn’t say that a mystery is ever my “go-to” genre if I’m looking for the next book I might fall in love with. But if there are a myriad of mysteries out there that are on-par with The Cuckoo’s Calling, then I’ll admit that I’ve been overlooking a genre that should have more clout in my personal reading world. Just like in The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling once again proves that she can create truly vivid and authentic characters. These characters are the kind that are so true-to-life, you wouldn’t be surprised to meet someone from her novel tomorrow, if the characters don’t already remind you of someone you know. But unlike The Casual Vacancy, this book is not wholly entrenched in the darkness of human nature and the dreariness of life. This book was filled with hope but without taking any of the easy ways out. The plot was engrossing, with just enough twists and turns to be surprising without being too far-fetched.
While I whole-heartedly understand her motivation for writing under a pseudonym (I can’t imagine the pressure that comes with that name of hers, but I can imagine that feeling of freedom to write in anonymity and enjoy writing simply for the love of the art), I hope that she doesn’t pull this move on me again. Maybe it’s because I’m from the Harry Potter generation, but I plan to continue reading every story that comes out of J.K. Rowling.