dorinda: Cary Grant, in "Bringing Up Baby," clutches his head beneath the letters "OMG WTF". (WTF_CaryGrant)
posted by [personal profile] dorinda at 12:40pm on 31/03/2017 under ,
Has anyone else out there read the first detective novel by "Robert Galbraith" (revealed to be J.K. Rowling), "The Cuckoo's Calling"?

Because I just finished the audiobook yesterday--read by one of my favorite audiobook readers, Robert Glenister (actor, brother of Philip)--and am a bit grumpy about it. (Though Robert Glenister does a terrific job, as always. ♥)

The thing is, it's full of cliches (which granted I might call "tropes" if I liked 'em better) that feel so worn out and negative. Not that an old trope is a bad thing--detective stories are a big old trope in action!--but I don't know, things felt old in a tired/irritating way, not in a classic/familiar way.

The one that bugged me maybe the most (other than the identity of the killer, which will be under cut) was the whole setup and dynamic with Cormoran Strike (detective)'s new assistant. She's a young woman, who ends up basically caretaking and mommying him, cleaning up the office, making him tea, asking what's wrong, following & nannying him when he gets smashed-aggressive-drunk, managing his feelings. It's kind of like Effie from The Maltese Falcon, except with decades upon decades more time and more books having gone by so the stereotype is both exhausted and exhausting. (Also, Effie is a bit more feisty.) A naive young woman being an older man's pretty-but-off-limits-mommy, BLEAAHHHHHHHHHH.

Also, I was baffled by

the identity of the killer. I mean, totally baffled. Because the thing is, the book never ever explains why on earth the guy who killed her would then go and put a PI on the case, when everybody and their dog was convinced it was suicide. To stay undetected, obviously all he had to do was DO NOTHING. Go about his life.

But instead, I guess for the SHOCKING SURPRISE, it's him, against all reason. Someone online suggested he hired Strike to make sure the uncle got nabbed for the crime, but I don't remember any reference to that in the book at all. And it still wouldn't have made sense--he would've had to have made some moves toward framing the uncle at least a little tiny bit, and I didn't see anything.

Also other completely convenient irrationalities on the killer's part--keeping the super-incriminating cell phone locked up in the home safe, because "he didn't dare dispose of it"??? You telling me he "didn't dare" remove the sim card & smash it & flush it, smash the phone body, run it over, drop the empty phone in the river...oh, try ANYTHING other than keeping the entire phone and its contents intact in his own home safe with a new combination only he knew? Cripes.

The book seems to possibly sense that the solution is based on a lot of irrational self-defeating behavior on the killer's part, because after the reveal Strike keeps saying he's "insane", "a psychopath", etc. etc. Oh I see, he's SO cRAzy that he only gets away with his crimes due to lashings of sheer chance funneled to him by the author. And that's also the only reason there's enough proof to convict (e.g. cell phone in safe, ridiculous confession under pressure in PI's office, attacking PI ditto, etc.). Uch.

In short, wah. I was hoping I'd really like the book, partly because there are more in the series now (of course), and the audiobooks are all read by Robert Glenister. Also, it's being filmed for TV, with Tom Burke (Athos on The Musketeers) as Cormoran Strike, and that might very well be enjoyable.

Dammit, book! Be more good!

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