When I read the first Robert Galbraith novel “The Cuckoo’s calling” I was instantly drawn into the characters of Cormoran Strike and Robin. First it was a “striking” name (pun intended), really, Cormoran Strike? Is that a name ? Then as you get drawn into the plot and the mental picture of this man, you are hooked. When you realise that its J K Rowling writing under the pen name of Robert Galbraith, you realise her success is totally justified. Her books are genuinely outstanding.
I was reading an important and very interesting book by Gayatri Jayaraman titled “Who me, Poor?” and when Krishnan asked me for a fiction book suggestion I asked him to read “Cuckoo’s calling”. Didn’t stop with giving the suggestion, I also went to the kindle store and looked up Robert Galbraith, only to realise that I had missed the fourth book “Lethal White”. I bought it instantly and started to read. Huge mistake…. We were in the middle of packing for a trip and I had several coaching conversations to complete, BUT, this book is irresistible.
From the word go, the author just builds the plot in such a way that you want to turn the page and know where it leads. From when Billy, a mentally distressed young man enters Strike’s office to investigate a crime he assumes he has witnessed, to Strike attending Robin’s marriage and asking her to join back, to a minister in the government asking Strike to investigate a colleague, to his wife’s obsession with horses, the whole plot is complex and riveting. Till the very last minute you never figure out who kills the minister and the reason for the ruffian activist blackmailing him. Utterly fascinating. Ofcourse the romantic tension between Robin and Strike keeps building and as Robin’s marriage hits a rocky patch, you hope she would finally admit to her feelings…. but this book too ends without both of them admitting to their feelings.
What I absolutely love about Robert Galbraith aka J K Rowling’s writing is, while the romantic angle is palpable, pages aren’t dedicated to the soft porn that many western novelists use to lure readers. If a spy/detective/crime novel needs soft porn to sell, then something is wrong ! Have no such worries with this one. It is refreshing and a genuinely engaging plot. Five stars and more. Definitely recommended.
Warning – Don’t start this book if you are working on something important. I completed reading it over two days, but many things were put on hold. I left the other interesting book half read, and completed reading this before going back to it.