Monday, February 09, 2015

The Cuckoo’s Calling

I was going to participate in the Cannonball Read over at Pajiba, but after reading 7 books, the thought of writing reviews for each one was a little daunting... So, I am going to put the reviews up here instead. Sound fair?

This book is a fairly straightforward private detective story. As it is the first appearance of these characters, there are significant portions of the book devoted to backstory and establishing the rules of this particular version of modern England. The mystery is fairly straightforward: a supermodel has fallen from her balcony in the middle of a snowy night. The police have determined that she committed suicide, but her brother is not convinced and hires a private detective, Cormoran Strike to find the truth. As Strike and his temporary secretary go about working this case, we are introduced to who these characters are and what drives them. The mystery itself unfolds in bits and pieces, with the author doing an excellent job of parceling out clues.

As with any private detective story, The Cuckoo’s Calling’s success or failure is going to hinge on the main character. Cormoran Strike and his secretary Robin Ellacott are both compelling characters who feel fully drawn, even when they are conforming to the demands of the genre. Strike is a loner, nursing a recent break-up, while Robin is almost too good to be true in her role as the innocent temporary secretary who ends up providing valuable assistance to Strike. Books like this expose the difficulty of writing in a genre: staying true to the form, but making the characters feel natural, rather than just a type.

It really isn’t possible to write about this book without talking about the author. This was originally published under the name of Robert Galbraith, which is of course a pseudonym for J. K. Rowling. The authorship question certainly brought more attention to this book, but it is a successful private eye novel, no matter who wrote it. There are elements of her style on display here, but this book shows her obvious affection for the field. 

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Mid-Life Crisis

So according to a recent survey, 30% of men and 21% of women are going to deal with their mid-life crisis by purchasing a car. Most men would buy a sports car (duh) and women would buy an SUV. That is interesting... I would love to buy a car to make me feel better about the choices I've made over the years... I would probably go with a Porsche Boxter:

The wind whipping by... the insurance $$$$$ just flying out the window... good times.

The sad reality is that based on many of those aforementioned choices, I could only really afford this:

Look out ladies...


Look, I understand that marketing in today's world is hard. It always bugs me when people just say stupid things in their promotional material though. It isn't hard to be excited about something, without being a moron....

What's irritated me enough to post something? Well, Van Halen is releasing a live cd soon... They are calling it their 'definitive' live performance. Really? Call it whatever you want, but when I think definitive Van Halen live performance with David Lee Roth, I think this:

Not this:

Remember, words are important... I think I may have said that before, somewhere.