Excursions

by Amit Gawande

Book Review: The Cuckoo''s Calling

The novel is an entertaining read overall. Expected given that it is penned by an experienced story weaver. But then it also has those parts that make the experience average, at times.

It starts out promisingly, Strike interested me. So did Robin (sigh!) and their case at hand. Mystery is woven, with the prose heavily studded in the initial part. Studded it felt, given I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It made me know the characters, though very few, more.The main characters and the plot are built perfectly at about a forth into the book. And then it gets stuck.

The mystery that was revealed stays the same; neither does it become more intriguing nor clearer. Lots and lots of characters get introduced, but hardly any new information is unravelled. It was during this time when the prose, that I had initially relished, became a hinderance to my enjoyment. Especially ones that broke the flow of conversation. So unnecessary they felt, so much so that I skipped some paragraphs.

The plot does pick up towards the final third of the book. Unnecessary prose continue. But this is also when the book becomes unputdownable. So much is revealed, in such intriguing a way. And the plot stays interesting till the end. The climax, unlike so many mystery novels, doesn’t feel dragged. The mystery is unravelled in satisfactory a way; a way I do not usually cherish however.

Yes, I do not cherish the style of suspense novels when we do not have the access to the detective’s thoughts. Style where the key information, or the interpretations, are hidden from the reader only to be revealed at the end. The Cuckoo’s Calling presents Strike this way. Satisfactory, but not preferred.

And that’s where the novel lets me down, unnecessary prose, non-preferred style of revealing suspense and too slow a mid-third. Overall, though, for the way the plot & the characters are introduced and the case closed, this is a one-time read for sure.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars