I haven’t yet found out what kind of magical ingredient J.K. Rowling puts in her novels that hooks me even if the subject doesn’t appeal to me in the least. The spell has worked like a charm for The Casual Vacancy, where she managed to interest me in a small village council politics (in the least noble sense of the word – think rumors, backstabbing and shenanigans around the petits fours). With any other writer I would have abandoned the book after twenty pages, but instead I gulped happily the 15ish hours of audiobook.
And oops, she did it again. (I’m not really sorry to drop Britney Spears references in a so-called literary blog, after all I have been known to drop secret Frozen references in professional meetings just for the fun of it). A private investigator down on his luck taking in the case of a supermodel’s pseudo-suicide. Yes, I have a soft spot for unlucky gumshoe à la Marlow, but supermodels? Fans and paparazzi ? I couldn’t care less.
I can’t say that the plot was riveting and that the twists and secrets the P.I. uncovers along the way took my breath away or were even watertight for the murder explanation (after all, the solving of classic whodunit revolves around some misinterpretation or some key clue that is suddenly shown under a new light, here the issues of the supermodel schedule on the day of her murder and who came in and out of the victim’s buildings dragged forever and proved quite laborious).
No, I just stuck with it because of Cormoran Strike, and let’s be real, not because of his improbable name. How did J.K. Rowling come up with such a name? I thought it was a joke at first, but I guess he’s supposed to be a regular ex-military who tries to He’s just a very likeable character, and flanked with a young, ambitious and very efficient secretary, Robin, I loved every bit of banter they had between those two. This is far from being an original pair, but it was fair game and rather entertaining, especially if you count that I didn’t care about the main topic. I guess I’ll try her second mystery since the action seems to center on writers and publishers.