The Cuckoo's Calling - Robert Galbraith
Plot: A young supermodel allegedly commits suicide by jumping off her balcony in a wealthy neighborhood in London. Cormoran Strike, an ex-military police officer turned private eye (and the estranged son of a famous Mick Jagger-like rock star) investigates the case on behalf of the model's bereaved brother, who believes she was murdered.
Thoughts: I liked this book. It's a murder mystery that takes place in London - oh, and it's written by J.K. Rowling (under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith); it's got a lot going for it. I enjoyed both of the main characters, Strike and his "girl Friday," Robin Ellacott. I think JKR is really great at writing dialogue and I think she's funny. Both of these skills are on display in this book. But it's dark-ish (not anywhere approaching, say, this Gillian Flynn horror though).
The ending is just a tad silly, but I have to say I did not see it coming. And it does employ a classic JKR deus ex machina plot device. However, the book is super engaging and I felt myself looking forward to reading time each night.
As a side note - very often when I'm reading a book, I try to cast it in my head to make the characters come alive more for me. I can't always think of a perfect actor for every character, but I know the perfect Cormoran Strike: Chris O'Dowd. BBC is turning this into a series and I'm afraid I simply will not be able to watch it if CO'D doesn't play Strike, because he is just so perfect for the role.
Favorite part: I loved the scene where Strike goes to visit Guy Some. Their dialogue was so natural and fluid and funny at times. JKR is so great at writing different voices.
I also loved the scene with Robin and Cormoran in the clothing store. I felt second-hand pride for Robin as she realized that she really has a knack for this profession.
Least favorite part: The reveal of the killer. I really don't want to give anything away here because I do think the killer is one that most people wouldn't guess, but the explanation just seemed a little silly and unlikely.
My grade: B+
Who would I recommend it to: Anglophiles who appreciate snappy, witty dialogue and a good mystery.