I never thought I’d be into crime fiction. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it was the big, ominous, plastic covered books that sat on my parent’s bedside table – the ones that always had the author’s turbo-manly name emblazoned in bold across the front. Stuart MacBride and James McNab wrote books for adulty adults. Not for me, the girl with a battered copy of Harry Potter perpetually tucked under her arm. After getting into some truly amazing TV detective shows like Luther, The Missing and True Detective I had to start readdressing how I felt about the crime genre.
Little did I know that that childhood hero of mine, the one who gave us the ultimately loveable Hagrid, Mr. Weasley and Neville Longbottom, had been secretly writing crime novels that have since totally ignited my mundane morning commute. They’re immersive and intriguing and sometimes absolutely disgusting in the best way possible. I find myself strangely in awe of J.K. Rowling’s total depravity and her outstanding characters, who are as real to me now as Harry, Ron and Hermione were at ten-years-old.
In a way, it seems a shame that the Robert Galbraith pseudonym was revealed upon the publishing of ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’, the first of the ‘Cormoron Strike’ detective novels. But for me it was the best thing that could have happened. I know you should never blindly follow an author, but I grew up with this lady whispering stories to me and now she does the same, if in the voice of Robert Glenister, who voices the audiobook version and ‘does all the voices’ amazingly.
For the first time ever, I’ve taken up listening to audiobooks for a reason that isn’t catching up on missed reading at university. Jenny over at Sunny Sweet Pea recommended the series solely based on the audiobook version and I can absolutely see why. After re-activating my Audible subscription, I downloaded the first two books for £7.99, which is a bargain compared to the Amazon one-off audiobook payment. Since July, I’ve plugged in every morning as I leave my house to catch the train to work. Sure, I’m now suspicious of every passer-by I meet along the way, but I have now perfected my ‘shifty-eyed stare’ whilst flicking my coat collar up.
Rowling, or should I say Galbraith, is the ultimate character writer. The series is strikingly modern (lots of detective work involves searching through online forums and the surveillance of recognisable London hangouts), with the two leads intriguingly real, yet recognisably flawed. The image I’ve built of the burly, West-country speaking Cormoran Strike and his gregarious, Northern work partner Robin Ellacot is so real I feel I could recognise them on the street. Having finished the three released titles (The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm and A Career of Evil), the news that the books are to be made into a T.V series makes me hugely excited, yet strangely possessive. I’m not the only one. A quick google search reveals fan fiction, fan art and cosplay galore. You have to love a fandom.
I feel a strange kinship for Strike’s accidental assistant turned detective Robin Ellacot. She’s in her mid-20’s, has moved to London from the countryside to be with her boyfriend, and is hyper-alert to the idea of being competent and dependable. If Emma Watson is cast as Robin my heart will truly sing.
Conclusion? Audiobooks are my new jam. You may think I’m silently singing along to Kings of Leon. WRONG! I am gasping at the big reveal of Cormoran Strike’s newest case. You don’t have to pick up a book to read. You can plug one in instead.
Snug Rating: 4.5/5
Have you read any Robert Galbraith novels? If so, what did you think?
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