Well, we found out the murderer. And I’m kind of annoyed about it. Making the murderer the person who hired the detective feels like a cheat and a gimmick, not a smart subversion of reader expectations.
Things did get a little juicier in the last parts. The pace picked up, and I read a little faster. Poor Rochelle is tossed over the edge, just like Lula was. Strike finally gets into some tough spots, even though one is with an elderly woman confined to a bed.
But the glimpse of celebs and some exciting detective work (I mean, a little bit at least) doesn’t make up for an ending (and middle?) that fell flat. I like an altercation with the killer as much as the next person, but why on earth would Strike, who is recently injured, has one leg, and has taken off his prosthesis, sit around his office and wait for Bristow to come do him in? I know he was a boxer, but what did he really expect to happen?
And anymore I can’t really get behind these murderers who sit and talk about their crimes. It made sense with Voldemort’s character to figure out what Harry was talking about and try to publicly shame him, but Bristow doesn’t seem like the type to worry and wait to get the whole story. After all, he’s already killed three people without thinking those through. And hired a detective to investigate without thinking that detective might actually solve the crime.
And Robyn is a problem for me. We don’t ever really wonder if she wouldn’t end up with Strike do we? For her to be introduced so early on and garner such admiration from Strike left no doubt in my mind the pair would stay together. (I do like how the end set up more money and greater mysteries for the team though.) I don’t hardly care if Robin flirts with Strike. I actually might prefer she did. I want them to be in love and an entertaining relationship immediately or to never, ever consider it. I am very tired of this in between, will they/won’t they, and I don’t care about Robin enough either way.
Also, we find out Strike’s creditor is his celebrity father? Talk about a let down. We know he’s all talk and ridiculousness. Give me a gangster or an actual banker over Strike’s nonentity dad.
That’s the biggest issue I have with Cuckoo: all the leads to nowhere. Matthew never appears, so I don’t really care if Robin does something to make him mad. Charlotte could have been interesting, but we hardly saw her either. Rowling has let us learn about characters by hearing about them before–Lily Potter and Barry Fairbrother come to mind–but none of the characters in Cuckoo were as interesting to me. And the clues sent us on a wild goose chase for a payoff that wasn’t worth it.
I like a good detective team, but I much prefer Nero Wolfe and Archie. People with personality, you know?
(I bought this book on my own and am not being paid to write about it. But I am a part of the Amazon affiliate’s program, so if you buy through my links I’ll make a little bit of money off of it.)