This is a standard, textbook whodunnit novel from the gazillionaire writer who brought you Harry Potter. For some reason JK Rowling decided to publish a novel under a pseudonym, wait a bit while the honest reviews came in, and then tell us that she had written this not particularly well selling book so that it rocketed up the charts.
I enjoyed her first grown-up novel The Casual Vacancy so I was interested to see what this would be like. It is good, and nobody can argue that the woman cannot write well, but it is a bit on the clichéd side. It is the story of a private detective hired to find the true story behind the suspicious death of a model.
At 450 pages I found it a little long. The detective goes off to find clues, and we go with him, then he reviews those clues later on while further questioning the suspects, so we get everything twice. We are given just enough clues to keep us guessing, though, and I liked trying to guess whodunnit. There is even the classic, cheesy scene at the end where the detective gets to explain how he worked everything out in great detail to the murderer before the inevitable fight that follows.
Rowling says that she was “channeling her inner bloke” to write this, and some reviewers said they were amazed that a woman had written this. I am not sure why. I am surprised that the writer that could have written quite literally any old thing and people would have bought it went for something of a genre with such an accepted mass appeal.
Apparently there is a sequel in the works and I feel fairly sure, given the writer, that there will be a film. I am not desperately keen to read any more by Rowling’s “inner bloke,” I much preferred her writing as her own female self.