Very interestingly, I have seen lot of movies that are based on Nicholas Sparks’s books but had never read any book by him. Even in the case of “Safe Haven”, I first noticed the movie but then came across the book before watching the movie. It looks like the author has perfected the art of writing touching, mixed with tragedy and romantic books that are very easy to adapt to movies and both books and movies have done very well.
This is the story of Katie who comes to live in a small town but is very reserved and does not want to mingle with anyone. She is almost scared to settle down or to reveal her past. Her neighbor helps her to overcome some of her hesitation and she falls in love with store owner Alex and his kids. The story unfolds to reveal an abusive policeman husband of Katie from whom she has been running away. She had tried running away earlier but was found by her husband. This time she planned it well and was able to hide for many months but eventually her husband is able to find her. There are twists and turns and a surprise ending.
The story reminds you a lot about “Sleeping with the enemy” but it extends the post runaway story more with romance between Alex and Katie. The most important part is of course appearance of a ghost that was surprising and something that I really did not like. I like surprises in romantic stories but not involving the ghosts even if they are friendly ones. In this story ghost is not the imagination but the actual real person somehow validating the concept of ghosts in real life. I was thinking of watching the movie after finishing the book but now I am not so sure.
Most likely I would not have read this book or even came across this if J. K. Rowling was able to keep it a secret. Once the secret was out, there was no way I would have missed reading it. She had written this book under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith and the secret was known to very few people but somebody ended up giving a hint. I read somewhere that somebody did a writing pattern study using some complex algorithm to figure out that it was actually written by same person who wrote Harry Potter. I am not sure whether this is true or not but I am sure glad that the secret came out.
The cuckoo’s calling is a detective mystery series in the similar tradition of Sherlock Holmes. Here the detective is Cormoran Strike and sidekick is his secretary Robin. First book is the story about supposed suicide of supermodel Lula Landry. Her adopted brother hires Strike to investigate the suicide. As it happens with such mystery stories, the investigation starts to unravel unknown facts, details that police could not find and eventually a very unlikely ending.
I like mystery series like this once in a while but more importantly I liked the interactions of Strike and Robin. She joins as secretary but slowly Strike realizes that she is much more valuable and is an asset in the investigation. Their personal equation also evolves during the story. It is not romantic since Robin already has boyfriend but it borderlines on getting there. It may not be the intention of author but I will definitely look forward to some romance happening between Robin and Strike down the line.
Of course this book is not comparable to Harry Potter and probably no book will ever be. But the aura of Potter series is such that I will read everything that Rowling ever writes.