Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Husband's Secret VS The Cuckoo's Calling: Dubuque Tournament of Books, Round One

This week we'll be posting the judges' decisions for the first round of the 2nd Annual Dubuque Tournament of Books. To see an overview of the judges and contestants, check out this blog post.

Judge: Bethany

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
The Cuckoo’s Calling is a masterfully orchestrated mystery. The novel is long, with many characters and great detail; which leaves the "who dunnit" up in the air for 95% of the book. The abundance of dialog at times feels drawn out, but gives it a more realistic perspective. As a reader, you really have to pick and choose and pay attention to facts if you’re trying to sleuth through it with the protagonist. Most mysteries I’ve read, if the book goes into any great detail, it must be integral to the answer, and possibly gives the ending away. This simply wasn't the case with The Cuckoo's Calling, the details did all come together, but, as I said, in a masterfully orchestrated way. “Orchestrated” seems to be the most accurate way to describe J.K. Rowling’s execution and conclusion.

This book has seriously raised the bar for my expectations in a mystery. Since reading The Cuckoo’s Calling, I have read a number of “who dunnit” books that have been unsuccessful at measuring up.

Having read J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, I see some of the similarities in her character development and "page turning" writing. The subjects are far from similar and this is definitely an adult vs. youth oriented book. I wouldn't call it a suspense novel, but it is a great puzzle. I'd happily recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

This author could not have been more in my head. Liana Moriarty has an uncanny ability to portray real characters. Her writing style is fabulous, and I look forward to reading more from her. Her writing is what carries 70% of the book for me. The other 30% is a captivating plot line. I wouldn’t call this a must-read-in-one-day-thriller type, but compelling still. The story captures a segment in time where there is an apex between a handful of characters in their own kind of crisis. She does a great job of making you identify with them and more importantly, care what happens to them.

As for the story line, I’ll say it is an illustration of human fragility and mystery that culminates with a certain harmony and balance. If you are a reader who prefers a tidy ending, where you have every question answered, this is a book for you. All three of the main characters are searching to find their way and ultimately they find answers in a maybe unexpected way.

Round 1 Choice:
I enjoyed both novels for their compelling mystery elements. Both also had wonderful character development that truly carried the stories. Having said that, I happen to identify and enjoy the characters more in The Husband’s Secret. There is more of a heartfelt connection in The Husband’s Secret that The Cuckoo’s Calling didn’t possess. For me, that element tipped the scales in favor of The Husband’s Secret, my choice for round one.

No comments:

Post a Comment