Title: The Cuckoo's Calling
Author: Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling)
Number of pages: 561
Genre: mystery
Book Number/Goal: 44/52
My Rating: 3/5

Strike, a private detective suffering from financial and personal problems, gets a job of investigating a suicide of a popular model, whose brother believes that she was murdered. With the help of a temporary assistant Robin, Strike delves into the world of rich and fashionable.

The writing style is pleasant, featuring long, elaborate sentences with impeccable punctuation and subtle humor. Another strong point of the book is the evolving non-sexual but complicated friendship between Strike and Robin. But as a detective story, it's a disaster. The plot slowly crawls through the tangled web of relationships and connections between zillions of unsympathetic characters. Most of the investigation is carried out through talking and googling - no lab work, chasing or fighting. Rowling may be a master of details, but as long as they describe an inherently boring world, they're pointless.
Title: Hidden Doors, Secret Rooms
Author: Jamie Eubanks
Number of pages: 341
Genre: thriller, sci-fi
Book Number/Goal: 45/52
My Rating: 3/5

A woman and her little daughter are stranded in the blizzard. Luckily, they stumble upon a cabin of a retired musician. But he can't decide if he wants to help; the woman appears to be on the run from the FBI, and moreover, she possesses some mysterious and dangerous abilities.

The atmosphere is genuinely tense, and the mystery is nicely developed and explained, including an eerie, unexpected twist. Two biggest annoyances: the prominent romantic angle, and too much focus on the little girl, promoting the message (unintended by the author) that children are a burden and always mess up good plans.


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