THE CUCKOO’S CALLING
by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Published April 30th 2013
By Mulholland Books / Little, Brown & Co.
Purchased from Amazon
When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.
A war veteran, wounded both physically and psychologically, Strike’s life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .
A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London – from the hushed streets of Mayfair, to the backstreet pubs of the East End, to the bustle of Soho – The Cuckoo’s Calling is a remarkable debut. Introducing Cormoran Strike, it is a classic crime novel unlike any other book you will read this year. – GOODREADS
My Thoughts on THE CUCKOO’S CALLING
This is another great book by J.K. (aka Robert Galbraith).
When I first heard about this book I was very keen to read it as soon as possible. If the secret author (J.K. Rowling) hadn’t been revealed by the wife of someone in the know, then I’m sure that it wouldn’t have crossed my radar. Thanks so much to the lady that spilled the beans, and let the secret out of the bag. It meant that I got to read it.
The story starts with the tragic death (by suicide) of a famous supermodel, which sets London abuzz, grabs the headlines and fills the scandal-driven magazines and newspapers. Apparently living the high life and rolling in money wasn’t enough for the beautiful Lula Landry.
Cormoran Strike is a private investigator who has led quite a full and varied life. His life is at a crossroad as he finds himself in the throes of a personal crisis. To top it off, his business isn’t going so well and he’s having a bit of trouble paying his bills.
Months after the death of Lula Landry has faded from the headlines, a new client (who has a link to Strike’s past) arrives at his office with a request to investigate the mysterious death of the supermodel. After a bit of convincing, Strike decides to take on the case, after all, he has a load of bills to pay. And so the biggest case in Strike’s career begins.
We follow the case as Strike searches for clues and motive that had been missed or discounted by police months earlier. My impression of Strike was one of an unkept, untidy character, who was very clever and methodical. The story isn’t full of action scenes or alternate worlds, or exotic settings. It’s very character driven and I really loved going through the journey with Strike (as if I was sitting on his shoulder) and watching him wind his way through the investigation. He seemed to me like a modern day Mrs Marple.
I thought that Robin, Strike’s temporary secretary, was a great character as well. She was super efficient and had always dreamed of somehow being involved in the work of a private investigator. We saw her loyalty to Strike grow throughout the story, along with some hidden talents that proved very helpful. There were a couple of scenes that involved Robin, which I thought were great. One being in the dress shop change room, and the other when she attempted an Australian accent. As an Aussie (I don’t have an accent – it’s the rest of the world that has accents), J.K’s spelling of an Aussie accent made me laugh out loud (oy’m = I’m, shiz not here = she’s not here, my nem’s Annabel = my name’s Annabel) … so funny.
This book also provides a glimpse into the lives of the rich and famous. It shows the pressures of constant attention from the paparazzi, and also highlights the excesses that become normal to many celebrities. Many of us dream of being rich and famous, even though we constantly see the dark side of it in the news. Fame is like a moth to a flame – some who go there get burnt.
There were so many possibilities along the way, that I found myself constantly switching my suspicions from one character to another throughout the book. Once the story begins to wrap up, all of the clues along the way start to fall into place. For those of you who have kept reading my whole review, I’ve got one thing to say. At the end we found out that … read it yourself 🙂
This was another great book by J.K. (aka Robert Galbraith). She has shown again that she can write great character driven stories that engage the reader, even without a fantastic alternate world such as that of the HP books.
PS. Here’s a tip – This book is for an adult audience.
More from Robert Galbraith
Note: I don’t claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.