Title: The Cuckoo’s Calling
Series: Cormoran Strike, #1
Author: Robert Galbraith
Genre: Mystery, Crime
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Release Date: April 30th, 2013
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.
Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this. Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
Being a huge fan of J.K. Rowling, I knew I absolutely had to read this series. This is what initially led me to pick up this book. Now, to be honest, I am torn between a three-star and a four-star review. There were parts of The Cuckoo’s Calling that I loved and parts that I could have gone without. That said, I am glad I picked up this book and I do look forward to reading the next in the series.
The overall story was interesting and I found myself eager to follow along. Some parts of the plot slowed down, however I never completely lost interest. You find yourself engaging with the story through its entirety. The main characters, Robin and Cormoran, were unique and continued to develop well throughout the book. In fact, I really enjoy main characters who have flaws and seem very real. I feel that my only true complaint was that some of the wording was excessive and drawn out. All in all, The Cuckoo’s Calling was a wonderful first book in a series that promises to continue to be a new favorite.
If you like classic detective fiction, you’ll find comforting familiarity with this contemporary crime novel. The pacing is done well, so that you feel really engaged with the story the whole way through. Not being British, I have no idea how close to reality the concept of the crime and the major players are, but it didn’t feel forced. Robin is a great character, Cormoran is a great character, and the way characters were described in the story was wonderfully complete.
In terms of the mystery, I did entertain the notion of whodunnit, and it turns out I was correct but I didn’t see the whole backstory coming. I wouldn’t say there’s a shocking twist, or anything terribly surprising, but neither did Galbraith/Rowling project the ending too early.
Overall, I found it a good, quick read and I look forward to the next novel in the series. Also, props to Rowling for having a disabled main character. When we talk about books needing diversity, there’s a lot of emphasis on sexuality, gender, and racial diversity…it’s just as important to have a realistic portrayal of disabilities, and I think this is the first time I’ve felt that.
Check out other book reviews.