Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling

Cuckoo's CallingAuthor: Robert Galbraith (Pen name of J.K. Rowling)

Publisher: Mulholland Books 2013

Format: Audibook narrated by Robert Glenister

Why I Read This Book:

It was a book club selection, but I told myself I’d read only the first chapter. I really didn’t want to read it as I’m not a Harry Potter fan. Although the author is listed as Robert Galbraith, everyone knows it’s really J.K. Rowling’s work.

I am a loyal book club member however, so I gave it my one-chapter test. Well yes, you guessed it: I got involved in the story and kept on reading through to the end. What a lovely surprise! This was not a fantasy story at all. It’s an old-fashioned, good detective story – my favorite genre.

What the Book Is About:

Cormoran Strike is ex-military police, now working as a private investigator in London. Strike is what I would call “down on his luck.” He’s down to only one client, has a lot 0f debt, is out of shape physically, and has just been kicked out by his girlfriend. Again. He’s sleeping in his office and showering at a gym.

As the story opens we meet Robin Ellacott who has been assigned to work as Cormoran’s temporary secretary. Robin is a young woman who has come to London to be with her boyfriend. The night before she starts working they became engaged. Robin is thrilled with her ring and the whole idea of a wedding.

Robin was also thrilled with her new secretarial assignment. She’s always had a secret wish that one day she could be a detective. When Robin finds the office, and her new boss, aren’t exactly as organized as they should be, she doesn’t miss a beat. She is the soul of courteous professionalism when a new prospective client walks in the door.

The new client, John Bristow, wants Strike to find out who murdered his sister. The police have dismissed it as a suicide, but John believes she would never do that. John’s sister was a super famous model with loads of paparazzi following her everywhere. Police found nothing that would indicate foul play.

Cormoran, of course, accepts the job as John will pay him a lot of needed cash. But, it’s not an easy case to figure out. If it’s murder, there doesn’t seem to be much of a motive and seemingly no way it could have been possible for any one to do the killing. Corcoran is diligent however in his investigation and gets needed support from Robin.

My Thoughts:

The story is quite compelling from the very beginning. What hooked me right off the bat was the noir-detective feel it has to it. The character of Cormoran Strike was beautifully drawn. He’s somewhat Sam Spade-ish. He’s so at home with the seedier side of humanity and yet he has this honest core inside him that gives him a unique view of people and the world in general.

Getting to know Cormoran and Robin was alone worth reading the book. But, there was also a great story told here. I don’t know why I was surprised by that, as my granddaughters believe J.K. Rowling is one of the best storytellers ever. This was a very well written detective story with plenty of possible subjects, clues, nasty characters, and plenty of surprises right up to the very end. I had a hunch about the ending, but the author still managed a big surprise.

I’m so glad I read this book, even though I didn’t want to. Score one more win for book clubs. I’m actually very enthusiastic. Now I’m looking forward to the second book in the series. I’ve also pre-ordered her third book coming later this month.

Highly recommended

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3 Responses to Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling

  1. Beth F says:

    I love this series. It proves Rowling’s versatility.

  2. Kay says:

    I loved this book too and also enjoyed #2. Can’t wait for the new one coming out this month. I think that I can see similarities in the way that J.K. Rowling tells a story between this series and Harry Potter. She has a real gift, in my opinion. Enjoy the next one, Margot. It’s quite interesting. 😉

  3. I read The Casual Vacancy, her first adult book, and didn’t love it so decided to skip this one. I think I need to go back and correct that mistake.

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