*I recommend this novel for more mature audiences.
Title: The Cuckoo’s Calling
Author: Robert Galbraith
Genre: Mystery, Realistic Fiction, Adult
Publisher: Sphere Books (April 3, 2013)
Age Range: 16+
Pages: 455 pages (hardcover)
Buy at: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | iBooks
Famous model Lula Landry falls to her death from her London penthouse balcony in the early hours of a frosty morning; her death is attributed to suicide due to her history of depression and emotional stress. However, her brother is suspicious, and hires private detective Comoran Strike, an amputated veteran, to investigate further. Strike is reluctant to take on a case so thoroughly scrutinized by the public and the police, but he is suffering from personal financial and relationship crisis – this is his only lifeline. Together with his underpaid loyal secretary, Robin Ellacott, he enters the shady underworld of celebrities, agendas, and night lives, in an odyssey that captures you from beginning to end.
My Rating: 8.5/10
Just in case you didn’t know, Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling. Trust me. Google it. If that isn’t enough reason for you to read this let me expound on the reasons why I loved this book and you should too!
I this book is beautifully written from beginning to end. You can tell that Rowling spent time crafting each sentence, there is an undeniable sense of mastery and style that is uniquely her own. Take this excerpt from the beginning chapter:
“The buzz in the street was like the humming of flies. Photographers stood massed behind barriers patrolled by police, their long-snouted cameras poised, their breath rising like steam. Snow fell steadily on to hats and shoulders; gloved fingers wiped lenses clear. From time to time there came outbreaks of desultory clicking, as the watchers filled the waiting time by snapping the white canvas tent in the middle of the road, the entrance to the tall red-brick apartment block behind it, and the balcony on the top floor from which the body had fallen.”
Wow, I mean just wow. Can we have a moment of appreciation for Rowling’s detailed description of the murder scene? Some might find this didactic imagery tedious to read, which is why I believe, it only received a 3.83/5 rating on Goodreads. But for me reading this novel was such a treat! Rowling’s high-level vocabulary is helpful if you are willing to learn. In Rowling’s second novel in the Comoran Strike Series, I learned the word quixotic and it actually showed up on my SAT test. Reading for the winnnnn!
Also, if you like British culture and terminology, this is the book for you! Apparently, tosser is a derogatory term used in G.B. that would equate to the word playboy in the states. In the 3rd book, Career of Evil, it’s funny when they mention how everyone in G.B. is raving about Kate Middleton and Prince William’s marriage. It details of London life really bring this story to life and you wish that your city was just as exciting.
In fact, this book could be defined as realistic fiction. The way Rowling integrates her characters into our present day and age make them much more loveable and relatable. Strike is an amputee and sometimes I start rubbing my own knee whenever Rowling describes how Strike falls and tears new ligaments. It’s so descriptive that I get my own phantom aches. #real. -_-
I digress, I honestly feel like Rowling is superb in the way she develops her characters. It is cool and gross how Rowling is able to write from the perspective of a male character. Cool because I can’t do it, gross because Strike kind of likes staring at the butts of hot women in his life. Butt you gotta give him some credit because he does try not to. Robin, Strike’s secretary, is my favorite character. While working for Strike she begins to find her passion for investigative work and as a result, she becomes a stronger character. This in turn creates problems later on with her fiancé who doesn’t appreciate the new willful Robin.
This is just a great crime novel, Rowling keeps you hooked each chapter with new developments in the Landry case and also in Strike and Robin’s personal lives. An exciting read!
Cons (SPOILER ALERT)
There is a period from the middle to the end of the novel where Strike is interviewing his suspects and it drags a bit. When the ending finally hits you like a knife to your chest (veiled spoiler 😉 ) it’s like woah! What happened? I obviously have fewer complaints than praise, but this slow section is where I have to deduct some point because I think other less patient readers would have stopped reading here.
Don’t forget that this is the 1st in the series, “The Silkworm” and “Career of Evil” are out.
I hope you all loved this review I wrote today! I hope it makes up for the months I have been inactive. I definitely felt better after writing this review! Spring Break is next week so I might be able to write more in the next few days. ❤ -Ji