Book: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Source: Purchased through Audible
Release Information: May 16, 2013 from Hachette Audio
Summary (from GoodReads): A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide.
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.
Thoughts: I had thought about reading this novel before everyone found out that it is written by J.K. Rowling. However, knowing who wrote it definitely motivated me to purchase it and read it more quickly. I’m so glad I did. For those of you who are afraid to read this, because you didn’t like The Casual Vacancy, give this one a try. The Cuckoo’s Calling is only like the literary novel in that there is language and content suitable for adults and more mature teens.
Cormoran Strike is rough around the edges, but the more I learned about him, the more I loved him. His father, who he barely knows, is a rock star, his dead mother was a groupie, and Cormoran himself lost a leg in the army. Early in the book he gets a temporary receptionist, who he can’t afford, but who excels are her job and work well with him. She has a very straight-laced fiance who wants her to have a more respectable job, but she excels at helping Cormoran with his detective work and more than that, she loves it. I loved watching their professional relationship turn into a sort of friendship.
The mystery, too, is enjoyable. It feels very noir and those familiar with the classic detective stories and films will probably guess the killer early on. Certainly, I recognized the possibility. Still, the mystery was bigger than I imagined and came together in ways I didn’t expect. J.K. Rowling is excellent at writing secondary characters and this genre suits that skill perfectly. Every character is hiding something and the fun part is figuring out what that something is, even if it isn’t connected directly to the mystery. In the end, I was left satisfied with the mystery, but also like I had gotten to know Lula Landry and was sorry she was gone so young.
Something that Harry fans may love–Cormoran gets death threats written on pink paper with gamboling kittens along the bottom. This is a turn of phrase that I always associate with the decorative plates in Umbridge’s office. Other similarities to our favorite wizard books: a damaged hero easy to root for, a richly imagined story, complicated characters, and friendships formed along the way. Even though the story is present day London, Rowling’s words have magic and she has created something that felt new.
Moments I Loved: When Cormoran meets his temporary secretary, Robin–hilarious. I would tell you what happened, but I think it’s better if you are shocked for yourself! Also when Cormoran faces the killer at the end!
WTF Moments: One of the big problems that Cormoran has to solve is that the witness who heard Lula arguing with a man before she fell to her death could not have actually heard the argument from inside her apartment. The police think that she is lying about being a witness, but what Cormoran discovers shocked me more than anything else in the book.
Narrator: The narrator has a somewhat gruff voice that matched the main character and overall tone of the novel perfectly. He had voices and accents for each of the characters that added to the story without being ridiculous. I loved this audiobook and will definitely listen to it again.
Overall: This is exactly what I expected from a J.K. Rowling novel and I am eagerly awaiting more stories about Cormoran and, hopefully, Robin.
The Cuckoo’s Calling gets a FakeSteph rating of…