Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling

Title: The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)Image

Author: Robert Galbraith

Rating: ★★★★

Provided Synopsis: 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.

Review: It should come as no surprise to fans of JK Rowling that she would make for a wonderful author of crime novels. After all, who can forget the mystery she took us on in the Chamber of Secrets, or the plot-twist of Peter Pettigrew’s allegiance in thePrisoner of Azkaban? Writing under her pseudonym she gives us a new main character named Cormoran Strike. He is a wounded war veteran, with a damaged love life and financial woes that place the continuation of his private detective office in uncertain territory. Then, there is Robin, who is initially sent by a temporary job agency to work as Strike’s secretary for a week’s time. Being smart and resourceful, she provides an ally for Strike as he works through the case of Lula Landry’s suicide. Both characters are wonderfully fleshed out in this slow-burning novel, which leads to me hope there will be a sequel to come soon.

As for the case of Lula Landry, she was a famous supermodel who fell (or was possibly pushed) from her flat’s balcony on a cold London night. The police have ruled the incident as a suicide, but her half-brother is convinced otherwise and thus hires Strike to look into the details of her death. From this point on, Strike and the readers come across a wide and memorable group of characters that were all connected to Landry on the day of her death. Along with the characters come plenty of clues, some of which have been pushed aside by the police and some of which have become convoluted through numerous re-telling of the scene and heightened emotions. Things move slowly as all the pieces are laid out, but do not despair at that because it allows you to become very familiar with the case, the suspects, and Strike. What I enjoyed so much about this book was that I could never figure out who had done it! I want a story that will stump me, and keep me flipping through the pages while I try to align my theories with Strike’s and the revealed truth. Everything worked very well.

The irony is not lost on me that as a famous figure in London and around the world, Lula Landry was constantly hounded by the paparazzi and had her privacy invaded, much like what has happened to JK Rowling with the revelation of her pseudonym without her consent. I understand her wish to be able to write freely under a different name, and I hope that this entire ordeal will not deter her from continuing this series or crafting another book under a different name. She is a talented author that knows how to create distinct characters and tell a story that her readers can enjoy.

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