Thursday, 7 August 2014

The Cuckoo's Calling

Author: Robert Galbraith
Genre: Suspense
Type: Hardcover
Series: #1 in the Cormoran Strike series
Source: Local Public Library
Pages: 455
Publisher: Mulholland Books
First Published: April 2013
First Line: "The buzz in the street was like the humming of flies."

Book Description from GoodReadsA 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.

My Review:  I was nervous to pick this book up because, as it is well known now, Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym of the highly talented (and the author at the top of my 'author I most want to meet' list) J.K Rowling of Harry Potter fame.  Harry Potter is one of my all-time favourite series and the reason is due solely to Rowling's ability as a storyteller.  I honestly didn't find myself comparing Potter to The Cuckoo's Calling because, while her quality of writing is still superb, her style of writing was quite different.

This is touted as a suspense novel but I was surprised at how much more time Galbraith took to set up Cormoran and his new secretary, Robin's characters for the reader.  For the first third of the book the mystery took more of a backseat to the characters' development which I found a little odd.  But as I kept reading I felt that it worked because she hooked me with two interesting and strong characters and set the framework that will carry me into the future books in this series.

If you're looking for a suave, debonair English leading man (a la 007) you may be a little shocked with Cormoran Strike because he isn't the typical male lead.  Not only did I stumble over the pronunciation of his name throughout the book but he's not gorgeous, he's not successful, he's utterly disorganized and he doesn't have a whole lot going for him.  He comes off as a bear-like curmudgeon who is emotionally bereft and has lived a very hard life.  And yet there's something about him that's so interesting that you can't help but root for him.  I love the fact that I still feel like we've only scratched the surface of Cormoran's character and that Galbraith is holding back a little for future books.  Such a tease!

Be aware that it does take awhile for the momentum to get going on this one.  But once the mystery goes into high gear it is a journey with many twists and turns it is a good, interesting read.  And while I will admit to guessing whodunit I still enjoyed the journey and look forward to seeing where Galbraith takes Cormoran in The Silkworm (and future books in the series).

Ms Rowling can call herself Robert Galbraith, Madonna or Oscar the Grouch for all I care.  She's a wickedly amazing writer and I will read whatever she puts before me. 


My Rating: 4/5 stars

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