Monday 22 July 2013

Book Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling
by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)
Little Brown
5 Stars
Review Copy from Amazon Vine


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, thelegendary 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.


Cormoran Strike, wounded war veteran now trying to make his living as a private detective has lots of problems. His longtime girlfriend has just chucked him out, creditors are baying for his money, or failing that his blood, he's got a new secretary who he can't really afford and clients are very thin on the ground.

A few months previously, Lula Landry, a famous supermodel fell to her death from her Mayfair balcony and it's been ruled as a sucidide. Her bother, John doesn't think so and wants Strike to investigate, paying over the odds to find it who really killed her or if it really was a suicide.

Is there such thing as a literary crime novel? If there is, this one fits the bill. It's a book more about the characters than the plot, and with lots of vivid descriptions of various parts of London. London itself becomes a character and you could really see the places in your mind's eye.

I'd ordered this book just before I heard that it was by JK Rowling, but the book didn't arrive until the truth was out, so that may have influenced my review somewhat. This is a much more grown-up tale than Harry Potter, and if I hadn't known beforehand, I'm not sure I would have guessed it was written by the same author. The writing here has more maturity, but that might be because Harry Potter was originally intended for children, wheras this one is definitely a book for adults.

I wanted to keep reading to find everything out but at the same time I wanted to savour each page like a delicious dessert. The mystery element is interwoven well with bits about Strike's life and Robin's, his new secretary who secretly held a hankering for working for a detective for years.

Cormoran Strike was wonderful and I hope we get to see more books with this rich new addition to the ranks of PIs.

Reviewed by Annette Gisby

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