The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)
By: Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
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.
I found out about this book when news hit that Robert Galbraith was a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling. Like everyone, my curiosity was piqued but I was in no rush to check out what her mystery series was about until recently. I guess after going on a historical romance romp, I was in a mood for a mystery thriller marathon so I decided to start reading it shortly after picking up a copy.
The Cuckoo’s Calling was an interesting read and a great introductory novel to Cormoran Strike. I think it was the main characters that I like most about this book moreso than the story itself. Cormoran is an intriguing character, this hulking figure who’s obviously been through a lot: rough childhood, stint in the military with a war injury, love life pretty much crashing and burning when we’re introduced to him at the start, his private investigation agency is more or less a bust. I found myself pretty much rooting for him from the very start in wanting things to just look up for him hereafter. I admit, I was getting a bit impatient early on to find out exactly what happened between him and Charlotte that ended their relationship completely. But yeah, I thought he was an interesting lead for this new mystery series, he obviously has a lot on his plate but he’s not completely torture inside out about them; rough on the edges but he’s hardworking and relentless and wants to do right.
Strike and Robin certainly made for an interesting duo, especially as Robin is the complete opposite of Cormoran: she’s organised, fairly put together in a sense of her life and where she’s at. She also makes an easy fit for Strike’s private investigation agency with her research skills and getting information from people. She’s also pretty supportive of Strike, doesn’t prod with many questions even though she’s obviously curious as to what’s going on with him, why is he living in his office, etc. Something tells me that things between her and Matthew might not end very well but I suppose that’ll be an on-going plot point moving forward. Nonetheless I was very happy for Robin that she was able to continue working throughout this novel in Strike’s business, fulfilling a childhood dream in the process. I look forward to seeing where her character goes in future novels.
The mystery itself was interesting, pretty complex when I think about it and all of the characters that were involved. I can see why the detectives just wanted to close this case and not investigate the angles further, all of the accounts just didn’t add up and there were so many factors involved. It’s complex and you’re really following Strike as he tries to piece together exactly what happened to Lula the night of her death. I had an inkling how things were going to turn out, but the journey in figuring out exactly what happened was interesting to follow nonetheless. The reader is brought into the world of the rich and established, the celebrity and fashion world, as well as the darker aspects of drugs, dealing with issues of mental health, etc.
I was honestly teetering back and forth between giving a 3.5 and a 4 for this book (again, frustrates me that GoodReads does not have a half-star rating system included). I really liked reading it and following Strike and Robin and was pretty much glued to the book, but I did feel like it could’ve been a bit more condensed; it felt like the story plodded at times and was bogged down by too much detail and step-by-step narration. It made it a bit difficult to simply slip into the story and just read it compared to other novels within the genre. Nonetheless it’s a good first novel to a new series and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next books!