How many of you are Harry Potter fans? I know I was and still am. I’ve definitely been meaning to read that series again except I don’t own it so I’d have to either buy it first or go borrow it at the library. Regardless, J.K. Rowling has really tried to get out of the shadow of Harry Potter and prove to us that she can be a writer for adults. I remember reading The Casual Vacancy last year and really wondering how messed up that whole plot really was, except for the pacing not really to my liking and having way too many characters for me to follow quickly, my first glimpse of J.K. Rowling as a novel writer for adults wasn’t quite as impressive. I guess that is why its taken me a while after owning The Cuckoo’s Calling to give it a go. Written under a pseudonym Robert Galbraith, this is a mystery/suspense series based on a private investigator called Cormoran Strike and it all starts with The Cuckoo’s Calling.
Let’s check it out!
THE CUCKOO’S CALLING
By: Robert Galbraith
Beautiful model Lula Landry was said to have committed suicide from jumping out her apartment window. A few months later, her brother John comes knocking at the door of Cormoran Strike, a military police turned private investigator, living out of his office, for help to solve the case and prove that Lula was murdered. Wanting to refuse at first, on second thought, he decides to take it mostly for the money but as he dives deeper into the case, he starts questioning whether John is right that something else did happen to Lula and there’s something more going on.
Right off the bat, The Cuckoo’s Calling is more my type of book than The Casual Vacancy is. I love mysteries and I really adore them. If they have a good flow and nice ideas and a decent pacing, I can get right into it. My issue with J.K. Rowling’s writing style is that she takes a while to set up her stories. It didn’t have quite that problem in Harry Potter but for The Casual Vacancy that was a huge downfall. For The Cuckoo’s Calling, its a lot better. I was pulled into the story and the investigation a lot quicker as well. It could also be that The Cuckoo’s Calling has a nice palette of characters. There’s a bit of everyone. It also sets the stage for our new main character, Cormoran Strike who seems like he doesn’t have much going for him and he is damaged in his own way physically and mentally. His love life is a mess and his career is hanging by a thread. Things aren’t looking up but as we move along, we start realizing just how good he is at piecing things together. Its a little hint of the famous investigators we see in more classic novels. Hints because he can’t compare to Sherlock or Poirot but he is a smart man and one with deeper darker issues. In this one, we really just scratch the surface and it’ll be interesting to see what happens because I’m sure if the Cormoran Strike thing works out, future books down the road will eventually drag his family into the mix. Most books do that but then it also creates a deeper link to the readers because we can relate to the characters more.
There is one thing I do realize in J.K Rowling’s novels. This one also has that is where there is a great amount of characters to work with. I get that choices can’t be all limited and suspicions need to be cast on various people so that we get a nice intriguing and enigmatic reading experience especially in a mystery thriller. Its kind of the basis of it all but sometimes when its a lot of characters and they don’t show up too often, it becomes hard to follow. Maybe its just my reading comprehension is lacking but I get that feeling. The Cuckoo’s Calling manages the multiple characters really well for the most part. Except there are some secondary characters that fit into this relationship table that eventually does get a little more complex. I have to admit that I got lost and had to step back and try to draw the lines as to what was going on.
However, the case itself is rather good. It puts little hints along the roads but still successfully will make you wonder whether a few of the characters are there. Cormoran Strike is somewhat like classic detectives who really keep their own agenda to themselves and have their assistants and others turn in circles as they oblige to his lead. In this case, his assistant is also someone I’d like to mention. This character of Robin is actually quite a nice character who balances that of Cormoran. She helps set a balance and makes us realize that help the Cormoran needs even though he doesn’t realize it quite yet. Its kind of a like a Watson to Sherlock Holmes. Kind of but not really there just yet.
Overall, I’ve used a whole lot of words to say that The Cuckoo’s Calling is a good first book of a potential detective series with a new detective in town called Cormoran Strike. With a helpful and dynamic assistant and his own investigative smarts, Cormoran Strike is a great character as a detective. He has enough to drive some back story and enough to open up more cases that are intriguing and thrilling. The Cuckoo’s Calling is well-paced mystery thriller even if there are some minor flaws here and there. A very good book to start off a series and set the building blocks for the next one (which is already out called Silkworm).
Have you read The Cuckoo’s Calling? What did you think of it?