Friday, April 24, 2015

The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling
Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)
3.5 / 5

Published 2013

First Sentence
"The buzz on the street was like the humming of flies."
Publisher's Description:
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. 

Dear Reader,

Wow, JK Rowling. That was totally unexpected! I have to say I was impressed by a mystery which misdirected me until the very end. The characters were great and they all just jumped right off the page, they were so vivid. There wasn’t a single boring person in the book, and rarely a boring moment. I thought Rowling really fleshed out Strike’s (pretty original) backstory well while also keeping focused on the mystery at hand. What a great touch that the man who hired the detective (John) did so because Strike & John’s brother were old childhood friends.

I am not a huge Harry Potter fan or anything (I liked the series well enough!) but I did enjoy The Casual Vacancy, so I figured I would give the author’s mysteries a try. This was of course a lot more like her first adult novel, and much less like her young adult wizardry series. So I did like it similarly to how & why I liked TCV, and almost as much. Rowling recalled a modern day Chandler to me, which was great! - I have a soft spot for those down-and-out, hard-boiled detective types who have seen it all.

One thing I didn't love was the name of the main character - I couldn't help thinking (even though his name was Cormoran and not Cormorant, which it often sounded like!) of a bird attacking every time I heard his full name!
I just thought that was amusing, though. But I suppose his name fit him quite well. I loved the detective despite his flaws...or perhaps because of them? He was human, much like many of those Philip Marlowe-eqsue characters. I think that is part of why I love them so much. Despite their flaws, and the subjects on which they work, they often struggle to see the best in humanity. They want to look past all the detritus and see that there is a happy world out there somewhere, even when all evidence points to the opposite. And yet, somewhere deep inside their gruff exteriors, they keep hoping. It gives me a soft spot for them. 


P.S. Somewhere I saw that someone thought that Karen Gillan would play a super Robin, and now I can't stop thinking of her in that role. They are right: she'd be perfectly perfect.

The Cuckoo's Calling

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  1. Hahaha THAT BIRD! Just like an evil penguin. Great picture & great review.

  2. I've been thinking about reading this series for awhile, but now sure whether to make the commitment. It sounds like the story has a lot of well-developed characters.

  3. I think it is definitely worth checking out! I don't know how eager I am to read further in the series at the moment, but I am so glad I read this one. I did love the characters, and like you I'd been meaning & meaning to get around to it!


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