I found the The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith to be an entertaining, excellently plotted detective murder mystery with a great protagonist. The Cuckoo’s Calling is written by J.K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. This is a private detective novel that is a slow burn. Where some P.I. books over the recent years has action involved with the plot, The Cuckoo’s Calling harks back to the hard boiled classics from the likes of Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain. If you enjoy a good murder mystery that is centered around the detective talking to individuals associated with the deceased to figure out deception, you’ll like this.
Cormoran Strike is a private detective that is down on his luck. His business is failing, his relationship with his love has ended, and he is haunted by a past in the army. His luck changes when he gets a case involving a celebrity model’s suicide. The brother of the model wants to prove that it was murder and not suicide. Strike, along with his new secretary Robin, are trying to find the secrets being hidden by the rich and famous group of people involved in the victim’s life.
The Cuckoo’s Calling should be read because it is just a well thought out plotted book. While reading I always knew that Rowling knew where she wanted the story to go. Everything was meticulously laid at the feet of the reader and it just flowed extremely well. The most exciting parts were just Strike asking people associated with the victim questions. The more questions Strike asked the more the reader understood this group of people and the possible answers to the murder. What I especially liked about The Cuckoo’s Calling is that we followed Strike through the entire case without interruption. We got point of views from Robin, the secretary, but it was always about Strike. Rowling ended a chapter with Strike going to sleep and began the following chapter with Strike waking up. This allowed the reader to really understand the steps that Strike was taking to figure out this case.
I just absolutely loved the character of Strike. As a larger guy myself, it was nice to read about a man that was overweight, tall, and flawed. A lot of times we have private investigators that fit into the cliche of a good looking guy that every woman wants. In The Cuckoo’s Calling it is Strike’s personality and confidence that attracts people, and not his looks. His friendship and working relationship with Robin was fantastic and I loved how Rowling added manners and social nuances to Robin to make her not intrusive.
This was a detective book that just worked for me. It was easy to get caught up in and the plot had me so intrigued. I will definitely be reading all the of Strike books after reading this one. My only criticism was that there wasn’t much of an emotional response from myself while reading this. I didn’t get super excited when the reveal happened and there weren’t a lot of ah ha! moments. I recommend this book to any murder mystery lovers out there that wants to read something written a little better than most current mainstream mystery.
4/5 18/25 Possible Score
Plot – 5(Very Strong)
Characters – 4(Strong)
Setting – 3(Good)
Writing Style – 4(Strong)
Heart & Mind Aspect – 2(O.K.)