Book Reviews: The Cuckoo’s Calling

Posted March 10th, 2014 by in book review / 2 comments

Title: The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormorant Strike #1)
Author: Robert Gailbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Version Read: Paperback (library)
Publication Date: April 18th, 2013
Categories: contemporary, crime, fiction, mystery, suspense
Rating: 4stars

Summary (Blurb/Goodreads): A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel’s suicide.
fter 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.

You can’t go into The Cuckoo’s Calling with expectations that it will be anything like Harry Potter or like a standard detective story. I found that by thinking it was by Robert Galbraith (and not just a pseudonym for J.K.Rowling) helped with that. That said, I really enjoyed this. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was an interesting take on the current detective novel theme.

Cormorant Strike is an interesting character. He’s abrupt, abrasive, and very good at his job. He’s also very secretive about his father, his leg and his relationship problems, which leads to some interesting and often awkward conversations. Of course, because he is so secretive, everyone wants to know about those things. Especially, Robin who is his newly-hired and supposedly temporary secretary. She is exceptionally efficient, something that surprises Strike within her first day, when he receives a note from her that contains no spelling or grammar errors.

The Cuckoo’s Calling leads us on a very complicated and over-stuffed mystery, which is part of the reason it’s not perfect. There was a bit too much packed into the crime that was being investigated – some of it was red herrings, which certainly made trying to figure out who did it all that more difficult. There were almost too many suspects. Some where fairly easily ruled out, but the excess baggage their plots included into the storyline felt like too much. There was more than one time during my reading of The Cuckoo’s Calling that I was wondering why I felt like I had read so much, but hadn’t progressed as far into the book as I would have normally.

The actual crime itself was fairly basic, but well executed. It looked like a standard suicide first off, and as you followed the clues that Strike uncovered, it became quite apparent that it wasn’t. The actual culprit will surprise you – I certainly didn’t expect it, and I can’t say much more about it without spoiling the ending, so I won’t. However, the arrows pointing to the culprit become obvious once you see who it is.

Overall the Cuckoos Calling was an entertaining read, although overly long in some spots (something I found was fairly apparent in The Casual Vacancy as well). If you like crime and msytery novels, then it’s worth checking this one out.

2 Responses to “Book Reviews: The Cuckoo’s Calling”

  1. Alicia

    I haven’t read The Cuckoo’s Calling, and I’ve been worried about the expectations that I might subconsciously carry from Harry Potter. Thinking of the author as Robert Gailbraith would probably help, though I’m still not sure how I’ll be facing this =P

    Alicia @ Summer Next Top Story

    • Chantelle

      Hi Alicia! Sorry it took me so long to reply – I’ve been a neglectful blogger. I found if you went into it not expecting Harry Potter (and it’s nothing like HP at all) it was easy to sink into this particular book’s universe. It was a really interesting crime novel, so if you are into those, it’s defnintely a good read.

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