I find it hard to write about The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith without acknowledging that J.K. Rowling wrote the book under the Galbraith psuedonym. So yes, J.K. Rowling wrote this book. Thematically, The Cuckoo’s Calling shares little with the Harry Potter stories. It stars a washed up private eye and features quite a bit of sex, violence and swearing. But if you like the Harry Potter universe for Rowling’s incredible writing, her ability to plot and her attention to detail, then I bet you’ll like this, too.
Cormoran Strike (I listened to the audiobook and spent the whole time thinking the narrator said “Cormorand”) has had a very bad run of luck. His fiancee finally forces him to leave her, and since his debts mount up to the sky, he ends up living in his (shitty) detective agency office. The next morning after the break up, he ends up with a temp he can’t afford named Robin. Things might be improving, however, when a lawyer named John Bristow walks into his office and asks Strike to investigate the suicide of his supermodel sister, Lula. John remains convinced that the suicide was actually murder.
“He had hoped to spot the flickering shadow of a murderer as he turned the file’s pages, but instead it was the ghost of Lula herself who emerged, gazing up at him, as victims of violent crimes sometimes did, through the detritus of their interrupted lives.”
The mystery plot twisted and turned just like it should. I enjoy detective stories where you’re right in the detective’s head up until just before the end, where he/she begins reaching conclusions personally, leaving the reader to work it out, or wait on the final reveal. Definitely some monologue-ing present here. I found Strike to be an incredibly well-written character, flawed and human and very sympathetic. I liked Robin, too, who turned out to be much more than a plucky sidekick to Strike’s leading man. The intricacies of relationships in this book — familial, romantic, working, etc. — blew me away. The majority of the characters were so well-fleshed out that it was hard to see them go. I’m glad to find out that there’s not only a sequel, but that my library has it.