This is the first book in the Cormoran Strike mystery series, written by J.K. Rowling under a pen name. It’s a fairly standard plot (crusty, genius detective and spunky assistant investigate a suicide that may actually have been a murder), but I really enjoyed it. I’ve always been a fan of J.K. Rowling’s style of writing–flowy, lots of adjectives and humor, makes you feel like you’re right there in the room. While The Cuckoo’s Calling is nowhere near as inventive or delightful as the Harry Potter universe, it was still a pretty good book.
The main reason I enjoyed it was not the mystery but the characters. Within about two pages I was a huge fan of Robin, Cormoran’s assistant, and it didn’t take much longer before I was a fan of Cormoran as well. Sure, a lot of Cormoran’s characteristics are fairly standard for detectives: crusty, grumpy, intimidating, rumpled, a smoker, missing a body part. . .yeah, he kind of reminded me of Columbo, but I happen to love Columbo so I liked Cormoran as well. He has a few unique characteristics, but he’s a pretty standard entry into the detective genre. He’s also quite likeable, though, and so is Robin.
The plot revolves around the supposed suicide of a famous model. Cormoran is on the brink of insolvency when the model’s brother asks him to investigate the suicide, because the brother thinks it was a murder. Like I said, nothing special, but certainly interesting enough. There was a bit of a plot hole at the end which I can’t talk about without spoilers, but it honestly didn’t bother me too much because I enjoyed the process of getting there so much. I plan on reading the other books in the series, and again it’s not because the plot summaries sound especially gripping, but rather that I would like to spend some more time with these characters.