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The Cuckoo's Calling (A Cormoran Strike Novel, 1) Hardcover – April 30, 2013
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Elsewhere by Dean Koontz
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"a strong and enticing read ... It's a gripping tale set in bustling London, and the author - whether called Galbraith or Rowling - shows superb flair as a mystery writer"
- Lexile Measure : 940L
- Item Weight : 1.7 pounds
- Hardcover : 464 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316206849
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316206846
- Product Dimensions : 6.33 x 2.13 x 9.5 inches
- Publisher : Mulholland Books (April 30, 2013)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #24,050 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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What is lacking for 350 of the 400+ pages is any kind of plot development. A private eye novel should build suspense and constantly have the reader wondering what the next clue means. Instead we follow Strike the protagonist through a series of meetings that lead to no conclusions and no questions for the reader to ponder beyond “why am I reading this book?”
Rowling should stick with a Harry Potter, that series was excellent.
The first in a series of detective novels, this is the Introduction of Cormoran Strike, a private investigator who has seen better days: he’s previously lost half a leg in Afghanistan, loses his longtime girlfriend as the novel begins, is receiving death threats from a former client, and is down to a single client and facing mounting debt.
The arrival of his new temporary secretary, Robin, ushers in a season of change for both of them. Soon, Strike is hired by the brother of a supermodel who famously fell to her death from the balcony of her third-floor flat 3 months prior. Her brother—who also happens to be the brother of one of Strike’s friends who died as a child—offers a great deal of money to Strike to prove Lula’s death was not suicide, but murder.
There are lots of twists and turns in the mystery/investigation, and the prerequisite number of red herrings floating about. I honestly was less impressed by the mystery and its outcome (throwing away things that don’t make sense by way of virtually saying, “Who knows what goes through the mind of a psychopath?” is the sign of a lazy or incompetent author, and Rowling is normally not either) than I was by the characters of Cormoran and Robin, though I did feel a lot more development could have happened with them, but considering the book was already close to 600 pages and the pacing seemed to drag at times, perhaps it is best Rowling/Galbraith saved some for future books in the series.
Based on the strength of the main characters and some of the peripheral ones, I gave this 4 out of 5 stars, and will be picking up the next book in the series to see how these characters continue to develop.
As for the rest of the book, I don’t have much to add that hasn’t been said already. It’s a bit long, perhaps overly descriptive at times, but the characters are solid and interesting. Hard for me to recommend a plot that relies on bigotry to come together though.
My biggest issue is the book's length. Nearly 600 pages is far too long, Especially when there's quite a bit of filler in it. She should have went for a 400-500 page length instead and it would have make for a much quicker and satisfying read. Hopefully she tries to do that for the next book. And yes I have already bought the next book. Despite my average review, I liked the characters enough to give them another shot.
Top reviews from other countries
My agent had suggested it previously, but now I was ready.
In his book 'On Writing, Stephan King suggests that all authors should do two things to improve their craft: read and write, a lot.
I was interested to see how JK Rowling under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith (sorry if this is a plot spoiler for you), would handle the transition from writing for children to adults.
I'll tell you how well she managed it: I became so engrossed in the first of the series of Cormoran Strike detective novels that I forgot about studying her work and just enjoyed it.
You don't need me to summarise the story, after all, that's what the back cover is for, but I will say that I am in awe of Galbraith/ Rowling. I have not since reading 'Love in a time of Cholera' by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, found another author who makes a detailed description of the 'mundane' as entertaining as Galbraith.
it's an unbelievably tricky skill to walk the tight rope between superfluous and necessary description (I know all too well, often falling the wrong side).
I still don't l know how she does it, but now I'm too busy reading the strike novels solely for pleasure to care.
PS: I sent the book to my dad in Cornwall who is now also hooked!
The story focuses on Cormoran Strike and his P.I business. He is asked by a former class mate's brother to investigate the death of his sister, who was a supermodel and which the police have decided was a suicide. We then go along with Cormoran as he investigates her death.
I did this like this book, it was a good read and Rowling weaves quite a few different plot points together well and we get to know the both Cormoran and Robin quite well, as there is a lot of their backstory in the book. The plot isn't massively complicated though and while there are a few twists and turns as the events unfold, it all feels a bit underwhelming in the end.
I found there was also a little bit of spitefulness in Rowling's writing style too, towards many of the characters, mainly the female ones and the celebrities, while there seems to be hints of outward dislike to Rowling's press in the book. I can't really put my finger on exactly what it was, but there seemed to be an edge of smugness and spitefulness while Rowling is narrating scenes involving them.
I will be reading the next book in the series as I am intrigued enough by the characters of Cormoran (even though he seems to be a copy of Hagrid, less the half giant part of course) and Robin.
Having said that...I prefer Corm.
Seriously, how does JK do it? She has a masterful grasp of plot, character, pacing, the works. I am also constantly amazed by how good she is at coming up with character names!
The story is artful in it’s simplicity. Model dies after hurtling from a balcony, did she fall or was she pushed? Add a complex cast of starry, shallow, money hungry, a-moral characters and you have a great yarn ahead of you.
The main reason it’s so compelling is the man himself, Cormoran Strike. It’s hard to create a detective without being cliched, and somehow JK has done it. Who knew a one legged army vet with a penchant for beautiful, psychotic women would be so interesting to read about. I also love Robin, who manages in this book to be wide eyed and eager without going full Enid Blyton.
Stellar as always. I recommend it to everyone.
(Special mention to Robert Glenister, best audiobook reader I’ve ever heard)
Unfortunately, this is *not* a good detective story. It is a very mediocre one, with a plot that owes much to the infinitely superior 'An Unsuitable Job for a Woman'. The characters are unappealing: Strike reminds me of Cracker-without-the-charm (which may be because Galbraith/Rowling is rewriting Hagrid who was also played by Robbie Coltrane) and her only way of letting us know that Robin isn't nice-but-dim is to repeatedly tell us 'she asked intelligently', 'she looked round intelligently', 'she listened intelligently', &c. Honestly, the lady doth protest too much.
So I'm now going to let my friends and colleagues sing the praises of this series to high heaven and reveal as many spoilers as their hearts desire -- no skin off my nose: I won't be wasting my time reading any more of this disappointing series. Ms Rowling should, I feel, stick to children's fiction which is where her true talents lie.
Cormoran Strike is an ex-military policeman, badly injured in Afghanistan, now starting up as a private detective. Although the son of a very famous and rich father, he’s almost penniless. He employs a series of temporary secretaries, the latest of which is Robin. He can’t really afford her, but she turns out to be hugely efficient and full of initiative. The book is enriched by the backstories of these two, and the way they are brought to life. I was as interested in Cormoran and Robin as in the crime story itself. It’s very rare to find such high quality characters in a mystery story and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series, to see how they evolve.
The mystery itself begins when the brother of a suicide begs Cormoran to prove that his sister was murdered. She was a famous model at the height of her popularity. They are adopted children of a rich family, so we get drawn into the world of high fashion and very rich people. I don’t want to say any more about the mystery, for fear of spoiling it for you. But rest assured that there are red herrings and twists, and the mystery is very cleverly put together.
If this was an attempt by Rowling to see if she could be successful at writing a book in a different genre, then as far as I am concerned the answer is a definite “yes”. If you like classic mystery novels in the Midsomer Murders or Agatha Christie style, you’ll love this.