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The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike) Hardcover – April 18, 2013
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London PI Cormoran Strike’s final feud with his arguably insane fiancée leaves him camping in his office, wondering how his last two clients will keep him afloat and pay for his new secretary, Robin. When a childhood acquaintance asks him to investigate his supermodel sister’s apparent suicide, Strike finds a distraction from his problems that’s happily attached to a check. Lula Landry was surrounded by rabid paparazzi, a drug-addled social circle, a dysfunctional adopted family, and a shifty, newly found birth mother, making suicidal despair hard to dismiss. But with Robin’s surprisingly adept assistance, Strike dismantles witness statements, applying masterful deductive skills to find evidence of murder. This debut is instantly absorbing, featuring a detective facing crumbling circumstances with resolve instead of clichéd self-destruction and a lovable sidekick with contagious enthusiasm for detection. Galbraith nimbly sidesteps celebrity superficiality, instead exploring the ugly truths in Lula’s six degrees of separation. Strike bears little resemblance to Jackson Brodie, but Kate Atkinson’s fans will appreciate his reliance on deduction and observation along with Galbraith’s skilled storytelling. --Christine Tran --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
"One of the books of the year."―USA Today
"Robert Galbraith has written a highly entertaining book... Even better, he has introduced an appealing protagonist in Strike, who's sure to be the star of many sequels to come.... its narrative moves forward with propulsive suspense. More important, Strike and his now-permanent assistant, Robin (playing Nora to his Nick, Salander to his Blomkvist), have become a team - a team whose further adventures the reader cannot help eagerly awaiting."―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Rowling switches genres seamlessly...a gritty, absorbing tale."―People (3.5/4 stars)
"[Rowling's] literary gift is on display in this work. She crafts an entertaining story [and] comes up with an ending that I'll admit I was surprised by. . . . A fun read, with a main character you can care about and one you'll want to see again in other adventures."―Washington Post
"An extravagant, alien, fascinating world for its characters to explore...great pleasures."―Slate --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
I started with the first book in the series, The Cuckoo’s Calling. Going into it, I knew basically nothing about the series, other than that it was about a detective with an unusual name, that Robert Galbraith was a thinly veiled pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, and that it was a series aimed more for adults. By the time I had gotten 1/3 of the way through, I immediately logged onto my library online account to request the next two books in the series. I never want to give too much away with my reviews so it’s hard to accurately explain how I feel about certain books without spoilers, but I’ll do my best. Do you ever start reading a book and realize that you’re completely and utterly immersed in the world created by the author, and that every time you have to leave it and enter the real world is just a rude interruption, and that you’re just counting down the minutes until you can pick up the book and dive back in? Do you ever start reading a book and realize that it’s not just any delightful book, but one that can speak to your whole being and will become one of your most-loved novels? Maybe I’m being overly emotive, but this is how I felt when I realized that The Cuckoo’s Calling was special. I was SO excited that I had found a new series that was so gripping and well-written and enthralling…knowing that I would have some new books to add to my “favorites” shelf (few get the honor) and that I had two full books to read after it was such a joyous feeling. But alas, there are times when speed reading is a curse. I devoured the book in less than 24 hours, feeling rueful afterwards that I hadn’t savored it more. J.K. Rowling/Robert Galbraith is some kind of genius. There are so many books with a great story, but where the writing style can leave a little bit to be desired. Sometimes authors just try too hard. Sometimes the writing can be a bit too corny, a bit too cliché. Sometimes the skill level is just not there. It is not always easy to write in a descriptive way without overdoing it. For these reasons, I often find books that are good, not great. But yet, J.K. Rowling has the skills to dream up a great story/plot, and then execute it to perfection. With The Cuckoo’s Calling, she introduces us to Cormoran Strike, a protagonist with great abilities and also flaws (in other words, he is believable, a real human), and his clever assistant Robin. She weaves snippets of his backstory seamlessly into the rest of the plot, including the story behind his unusual name. Character development is fantastic throughout the novel. The plot itself is gripping, and keeps you on your toes. It is never predictable. It is so cleverly and skillfully written. She is never cliché, or corny. There are never any feelings throughout that she is trying too hard. And while the mystery is compelling, it also feels like real life. I cannot speak enough volumes about how well this book is written and how incredible the plot is.
Within the next few days I had also completely consumed the sequel, The Silkworm, and the third book in the series, Career of Evil. There were absolutely no issues with the follow-ups falling short of the first novel. Rather, they continued to develop Strike’s character and his background, and one begins to feel that he and Robin are friends instead of fictional characters (or am I the only one who can get so lost in a book that I feel that well-written characters are actually my friends instead of figments of imagination??). The individual cases to be solved in each book are equally as compelling and are again not predictable. She infuses a great sense of realism into these novels and perhaps this is one reason I can get so lost in them.
I really cannot say too much about these novels. Wonderfully written, incredible plots, great and realistic characters. There was not a SINGLE thing that I dislike or can say was a downside. My only concern is that I have built them up too much in this review for them to match anyone’s expectations, but then I remember how amazing they were and my concern crumbles to dust:) Will they be everyone’s cup of tea? No…everyone has different tastes. But I truly believe that any book lover will find them to be excellently written and compelling.
After voraciously consuming the three novels in less than a week, I frantically searched online for more information. Firstly, I can’t believe there hasn’t been a big fuss about these books (or maybe there was and somehow I missed it??). I spend so much time researching books and getting excited about them (I’ve read untold numbers of delightful books), but rarely does a book or series feel so incredible to me. Secondly, I found the best news. Apparently J.K. Rowling immensely enjoys writing the Cormoran Strike novels and is planning A MINIMUM of nine Strike novels (meaning at LEAST 6 more!!!!!!!!). The only downside to this is the agonizing wait for each one to be published…but hey, delayed gratification apparently makes things much tastier. Thirdly, BBC One is developing a television series based on the novels. Normally I become disgruntled when a favorite novel or series is turned into a movie or show, because they never do the written works justice and my imagination always develops people and places in a far better way than is ever shown on the screen. But I have also learned that British television is done in a far superior way to American television (maybe I’m British at heart?) and so if anyone is going to make a great series out of this, it would be the BBC. So I’m excited to see where this goes.
I apologize for making this review so lengthy! Sometimes when I get so excited to share something great with others, I tend to ramble in the hopes that my passion shines through. Hopefully I have inspired some to give this great series a read, and I feel confident that you will love them too! Now I just have to manage to wait until the next book is published! Happy reading!
Primary: It's JK Rowling
Secondary: I like a mystery
The characters in the story are solid, varied, and mostly interesting. I find it fascinating that Jo Rowling seems to be more comfortable writing from a male viewpoint than a female. Not that her female characters aren't good, but the heroes (Harry Potter, Cormoran Strike -- can't speak to The Casual Vacancy as I haven't read it), seem to be well-written and believable (at least to me, a female reader).
I think it is the characters in this story that actually hold it together. The back stories of the main characters and some of the secondary characters are immensely flawed--even sad. With the glamor and glitz of the wealthy in the story, Rowling made it abundantly clear that money is not where true happiness lies.
Many times as I read, I was struck with how gritty the story was...in the language, in the description of physical pain and injury, in the description of London, in the way that the characters interacted. It seemed realistic, even though I have virtually no grid for that lifestyle, other than what I see on TV.
The mystery itself is decent, but I found that the first half to two-thirds of the book were extremely slow. In fact, I can't say for certain that I would've continued reading had the author been someone else. The last several chapters of the book do pick up and are a faster read. And I found the final fourth of the book to be very good. The whodunit was a surprise to me.
I'm hopeful for Jo/Robert's next entry in Cormoran's and Robin's investigating. The formula works, the characters are good. I just need a little more intrigue/action on the front end.
Although Strike lives out of his office, and has no money, he is a very thorough investigator and takes his job seriously as he interviews person after person who knew Lula or was involved in investigating Lula's death.
Strike and his secretary, Robin make a wonderful team as Robin shows an enthusiasm for the work and looks after Strike by covering up for him with other clients and by doing a lot of online research in anticipation of Strike's needs. Although she discovers Strike is living in his office she doesn't let on and is a buffer between him and his clients. I love the combination of these characters and am looking forward to seeing them work together in the future.
I did find the reading a bit tedious at times which is why it only received four stars from me. I handled this by switching to reading other books between readings and that really helped me not to get dragged down in this.
I have to hand it to JK Rowling, as I loved her Harry Potter books, but that was not the reason I read this. Reading her writing as Robert Galbraith was like reading a totally different author and I liked that aspect. Her talent continues as she moves into a different genre and different style of writing.
I liked the way Cormoran went about the investigation, really looking for the truth, not just for his client's sake but with a determination to find the truth for the truth's sake. In spite of his own personal problems which definitely affected him (a prosthetic leg after having lost his in Afghanistan, having his heart broken by his ex, being forced to live in his office and make do, accumulated debts) he doesn't let those things get in the way of doing his best. His determination to do a thorough job is what I liked most about him as well as his ability to ask the right questions and to put pieces together as a good detective would. In spite of the slightly tedious spots I will be reading the rest of this trilogy.