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The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike) Paperback – 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 Hardcover 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, New York Times
"Rowling switches genres seamlessly...a gritty, absorbing tale."―People (3.5 out of 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.com --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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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!
From the beginning paragraphs, Galbraith/Rowling grabs the reader's attention and compels them to continue reading; the mystery is set out without revealing the direction "The Cuckoo's Calling" will take. A beautiful, troubled supermodel, Lula Landry, falls to her death - is it suicide or murder? As the novel progresses, Galbraith/Rowling continually surprises the reader who has begun to think they have solved the mystery. Each turn results in the reader doubting his/her own detecting skills and wondering whether another character might have done the deed - or whether the death was actually a suicide.
As Galbraith/Rowling introduces each of the main characters, the reader is charmed and intrigued by these diverse individuals. Robin, a recent resident of London, is a lively, intelligent young woman; she has recently become engaged to be married. Her delight as she mentally replays her proposal and her introduction to Cormoran Strike, the private detective to whom she has been assigned as a temp, make her an appealing individual. Strike makes a literary impression similar to that he likely made on Robin and on John Bristow, the client whose adopted sister's death comprises the Strike's latest employment. He seems a disheveled, disorganized individual whose occupation as a private detective hints at an inability to obtain more socially acceptable employment. However, there is something vulnerable about Strike; as "The Cuckoo's Calling" develops, the reader begins to see Strike in a different, more favorable light. He is complex and, at times, very sympathetic. One may find some of the supporting characters less than appealing. John Bristow is a "prig"; he seems to have an ulterior, rather than altruistic, motive in learning the cause of Lulu's death.
I thoroughly enjoyed "The Cuckoo's Calling"; it was extremely well written and filled with multi-layered, interesting personalities. Individuals who prefer mystery novels that are about 300 pages in length or those that are filled with action and violence may find "The Cuckoo's Calling" too long and too tame for their taste. Individuals who refuse to read "The Cuckoo's Calling" because it was written by J. K. Rowling are missing an excellent book that is nothing like the Harry Potter series. If you are looking for an outstanding novel that will hold your attention from the first page to the last, I urge you to read "The Cuckoo's Calling".