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Showing 1-10 of 8,848 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 10,408 reviews
on May 25, 2016
So, despite being absolutely obsessed with books and usually up-to-date on the happenings in the literary world, I somehow had not heard any buzz on Robert Galbraith’s “Cormoran Strike” series. It is not a secret that Robert Galbraith is a pen name for J.K. Rowling. Perhaps this was just a method to help separate this series of adult books from the iconic Harry Potter series. And, as someone who grew up with the Harry Potter books and loves them like they were my own children, reading any novels by the same author made me rather fraught with anxiety that they would completely pale in comparison to her previous works. I always knew she was an incredibly talented writer, as evident in how perfectly she organized the seven HP books from the very beginning to have subtle clues throughout the series that eventually culminated in the incredible finale. But I just wasn’t sure if I would be able to read any future JK Rowling books without hoping greatly that they would be equally as awesome and then experiencing the disappointment that would eventually set in when I realized they wouldn’t be (because really, when a series is as amazing as Harry Potter, who knows when, if ever, I would be able to find another book or series that could ever be that amazing and could evoke such emotion in me). As it turns out, J.K. Rowling is the real deal. (If you are looking for another "magical world" you won't get that here, but the writing is just as excellent).

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!
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on September 11, 2017
Honestly, I was disappointed. I had hoped it would be faster paced and hard to put down. I nearly bailed at several points. I'm not sorry that I finished it, as I did enjoy the solution. There were some twists I didn't see coming and I did not solve the whodunnit myself, which is always good. It just dragged.

I liked Cormoran and Robin a lot. They are interesting characters and they made a great team, once they got past the whole "let's ignore the elephant in the room" of Cormoran living in the office. That schtick got old fast and I was glad when they finally got past it. I'll probably read the rest of the series, but I won't be in a rush to do so.
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VINE VOICEon August 20, 2016
Cormoran Strike is not having a good time of it. His turbulent relationship has come to an end and he's sleeping in his office. He's on the verge of losing that office because business has been tough, and even though Strike could rely on military benefits from the tour in Afghanistan that left him missing one leg, he's determined to make it on his own. A temp agency has just sent him an exceedingly capable assistant named Robin, but he can't afford to pay her and may lose her.

Right on cue, the client of Strike's dreams walks through the door and promises to solve all his problems if he'll look into the apparent suicide of world-famous supermodel Lula Landry. The central mystery is presented as the old 'locked room' scenario: as far as anyone can tell, Lula was alone in her apartment and no one could have entered the building, gotten to the third floor, pushed her out the window, and escaped back down to the lobby without being seen by security or the other tenants, who were hysterical over Lula's swan dive. The three other people in the building are all accounted for thanks to their own accounts of what happened, but one of them claims to have heard Lula screaming at someone before the fall--which should be impossible because of all the soundproof barriers between them at the time. It's up to Strike to penetrate the mystery and find out what went on in that building.

You could argue that this novel is overly long and unnecessarily slow, but it only seems that way because so much of the genre is overly concerned with fast pacing and constant cliffhangers. Cuckoo's Calling grabs your attention the old-fashioned way and holds it without any tricks. It feels gratifying. The payoff: immense character depth that makes you want to hang in for the sequels. Cuckoo also eschews the 'final twist' formula that has, frankly, become tired. While that presents challenges of its own that don't all work, it makes Cuckoo a refreshing read.

Head to my blog at SupposedlyFun.com for an expanded version of this review.

Grade: B
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on September 19, 2016
I just finished this book and I am ecstatic that there are two more Cormoran Strike books for me to read. I loved this! I originally purchased it because I am a huge J.K. Rowling fan and I typically really get into murder mysteries. I was not disappointed at all.

This story chronicles the private investigator, Cormoran Strike, as he is hired to investigate the assumed suicide of a famous supermodel. Strike is the perfect protagonist. He is a war veteran with many personal faults but his powers of deduction and inference are almost magical. Strike and his assistant make a great crime-fighting duo.

Rowling’s attention to detail, character development, and interweaving of storylines make for a really fun read. The reader is privy to all of the details of the investigation through the book so it is fun to try to figure out the result along with the protagonists. I love this style of mystery writing but I am usually disappointed if I can figure it out too early. That was definitely not the case in this story. I had no idea until Strike starting revealing his conclusions who was really at fault.

When I finished this book, there was one detail that bugged me. The believability of Strike’s ability to deduce and inference was borderline all along. He came to many conclusions that seemed just on the verge of far-fetched but I was able to stay with the story. At the very end he “knew” the combination to a safe. That one was just too far for me. No matter how good his guesses were, that one just seemed unrealistic.

I would recommend this book.
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on August 8, 2013
Maybe it's that I just finished my yearly re-read of the Harry Potter series, but I feel like even if I'd read this book before Rowling had been "outed," I would have known it was her. Fans will be pleased to know her distinctive, engaging voice is very much present.
As for the content and storyline--well, we already know that no one does a mystery like Rowling. Lots of little threads and red herrings, and every last one tied up at the end. The characters were great--Strike is a great sympathetic, flawed hero, and Robin is the perfect sidekick. And every member of the supporting cast was colorful, unique, and fully realized.
I've heard a lot of people complain that The Cuckoo's Calling is a "quiet" book, and though I agree, I certainly wouldn't register it as a complaint. It might not be action-packed, but it's got atmosphere in spades, and I am a massive sucker for an atmospheric book.
All in all, I wouldn't say I LOVED it, but I liked it very much, and I'm happy to see that more books are planned for the series. I'll definitely be back for the next installment.
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on February 20, 2014
"The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith (aka: JK Rowling) is a marvelous mystery whodunit by one of the worlds most recognized authors. Rowling has the unusual knack of getting readers to read every word, every sentence, every paragraph, without skipping over anything and that's a powerful trait. This story seemed reminiscent of Earle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason series to me, perhaps because of the interesting details and conclusions drawn by the leading protagonist Private Eye Cormoran Strike. I grew to really like this unique character, his demeanor, self deprecating personality, and his almost savant brilliance in crime-solving. I can't wait for her next story featuring Mr. Strike which is due to be published soon. I loved this story, it was just plain delicious, riveting, and entertaining, with a too often rare but appreciated surprise ending. 5 stars!!!!!
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on August 10, 2013
Admittedly, I'm one who bought this book on kindle after finding out it was written by JK Rowling. I'm still grieving over no more Harry books and I thought I might find little hints of Harry and the gang in this book. I can honestly say you would never guess that this book was written by the same author as the Harry Potter series. However, despite not getting a "Harry" fix, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story with the detective Cormoran Strike and his temporary secretary (aka smart and loyal sidekick) Robin. BY the end of the book I was sad to "say goodbye" to the characters and I really hope Rowling plans a few sequels. The accidental duo make an extremely intriguing team and the story about Lula Landry and her death definitely had my attention and I had to keep reading. If you're a fan of crime/detective novels this is a great story and it's well written and enjoyable to read. I'd still love another Harry book though! :-P
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on August 31, 2013
I read this book for two reasons -- one primary and one secondary:
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.
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on February 14, 2016
PI Cormoran Strike is down on his luck, having just broken up with his girlfriend and having no place to live. He has recently hired a temporary secretary, Robin, whom he really can't afford. He gets a visit from a client with what may be a real case to work on. The case involves looking into the death of a supermodel, Lula, also known as "Cuckoo" which was ruled as a suicide; but her brother believes it was murder and hires Cormoran to discover the truth.
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.
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on March 19, 2016
The Cuckoo's Calling labored a little for me. I gave the book four stars instead of five, because of this. The writing style was filled with narrative that really wasn't as interesting as it might have been. You would read dialogue, and then, breaking the pace would be quite a bit of narrative between responses or scenes. I found myself having to go back and reread, making sure I was following the flow. I was tempted to skip passages, but was concerned I would miss plot points.
One other thing for me that was a little difficult was the high use of British terms and phrases. Unless one has lived in the Commonwealth or associates with people from there, I can see where an American would have difficulty understanding what the author was speaking of at times. I understood most terms, having lived in Australia, but it did make me pause and reflect often.
One last critical comment would be, there was very little that you could find to piece together clues. I did manage to pretty well have it figured out toward the end, but the how and why was left so ambiguous that it didn't allow the reader much "play" with evidence. Perhaps a little more interior thoughts from Strike would have left more clues, a bit of an inside glimpse into his thinking process.
Now, on the positive side, I really like Strike and his secretary, Robin. Galbraith (Rowling) gave us another highly relatable character and one I want to get to know. I felt the same with the growing relationship between Strike and Robin. I will purchase the second in the series, mainly to follow Strike and Robin. I have a feeling Strike will grow more and more on the reader as the series evolves.
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