Since her last book The Casual Vacancy I had been waiting for Rowling’s new book. I like her writing beyond the Harry Potter series as well . So I was pretty excited by The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (A.K.A. J.K. Rowling) even more so because it’s a crime thriller and I was going to read her after a long time.
★★★★ (4 out of 5)
Detective Cormoran Strike who is also a war veteran lands a high profile case of model Lula Landry’s suicide, which her brother John Bristow believes to be a murder. The model and her brother has been adopted and she lived a very troubled life in a mansion in Kentirgen garden. She falls to death from the mayfair balcony on a snowy night. Her acquaintances, neighbor and family are all investigated but police concludes it to be a suicide. However when Strike starts investigating the case with her temporary secretary Robin, he starts uncovering dirty secrets of the society of which Landry was a part.
Strike himself is going through troubled time in his private life after breakup from his long time girlfriend and his struggling finances. But this case gives a lease of life for his finances as well as stability in his life. From investigating Landry’s designer to her friends and family, Strike starts to realize that its definitely a murder and the killer is going to kill again.
Things get darker and dangerous as the story progresses and at one point Strike finds himself entangled in this web. It’s important for Strike to find the killer soon before he/she strikes again.
Even if JK Rowling’s authorship revelation didn’t happen, still this book would have been a success (not such a big hit off course) because it takes you back to good old crime thrillers which portrays an ordinary looking detective who can solve cases.
The story telling of Rowling is impeccable and it’s a thoroughly enjoyable detective novel. The character of detective Cormoran Strike has been painstakingly elaborated and the author tries to garner sympathy for him at many instances (War Veteran, Lost one leg, Financially broke, broke up a long term relationship, etc.). This is where I thought the character was little overdone. And no sympathy or revulsion occur for Strike’s character. Another missing link was his transition from Military Police to detective due to which his authority as a detective couldn’t be established.
The character of Robin his secretary is however interesting, a young girl who has been proposed by her fiance and she is looking for a job in London and till then working as a temp, lands up with her long cherished job at a detective’s office. The boldness and youthful vigor of Robin has been well written by the author and her foray into unknown territory of detective work and her excelling in such tasks is also well brought out by the author. A very interesting and charming character of a secretary/sidekick, which brings a different flavor to the book. However I do feel her role was pretty much restricted in this first book (Rowling plans to write a series).
Other characters of fashion designer Guy Some, Lula’s friend Rochelle, Ciara Porter, her junkie boyfriend Evan Duffield, etc. are all well written and felt necessary. However I would say the book with 550 pages is a tad bit lengthy. But with Rowling I don’t complain much.
The story is set in London and in winters. There isn’t a bigger role given to the city and could have been set up in any other city. But off course it’s Rowling so it had to be London.
If you were not already convinced that Rowling can create magic even after renouncing magic or if you thought The Casual Vacancy wasn’t that good and you needed more proof, The Cuckoo’s Calling will eliminate all your doubts about Rowling’s writing ability beyond magic.
In Cormoran Strike she has created a detective whose series I am sure will run for long, much longer than Harry Potter. There are some expectations that might not be met by the character of Cormoran Strike and there is more that you will yearn from a detective novel (if you are a fan of such books) but you will enjoy it nonetheless and I am sure in the upcoming books Rowling will mature the character(s) and will thicken the plots too.
So I would say The Cuckoo’s Calling is a very good start to a series. Looking forward to next one “The Silkworm” which is released very recently.
This book was sponsored by MySmartPrice