The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith


Well that was a brilliant book.

Yes, I admit I had not heard of this book before all the news coverage and the mystery that unfolded via the media, and yes I admit that I’ve not been particularly interested in crime novels. That was until JK Rowling fulfilled her dream of writing a crime book.

I think everyone knows what this book is supposed to be about, but I’ll just refresh your memory. It follows Cormoran Strike, a veteran soldier turned private detective who has fallen on hard times. His financial situation means that his business is on the brink of failure and with the recent split from his fiance his only refuge is a camp bed in his office. Then in comes Robin Ellacott, a bright, intuitive temp who’s been assigned to Strike’s office for a week. Thus starts a tentative friendship and a blossoming professional partnership.

Strike, despite his aloofness and general ferocity of his bad mood, is actually an alright guy. A talented private detective it’s hard not to feel sorry for him with his current situation as well as his past. Yet he tends not to pity himself and doesn’t even seem to resent the injury he received during his time in Afghanistan.

The story starts off three months earlier, at the crime scene. Police are gathered around the body, the press have swarmed to the chaos and snow swirled its way to the ground. There was a quick observation of the balconies, with one too full for anyone to stand on, demonstrating the author’s trademark ability to leave a trail of inconspicuous hints from the very beginning.

It’s a crime story that’s reliant on dialogue rather than needless action and, in hindsight, everything that is said is important to the story. Strike has a way of getting his witnesses to reveal a bit too much without them even knowing, he’s an intelligent hero and incredibly resourceful, much like Robin.

The plot unravelled at a steady pace, feeding the reader a few tid bits to get their mind racing, but never enough to outright give away who committed the crime. Each of the characters introduced as witnesses are believable, none of them seem too likeable except for the one that most everyone seemed to hate; Evan Duffield. A back story to the victim, Lula Landry, was carefully constructed and built a good identity for her.

The were also other facts that seemed completely unrelated that became yet more hints that just made sense when it was all revealed.  Overall it was extremely well written, which comes as no surprise. The little details and the character’s way of reading people, as well as the author’s way of writing them, just makes it an outstanding book with quirks in the writing here and there.

It’s hugely addictive and increasingly wonderful. The murderer is not obvious and you’ll be jumping from suspect to suspect, never sure of who it actually is. It’s no wonder this was critically acclaimed before the true identity was discovered.

I loved everything about the novel, even the revelation that JK wrote it, because it’s fair enough that she wanted to keep it a secret. Strike and Robin are excellent together, their working relationship was agreat thing to read and I especially loved the scene where Strike was drunk and Robin followed him to make sure he hadn’t hurt himself, it seemed very touching because he hadn’t opened himself up like that before, and once he had there was going to be an irrevocable change in their partnership.

I urge anyone to read this book, it’s one great story and I look forward to the sequel out next year.


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