Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Title: The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike # 1)
Author: Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Published: April, 2013 by Sphere (Hachette)
Pages: 449
Find it at: Flipkart / Amazon
My Rating: 5/5!

*Declaration* I read this book mostly because it is written by J.K. Rowling. In fact, before it wasn't revealed that she is the true author of this book, I hadn't come across it, or knew of its existence. As a JKR fan, it was impossible to read the book without stopping in between and thinking, 'ohmygod. JK is brilliant!' So yeah, probably the review is biased, so if you think that's not the way you'd want to read, don't.

Blurb from Goodreads
A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.

Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Pic credit: Google
My Thoughts!
The Cuckoo's Calling introduces us to a new detective in the fictional world of crime and mystery. When I started reading the book, I'd expected Cormoran Strike to be like Jack Reacher maybe, being ex-military, but I was delighted to see that Strike's characterization was totally unexpected and I loved every bit of it! Strike's a private detective now, recently breaking up with his girlfriend, barely able to make a living. However, this information about a hero-protagonist doesn't make you feel bad. It's rather the opposite! You'd find yourself cheering for him whenever he gets a small success, and although I'm not entirely in love with this character, I do accept him as one of those whose stories have a magnetic quality to them. You just want to know what he's going to be doing. His own past and story is just as intriguing and every revelation makes you connect better with him. 

The mystery surrounding the supermodel's death is investigated by Strike with the help of his temporary assistant, Robin. It's never a pretty picture, but it most certainly wasn't as gruesome as I thought it'd be, going by the blurb. Perhaps it's because all the stinky details have been spread out evenly throughout the book. True, we see less of the kind of swinging action we're used to; I felt it's more Sherlock-style. Unraveling the mystery by going into psychological depths of people associated with Lula Landry, the model who fell to her death from her second floor flat. Strike digs into Lula's past and comes across a whole array of people making their living with the world of glamour. 

As I mentioned above, I found it more on the psychological side, where we receive bits and pieces of information, sometimes painfully slowly, but we're hooked on to the book nevertheless. Every suspect seems equally plausible, yet we have no idea how anyone could have managed to pull off the crime. The book did seem to get stretched in between, but it picks up pace in the second half. I know a couple of people who read mystery books backwards: they start reading from the beginning, and when they know what the crime was, they read the back pages to know who the criminal is, and then read the book, figuring out how the criminal managed the crime. I'm on the opposite side, though. Even if I'm clueless as to who it might be and how the crime was committed, I'd never want to know the solution in advance! I'd like to work through the mystery along with the detective, marveling at the manner in which he makes sense of the unrelated pieces of information. It was the same with Strike. At every revelation and deduction and sense of understanding of human behaviour, all I felt was awe at this brainy character! 

The other characters in the book lead parallel lives, though the focus is majorly on Strike. It was fun reading about those as well, and also intriguing, for it added up to making one feel like anything could be an important piece of information! Since there were quite a few suspects in my mind, with all of them having possible motives and we were steadily receiving information about each of them, I felt the ending could have been more elaborate. Although I very well know it wouldn't have been much use; the actual crime - the who and the how - had been explained quite clearly, but I still was left wondering about the other suspects and their suspicious activities. Apart from the well-knit plot, believable and realistic characters, the writing style was mature. I don't know if 'mature' is the right word. I suppose it could have been easier, but then, that's the style the author had adopted and apart from the fact that one would need regular use of the dictionary (if you really can stop to go through their meanings and not do with the implied ones), it suited the book just as well.

Quite a few to-be-remembered lines from the book:

“Humans often assumed symmetry and equality where none existed.”

“When you are young, and beautiful, you can be very cruel.” 

“How easy it was to capitalize on a person’s own bent for self-destruction; how simple to nudge them into non-being, then to stand back and shrug and agree that it had been the inevitable result of a chaotic, catastrophic life.” 

Recommended for: Mystery lovers, adult readers, JKR fans!  
PS- Super excited to read the next Cormoran Strike novel, The Silkworm! 


  1. I love love love the book.. I have the silkworm waiting to be devoured ...

    1. Me too! I'm happy we'd be getting those exciting moments whenever she comes out with a new book even now :')


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