Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)
by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
I know this is going to sound strange, but Robert Gallbraith is actually (maybe) my first foray into JK Rowling. Yes, I haven’t read the Harry Potter Series. Well, I may have read the first one, but so long ago that I don’t recall it. But before you laugh, yes, I’ve seen the movies and yes, I do plan to read the entire Harry Potter series this year, in large part because I’ve discovered that I enjoy her writing so much.
I came across Robert Galbraith entirely by accident. My mother bought the second of the Cormoran Strike series at the supermarket and brought it home. I began reading it, not caring that it’s the second in the series, and, enjoying the author, looked him up to learn more about him. Turns out the author was actually JK Rowling. Shock!
I have to say that I was and continue to be impressed with her writing style. I find it unique and charming. Cuckoo’s Calling is rather different from the other mysteries I’ve read. Most seem to fall in a very similar vein regarding style, but the way she writes is different. I like it.
Cuckoo’s Calling follows protagonist Cormoran Strike, who is definitely not your average James Bond wannabe, nor is he quite the old-fashioned gloomy gumshoe. He’s a bit bumbling and out of shape, sympathetic following an injury and heartbreak, and quite intelligent. He comes off quite endaring in his own fashion.
In this novel, he tackles the case of a famous suicide. The brother of the deceased, who was a famous supermodel, hires Strike to investigate her death because he doesn’t believe it’s a suicide. Strike delves into the details of her complicated life, and it’s not until the very end that you really see the picture and the whodunnit. The author gives very little away along the investigation so that the ending is something of a surprise. At least it was for me.
The novel is far less about action and almost entirely a series of very in-depth interviews with people surrounding the case, all of which are absolutely filled with all kinds of exploratory information. I find that this is what makes her style so unique. I think a lot of writers rely too much on action and too many mysteries are just thrillers, action movies, with a hint of mystery. But Cockoo’s Calling is all about the story, the story of the suicide and the events surrounding it and the characters involved. She does a remarkable job of expanding on every character and giving each a detailed portrait of their own, so that the story isn’t just a piece about the detective, it’s as if you’re actually a detective walking through a variety of characters. Well done!
While the plot won’t have you on the edge of your seat with the suspense of danger, it’s an engaging ride along the way as Strike figures things out. For me, and maybe it’s just the romantic in me, but I think my favourite part of the novel might be the introduction of his assistant, Robin, and their interactions. Golbraith/Rowling does a fascinating job of developing their relationship. The little lines here and there that develop their story, the scenes the share, the excitement they both develop for working with each other, her secret dream of wanting ot be an investigator. I love it! So realistic and cute and actually, for me, a little more suspenseful than the main plot. Brilliantly, it’s a big part of what makes me want to keep reading the series. I really want to see what happens to Strike and Robin and their fledgling detective agency. Thank goodness there are more novels in the series! 😀