Author: Robert Galbraith (pseudonym used by J.K Rowling)
Publisher: Little Brown
Release date: April 18th, 2013
Started on:February 25th, 2016
Finished on: March 1st, 2016
When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case.
A war veteran, wounded both physically and psychologically, Strike’s life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .
Strike’s business as a private detective is not going well. Neither is his love life. Newly-appointed temp secretary Robin Ellacott has no time to ponder over it as a client shows up with a case that could save the business from bankruptcy and the detective from falling further into depression. John Bristow is 100% sure his sister did not kill herself. Like most families, he cannot believe Lula capable of such a thing. It takes a personal interest for the detective to agree to dig into the case and embark on the whodunnit investigation.
I wish I hadn’t known J.K Rowling was hiding behind Robert Galbraith. I see her name, my mind goes straight back to Harry Potter. Then I think twice and recall my painful attempt to read The Casual Vacancy. I was afraid to be faced again with a heavy writing, bland characters and a plot too weak to keep me interested. Thankfully, it was not the case. The Cuckoo’s Calling has little to do with her previous adult novel.
A young model died. Was it really a suicide? Many people have their say in what happened. The victim was evolving in a cutthroat world and her family background was complicated. The plot takes its time, just like a real investigation. No big scientific show-off moments, no DNA proof, just the good old questioning and reasoning. Most secondary characters were interesting enough to be good suspects, although I did sigh at some cliché. (Yes, Guy Somé, I am talking about you). I did notice some very important details but could not make out who was behind it all, which is a good point for this kind of book. Still, I expected the end to be different, maybe a little less rushed, after all those long days and nights of research. Perhaps it only reflects the reality of investigations and I’m being picky. It is not that I was disappointed, I just had the feeling the unravelling was abrupt. It was good, but not mind-blowing. (See how a name can heighten your expectations? Where is my awesome ending, Rowling?)
While the plot was okay, what made the book really engaging was the two main characters. I immediately fell for young Robin, sent by a
temp agency twist of fate to get a taste of her dream work. I found her enthusiasm over the job to be refreshing. She has all it takes to be a kick-ass assistant. Strike is a complicated guy who just got out of a toxic relationship and whose family name rings a bell to many people. I really enjoyed how their personal lives leak through the cracks of the case. The more you learn about the investigation, the more you learn about them.
I am glad I waited this long before reading The Cuckoo’s Calling. It is easier to enjoy the story for what it is without the pressure of the novelty and the reputation of the author in mind. I had a nice time investigating with Strike and Robin and I will definitely check out their next case!