“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.
Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his 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 . . .”
It took me days, but I finally finished the debut novel from detective novelist Robert Galbraith. I liked it. I loved it near the end, yes. But for the purposes of this post? I’m sticking with ‘I liked it.’
Before we begin, yes I do know that Robert Galbraith is really J K Rowling. Truth be told, the reason why I bought the really long novel (and ploughed through it an hour a day) was because of that fact. Finishing the book though, it would be a disservice to the book if I write about it in relation to Rowling–or her other more famous series.
I would, of course, get to that later. First, I just want to talk about the book.
The first thing I want to say about the book is this: I want a second one. If that’s good, I’ll want a third one too. I really, really like Cormoran Strike and his plucky assistant Robin. They’re exceptionally well-written, very concrete. So much so that I can actually envision them in my head while reading the novel.
I really like how the other characters are written too. There’s a sense of realness to them that isn’t always present in book characters. And this is just one of the reasons why I really enjoyed reading The Cuckoo’s Calling. Why I made sure to clock in an hour of reading amidst the deadlines I had to meet.
Although I’m not a fan of the book’s length, I don’t think I would take any part of it out. Every single part of the narrative played a part in the mystery we were unraveling. A mystery that was truly–
How do I say this?
The resolution of the mystery wasn’t shocking. It’s not original (and our main protagonist even says so himself). But it is so well-handled that it feels fresh. The story was written in such a way that we are not being pushed from plot point to plot point. We progressed through the story with our main characters.
I’m normally a stickler for jumping perspectives. I hate it. But with this novel, I found it charming. I wanted to know what was going on with Robin just as much as I wanted to find out what’s happening next in Strike’s investigation. And you can tell that there is care in the way the two are being handled. That there is love.
You can’t help but love the two characters. And that’s half of the battle right there. Because when you care about the characters, when you’re hooked and wanting to find out what happens to them, then it doesn’t matter if the story’s rubbish.
Thank goodness it’s not though. The story is stellar. And this is where I relate The Cuckoo’s Calling to Rowling’s more famous series.
I grew up with Harry Potter. And when you’re following a series (and you end up with a lot of time), you can’t help but read way too much between the lines. You want to see if the author has written clues as to what will happen next. And Harry Potter did not disappoint. There are plot points in the second book that becomes very important in the sixth installment.
This, I think, has made Rowling very adept at crafting an amazing mystery novel. As soon as the mystery is introduced, clues are being planted. As we go from one story to another, we also gain a bigger understanding of what’s happening and what happened. And by the time we solve the mystery, you know it couldn’t have ended any other way.
J K Rowling, or Robert Galbraith, has given us a wonderful new world to play in. I hope she continues with it, because I want to see more of the world that Cormoran Strike and Robin inhabits. And I want to know what happens next for the two.