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 . . . A gripping, elegant mystery steeped in the atmosphere of London – from the hushed streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End to the bustle of Soho – The Cuckoo’s Calling is a remarkable book. Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel from Robert Galbraith.
Review Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym/pen name of J K Rowling, author of the ‘Harry Potter’ books. Despite not usually reading children’s books, I have read all of the Harry Potter books and found them to be a great read (with the exception of the final book in the series which I did not really enjoy). I was impressed that Rowling was not only able to create the entire magical world in her mind, but also to write the stories in such a way that everyone was able to imagine that world as she had visualised it. As such, when it was leaked that Robert Galbraith was, in fact, J K Rowling, I was interested to see her style when it came to writing fiction for adults.
I’m glad I gave is a go becaus The Cuckoo’s Calling is a brilliant mystery story. It focuses on private investigator Cormoran Strike. A famous but troubled model is found dead and her brother hires Strike to investigate the death despite the police treating it as a suicide. As Strike delves further into the facts surrounding the death it becomes clear that all is not as it seems.
Strike is a complex character: ex-army, in financial straights, on the verge of losing his business and in the process of a complicated separation with his fiancé. He is a terrific character and Galbraith manages to make the reader sympathise with Strike’s current situation whilst at the same time understanding his faults and failings. His assistant, Robin, is more instantly likeable as a character and their relationship is interesting to witness.
This is not an ‘edge of your seat’ story but proceeds at a gentle pace. However, the descriptive nature and the appeal of the characters make it a captivating story. Galbraith hits the right balance between description and storytelling which allows the reader to be able to visualise the world that the author has created in their mind without becoming too bogged down with overly verbose descriptions.
I struggled to put this book down.
I am aware that the book may not have garnered nearly so much attention and publicity had the author’s true identity not been revealed, however, on the flip side, an established author such as Rowling may be more likely to face criticism if fans of her earlier work do not think a new book is up to earlier standards.
In my opinion, Rowling has moved effortlessly between genres, from a magical fantasy world to a gritty mystery, without losing any of the appeal of her writing style.
I have just downloaded book 2 in the Cormeran Strike series, The Silkworm, and I cannot wait to give it a try.
Both Cormoran Strike books are on sale via Amazon for £1.99 at present, so it’s the perfect time to give them a try.