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, thelegendary 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.
"Starred Review. Combines a complex and compelling sleuth and an equally well-formed and unlikely assistant with a baffling crime...A stellar debut." - Publishers Weekly
"Instantly absorbing, featuring a detective facing crumbling circumstances with resolve instead of clichéd self-destruction and a lovable sidekick with contagious enthusiasm for detection. Strike bears little resemblance to Jackson Brodie, but Kate Atkinson's fans will appreciate his reliance on deduction and observation along with Galbraith's skilled storytelling." - Booklist
"Starred Review. Plenty of twists...Totally engrossing...Galbraith's take on contemporary celebrity obsession makes for a grand beach read." - Library Journal, Mystery Debut of the Month
"Cormoran Strike is an amazing creation and I can't wait for his next outing. Strike is so instantly compelling that it's hard to believe this is a debut novel. I hope there are plenty more Cormoran Strike adventures to come. A beautifully written debut novel introducing one of the most unique and compelling detectives I've come across in years." - Mark Billingham, author of The Demands
"Robert Galbraith's debut is as hardbitten and hard-driving as its battered hero. Cuckoo's Calling scales the glittering heights of society even as it plumbs the dark depths of the human heart. A riveting read from an author to watch." - Mike Cooper, Shamus Award-winning author of Clawback
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Rated of 5
THE CUCKOO’S CALLING by Robert Galbraith (J K Rowling)
Rowling has written an engaging and tightly plotted mystery. The characters are well delineated and clearly drawn. I was especially impressed by how “true” the characters remained to themselves as the plot thickened (when I thought this was a debut novel). The situations with the paparazzi were interesting in retrospect as I wondered how much her own experience with the press and fans influenced her depiction of them.
We learn enough about Rowling’s damaged detective, Cormoran Strike, to like him and want to know more in succeeding installments of this obvious first in a series. His backstory with military service, marriage/divorce and law enforcement “friends” offer opportunity for additional story/plot nuggets for the future. His Girl Friday, Robin Ellacott, is intelligent and a worthy foil to Strike, although the boyfriend/fiancé is unknowable and likely to quickly disappear from the scene.
I liked that both entirely likeable and entirely unlikeable characters played a part in the plotting. There are several clear candidates for the villain and plenty of red herrings along the way. The ending is always in doubt until the final chapters. It is testament to Rowling’s ability that Lula, who is already dead when she first appears in the tale, emerges in totality even without the benefit of including “back flashes” as the book proceeds.
I hope that Rowling continues writing mysteries with Cormoran and Robin in many future novels.
Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series and The Casual Vacancy.
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