Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The buzz in the street was like the humming of flies. ~ Opening of The Cuckoo's Calling


The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1) by Robert Galbraith
Mulholland Books, 2013
Crime Fiction; 550 pgs

It only took me three years to finally read this one. I was interested in the book before the real identity of the author came out, but my motivation to read it sooner rather than later waned as everyone else suddenly was rushing to read it. I didn't want to jump on the bandwagon of fans reading it just because it was written by J.K. Rowling. I never doubted I would like it. I'm a sucker for a good mystery. And so, three years later, I finally read The Cuckoo's Calling thanks to those of you who voted in my March TBR List poll. 

The author jumps right in with the death of a supermodel, summarizing the police investigation and the media's speculation. Was she pushed off her balcony or was it suicide? Private Investigator Cormoran Strike is asked by the victim's brother to investigate what he believes is the murder of his sister. Everyone else has, by that point, written her death off as a suicide. All evidence suggests a suicide, and Cormoran is reluctant to take the case. His bills are overdo, however, and the brother seems desperate. 

In many ways, The Cuckoo's Calling is your typical private investigator novel. Cormoran hits the pavement asking questions, calling on sources, hoping to shake something out that might prove one way or the other whether or not a crime was committed. His temporary secretary, meanwhile, pulls what research she can off the internet. The longer he is on the case, the more doubts Cormoran has that it was suicide. 

I wasn't sure what to expect when I first met Cormoran, but I was quite impressed the more I got to know him. Perhaps it is my father's military history that put a soft spot in my heart for veterans, and Cormoran was no exception. He was injured in the war and has a prosthetic leg. I appreciated how the character does not let his disability stop him from doing his job--and I also liked how the author did not shy away from going into some of the physical struggles he faced. Cormoran is a bit gruff on one hand, but a big softy on the other. He is clearly a very private person who likes to take care of himself. The last thing he wants is pity from anyone, much less hand outs. Which is why he finds himself living out of his office after his break up with his fiancée.

Fortunately, Cormoran's pride, which keeps him from asking for help, doesn't extend to Robin Ellacott. Although she comes to him as a temp, he recognizes immediately the value in her skills. She has a penchant for the work and quite likes it herself. The pay may not be great, but working with a private investigator comes with its own intrinsic rewards. Robin and I definitely agree on that! I liked Robin right from the start and think she and Cormoran make a great team.

The mystery itself is strong. I usually am able to work out who did what, when and why, but this one kept me guessing right up until close to the reveal. While the pacing of the novel seemed a bit slow at times, I never lost interest.

Overall, my first experience with J.K. Rowling as a mystery author was a very positive one. I look forward to reading more in the series.


To learn more about Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) and her work, please visit the authors's websiteShe can also be found on Goodreads and Twitter.


© 2016, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

38 comments:

  1. I'm glad you liked this one (and couldn't solve it)! I think I bought this one last year when I found a mint condition copy at a thrift store. I may just end up reading this this summer- I miss J.K. Rowling's writing.
    ~Litha Nelle

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    1. Litha Nelle - I hope you enjoy it when you read it. I am glad Rowling has proven she is more than just a one series wonder. She really is a talented writer.

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  2. I'll admit I'm one of those who jumped on the bandwagon but I really liked Cuckoo's Calling, especially the characters :) And I thought the books got better (but darker) as they went on. Hope you enjoy the next two!

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    1. Catherine - I am glad to hear they only get better. I look forward to continuing with the series.

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  3. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I like that Rowling can write fantasy or mystery and for either kids or adults. Very versatile!

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    1. Jenclair - I like that too. I like that the books are so different. She's very talented.

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  4. It's been my 'next' book for about 5 months. So glad to see it didn't disappoint. I do love mysteries.

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    1. Elizabeth - I hope you enjoy this when you get to it! I'm glad I finally had a chance to read it.

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  5. I didn't love her first adult book so opted to skip her mystery series and I think I made a mistake. I need to go back and pick this one up!

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    1. Kathy - I haven't read Casual Vacancy and am not yet sure I will. It just hasn't appealed to me, frankly. I couldn't resist trying her mysteries though.

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  6. For some reason I didn't hear of this book until the author was revealed and I just couldn't seem to get my mind around the fact that Rowling was writing adult mysteries. Lately I've been wanting to read this one and now I definitely do! I'm glad to see how much you've enjoyed this one.

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    1. Katherine - I hope you do read it! I felt bad for her when her identity came out. I know she didn't want it too, wanting to see if the series would stand on its own without Harry Potter fame influencing anyone.

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  7. I haven't read this one, or any of her mysteries, but I've always wondered if this particular novel would be as popular as it is if we didn't know J.K. Rowling wrote it.

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    1. Lark - Maybe not as popular, but I do think it is quality work.

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  8. This sounds good. I like typical detective stories if they're intelligent and well-written.

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    1. Stephanie - I felt this was both intelligent and well-written. I hope you give it a try!

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  9. This is one of those books I want to read but haven't. Hopefully this year... :) Thanks for your lovely review, Wendy!

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    1. Melody - Hopefully this year. :-) I say that about a lot of books. Haha

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  10. As I read/reviewed this earlier this year I was so excited to read your thoughts. Whilst I loved Cormoran i'm afraid that I didn't think the novel all that good.

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    1. Tracy - I'm sorry you didn't care for this novel as much. Cormoran is a great character.

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  11. I don't was even familiar with this book until now, but it sounds really good!

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  12. So glad you liked this one. I did too. I liked the second one too and have the third checked out of the library. I really have a soft spot for Cormoran :)

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  13. Great review! I think I need to give this one a chance too. But I actually did the same thing you did when this came out.. Everyone jumped on, so excited because it's J.K., and I kind of thought I'd wait. Well, hopefully soon!

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    1. Annika - Thank you! It seems like we haven't been the only ones putting off reading this series. :-) Hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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  14. I have had my eye on The Cuckoo's Calling for a while now. I am a J.K. Rowling fan and wondered how she'd do with this genre. Glad you enjoyed it!

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    1. Naida - It's very different than the Harry Potter series, of course, but still very good.

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  15. I'd been wondering about this one but hadn't yet took the leap to pick it up! Maybe I'll check at the library!

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  16. Can you believe I haven't read any JK Rowling books. Once I heard the connection I think I lost interest actually but it pops up every now and again and piques my interest. It is a chunkster though.

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    1. Marce - I came into the Harry Potter series late, but I devoured them once I discovered them. Her mystery series is quite different--and fortunately very good, I think. I can understand your hesitation thought. It's partly why it took me so long to read this one.

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  17. This is one of those books that has been on my TBR forever and I can't decide how much I want to read it, haha. I'm glad that it worked out well for you and the mystery stays strong!
    Great review, Wendy!

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    1. Cyn - I have a few on my shelf like that too. :-) Thanks!

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  18. I loved this one as well! I really, really need to continue on with this series. Maybe I should just go put the 2nd book on hold at the library. Great review and I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed it!

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    1. Samantha - I'm in the same boat--wanting to continue on. I think bought a copy of the second book already. I just need to dig it out.

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  19. So glad to read that you loved this book! I am sure I will love this one too but just need to make the time to read it.

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    1. Athira - If only there were more hours in the day to read . . . We probably still wouldn't get to everything we want to read though, would we?

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