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 a classic crime novel in the tradition of P. D. James and Ruth Rendell, and marks the beginning of a unique series of mysteries.
Robert Glenister has performed with both the National Theatre and the RSC. He has worked extensively on radio and television and is probably best known for his roles as Ash Morgan in the BBC's Hustle and as the Home Secretary in 5 series of Spooks.
©2013 Robert Galbraith (P)2013 Hachette Digital
"The Cuckoo's Calling reminds me why I fell in love with crime fiction in the first place." (Val McDermid)
"One of the most unique and compelling detectives I've come across in years" (Mark Billingham)
"One of the best crime novels I have ever read." (Alex Gray)
Surely the sign of a really good book is when the last words have been spoken and listeners find themselves disappointed at having been abruptly separated from people and events that have been a real part of their lives (in this case for nearly16 hours). Well, if that is the case then this qualifies as a Really Good Book -- it ticks all the boxes.
The narrator: great voice, acted out the roles very convincingly (change of accents and voices very well done) and, best of all, didn't differentiate male and females voices through changing pitch. The writing was vivid. Elegant and succinct prose endowed each sentence an energy which created settings and personal characteristics.
While this was a crime mystery, that was only part of it. In fact, despite the urgency of the plot, for me the people became the most interesting aspect because The Cuckoo's Calling (clever title) was also the story of the lives of many individuals. Cormoran Strike, for example, is the detective, but he has his own compelling story which entwines throughout the central plot. I found myself caring about his well-being along with the decisions that Robyn will make about her life direction, and I was also repelled by, or drawn to the many other characters that moved in and out of my life through this book.
I had not read any of J K Rowling (Robert Galbraith) before but this book demonstrates what a talented writer she is and why she has been so very successful. I hope this is the beginning of a series.
I hope that JK Rowling's outing as the author of this novel doesn't discourage her from publishing any followups, because I really enjoyed it.
The style is very paced. It is a mystery that slowly unfolds, with no car chases, or mad escapes against the odds, just a pair of intelligent, observant people making steady progress towards solving a mystery.
The dialogue is engaging, and the reader (Robert Glenister) does a fantastic job with the voice characterisations. I only lost track of the characters (and there is quite a large cast) one time.
I liked how the scenes were painted in the mind's eye. You could feel the light in the room, or hear the sounds of distant children playing. It was literature written with a painter's eye.
The resolution is satisfyingly twisty, you will likely deduce some or most of the story, but probably not all of it.
A couple of minor issues:
The police characters were caricatures of ineptitude, and a little unbelievable. The quantity of swearing from some characters was a bit distracting though again, the narrator does a great job. Otherwise a very fun read, and I look forward to more in the same vein.
Wife, mother, nanna, part time actor, avid reader, world traveller, golfer, bridge player, lover of life.
I am getting ready to listen to this book again and I have only just finished it.
The way this book has been structured there isn't one moment that isn't memorable
Robert Glenister gives a superb performance of this book. He is now my second favourite reader on Audible.com
Definitely Robyn and Cormoran Strike.
I am aware who has written this book under a different name now and I am absolutely of the opinion that the books to come from this series, and I hope there will be more, will be as much awaited as those this writer has penned before. With the exception of the last book under the writer's real name that I didn't enjoy. I don't want to spoil it for those who don't know who it is but there is so much detail in The Cuckoos Calling combined with the research and style in which the book is written makes it impossible to put it down. I can't wait for more to come.
Though this book didn't have the blood and gore of many mystery fiction available today I found this book fascinating and compelling to listen to, it was well written, beautifully described so that many of the images related to by the author were very vivid in my mind's eye. I have to say that I couldn't put it down, as my wardrobe, my bedroom drawers are now perfectly tidy and sorted because I wanted to know "who dunnit". I hope to hear from this author again. May Cormoran Strike like lightening again!
Cormoran himself, his big bulky and affable (in his own way) nature became very endearing as the story unfolded.
Cormoran and his delightful secretary - just so I too could pretend to take notes and hang on their every word.
I have a busy career, travel a lot and don't have much time to read, so I listen to Audio books. I love reading!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was thrilling and gripping and kept me captivated for the full length of the story. robert Glenister narrates beautifuly and his tones, accents and portrayal of women's voices was very good.
The overall story was exciting and plausible and was a really good detective story.
Worth the read!
Wow I have finished the book and feel a little sad. The story kept me guessing right to the end. Robert Glenister told the story so well and made the characters come alive. I cannot wait for the next in in the series J K.( Robert) please hurry!!
Yes it did I could not guess what had happened and loved the characters each giving their version of the other characters and events
Strike himself!! He is such a well drawn character and the author has a wonderfuk creation here and can develop him as the series progresses.
Kept me on the edge of my seat if that is possible when you are walking
Next Book Please
I can understand why JK decided to write it under a pseudo name, but if I hadn't known it was her I probably wouldn't have picked it up for quite awhile, but I am glad that I did! I really enjoyed it and look forward to more in the series. It kept me guessing and wondering all the time.
I would have given it 5 stars all around, except for the language. Although it was used in context of the characters, because I don't speak like that, it could be a bit jarring at times.Thankfully it wasn't over the top or used excessively. (And Strike even apologizes for it! :-) )
I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!
I must admit I bought this book when I learned that J.K. Rowlings wrote it. I wanted to see how she would write a mystery. I have to also admit that I have never listened any of her books and I was buying on her amazing reputation. With that said, I really liked the book, but did not love it.
What I loved about it.
* Fantastic job on character development (but would you think anything less?) I got to know and love Strike and Robin right from the beginning and warmed up to all the other cast very shortly.
* The story was a good mystery.
* I liked that the ending gave way to a sequel to this book as I am interested where Strike's business and personal life take him.
* I loved Strike's crazy ex girlfriend and hope to see/hear more of her in future books as she was just briefly mentioned in the beginning and snippets throughout the book.
What I didn't....
*The book was OVERLY long. At almost 16 hours it dragged at times. She is an amazing descriptive writer but at times it just went on and on and I just wanted her to get on with it.
* As in the above sentence, it took ages, sometimes chapters to wrap up a small part of the story line. Perhaps I like books that move faster.
Having said that I still could not put the book down despite some frustrations.
All in all a good solid listen and something you would expect from this caliber of writer. I looking forward to the next installment of the series.
Robert Glenister was fantastic with the delivery of the story.
Worth a credit, very much yes from me.
Marketer. The Engineer-MBA stereotype. Sports-fiction writer. Poor reader of text. Thus at Audible. God Bless.
I am a fanboy, so let me get done with the gushing first. JKR is such a legend! Love her!
Ok, let's talk about the book now. Ms. Rowling has an incredible ability of putting word after word, and making you look forward to the next word. A natural-born story-teller to compare with the very best. Even while reading the Potter novels, I had always thought that mystery would be her natural habitat, she is so brilliant and ingenuous at plot and storytelling. And this here is a proof. Does it hurtle through like, say, a Lee Child novel? Nope, the story builds up gradually -- this is a classic detection novel, the thrill is secondary to the detection -- but it is still effective, you can still not put the book down. I couldn't.
Characters: Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott are both such interesting characters! I'd very much like this book to be Cormoran Strike #1, a part of a long series.
Writing: there's craft here. The characters are almost uniformly well-developed (as you have come to expect from JKR), the sexual tension between characters is brought out really well (without being explicit -- this is JKR, folks. She is a children's writer, remember?), and it is well-researched, again another JKR trait.
And okay then, let's have the acid test for all private-eye books --- Could I guess the killer? Nope. Not till the very end I couldn't.
I like Fantasy & Science Fiction but not into Zombie. Due to Health issues, listen to Audiobooks/read ebooks where I can enlarge the print
The narrator does an excellent job and i would like to listen to more of his work. from what i understand he has been involved in TV shows, radio dramas, and audio drama to note just a few.
I found Cormoran Strike to be too self absorbed and overall not a pleasant character where as his new temp is a much more engrossing. That said the characters are on the whole well rounded. but in the most cases extremes of their particular niche in society as portrayed in this novel
The story reallies heavily on incidents in just about every major characters life that just all happen to occur at the same time thus causing guilty and innocent alike to cover for one another on the same evening a model dies.
Also Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling appears to think that an excessive use of the "F" word etc needs be be used in abundance to ensure that this is taken as an Adult style book. In some areas of the book it is inserted between just about every second word. I felt it was used in excess. But I guess it ensures it wont been seen on shelves next to Mr Potter :)
I don't think that Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling has much affinity for the Paparazzi or the news media in general by the way they portrayed in this novel . . . not that i disagree
Overall the book is a decent read but the excessive use of profanity might put some people off. The story also reallies of to much coincidence to make it a really great plot . . .
I would still recommend this given the disclaimers above
"Entertaining and likeable"
I enjoyed this one. It's a good old-fashioned whodunnit with clues, red herrings, and a sensible resolution (not too far fetched, though maybe slightly predictable). There is generally a nice story about a PI and his PA, both of them interesting characters, though the male lead is done with more depth and conviction. The story deals with some dark themes both the murder itself and in the lives of the characters - but with humour and compassion, so that the mood in general is not excessively dark. There are silly moments and funny moments, and a gratifying sense of justice done at the end.
The writing is not very 'literary' but is thoughtful and interesting - the viewpoint of the quirky central character (the PI) is interesting: initially I did not expect to like this ex-military guy, but he turns out compassionate but unsentimental and he is a very agreeable personality to spend time with as the story goes on. The descriptions of places and action are good. I thought the reading was super, even the issue of female voices done by the male narrator (which is often difficult) was pretty well handled. The regional accents were nicely done and helpful in telling the characters apart.
I would for sure want to try future books by this author.
Well, with great timing, I had just finished this book and was telling people what an interesting story it was when we find out it's written by JK Rowling!
That aside, it is very well written and superbly read by Robert Glenister, handling the different accents with ease. The story is one that pans out quite nicely and I think you can see the ending coming but it doesn't detract from what is a very entertaining listen. The interplay between the major characters works very well for me and I am looking forward to a sequel.
Never having written a review before I felt compelled to do so in this case. Not only did I enjoy the well constructed narrative and characters thought that Robert Glenister's potrayal was superb. I felt as if I were watching a movie in my head and he seemed to be able to give the voices to each character just as I imagined. I shall certainly look for this author and the sublime Robert Glenister again when chosing from Audible.
"The Cuckoo's Calling"
I rarely add reviews but had to for this book! Once I started the book I was glued to my earphones completely. Brilliant 'who done it' with no lull points. The only downside is it finished and there isn't another in the series.... yet I hope!
A combination of great authorship and narration to bring a fabulous and tense story to life.
His outstanding performance really brought the characters to life. He didn't just read a book aloud he performed it with an excellent energy.
"Great Story, brilliantly told"
I couldn't put this one down and would highly recommend this to anyone. I am hoping that the author has written more though, at the time of writing this was the only book. Can we have some more please!!
"Intrigue, mystery and more please :)"
Very nicely crafted story from an eloquent and expressive writer. Much of the story is told through dialogue and the narrator, more of a voice actor, Robert Glenister, does a very fine job. Not just different accents but also a natural inflection to suit the emotion of the words. Very natural and I was transfixed and really cared about the main characters. I look forward to more about this character, by this author and read by this narrator. One word of warning: some of the London characters have a very colourful language and the use of profanity is frequent when these characters are talking.
Strike ia a Cornish ex-military policemen, based in London, at a very low point in his life, Strike is sinking fast. I loved his clever, sharp stubborn character, especially the prickly ebb and flow relationship with his quick witted sidekick secretary Robin.
The other plus me for for was the twisty, story line, I did not guess who did it at all! was rather shocked in the end but in a good way, having just read 2 out of three of the Larson Millennium Trilogy our author more than holds his own.
Wonderfully paced, lovable relateable characters, and a stonking good mystery whodunit...
"Oh, this is GOOD!"
I took a chance on this book based on some of the reviews and am very glad I did. The plot was satisfyingly complicated with several blind alleys and misdirection that kept me guessing till the end.
Galbraith's characterisation of his main protagonists is also very good. I found myself quickly sympathising with them and impatient to read more.
I thoroughly enjoyed Glenister's reading, the characters' voices are distinct and his pacing is excellent.
I'm really looking forward to the follow-up - I hope there's going to be one!
"Well done Galbraith/ Rowling"
I can understand JK Rowling's desire to be judged on the merits of her first foray into detective fiction, but it was not to be. Whoever wrote this book has created a pacy story that keeps one listening. I read a lot of detective fiction and think her story well-constructed with well-developed characters. She's used many of the stock features of this genre: the principle detective (in this case a private detective) coming into the story following a broken relationship with a past that has left him wounded emotionally and physically. Incessant references to smoking and drinking, probably realistic but a bit hackneyed. I maybe lead a sheltered life but do many people use the 'F' word so frequently as a noun, verb and adjective as in this book? Even the most foul-mouthed must be stretched to use it about half a dozen times in the one short sentence! Despite this I did enjoy the book. It may be presumptuous to give advice to such a prestigious writer, but I think using Latin aphorisms to introduce the different parts of the book struck me as pretentious in a detective novel and smacks of a writer feeling that the genre is below them and that they have to show their academic credentials. It's a very popular form and high quality writing adds greatly to the pleasure and JK Rowling writes well and I hope that she will write some more books featuring Cormoron Strike.
A great deal of credit is due to Robert Glenister who does a magnificent job of bringing the book alive.
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