The Cuckoo's Calling is a 2013 crime fiction novel by J. K. Rowling, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
A brilliant 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, the legendary 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.
©2013 Robert Galbraith (P)2013 Hachette Audio
Always moving. Always listening. Always learning. "After all this time?" "Always."
Cormoran Strike is the aptly named detective/hero of Robert Galbraith's debut novel "The Cuckoo's Calling" (2013). 'Comoran' is a giant of Cornish legend, and Galbraith's investigator is both physically and mentally huge. Strike is also wounded - he lost part of a leg in Afghanistan, and jettisons a fiancé at the beginning of the book.
Strike inadvertently finds a Temporary Solution in Robin Ellacott, an amazingly tactful and resourceful transplant to London. Her first day of work, Robin ushers in a rabbity John Bristow, the brother of Strike's childhood friend, Charlie. Bristow's sister, supermodel Lula Landry, died months before after falling from a balcony in the upscale high security building she lived in, and Bristow doesn't believe it was a suicide.
Strike and Robin investigate in modern day London, from free rehab clinics and homeless shelters to the top homes and boutiques of London's titled class.
I loved the British English - 'crisps' sounds so much more elegant than 'potato chips'; 'bog' is definitely more descriptive for a bathroom in a pub; and who doesn't like 'mobile' instead of 'cell phone'? Some of it mystified me - 'pork scratchings' turned out to be 'pork rinds' if you live most of the United States, and chicharrones if you live in California; and 'digestives' are biscuits. What really through me was 'Electric Lane'. It took some Google research and an inquiry to an ex-pat friend to figure out it was an actual street name, not special parking for hybrid electric cars. These detours made the book more enjoyable for me, especially since Robert Glenister's narration gave me the pronunciations.
The "who dunnit" was well plotted, and the answer was never easy.
I am aware, of course, that Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowlings, but I'm respecting her choice to write under another name. "The Cuckoo's Calling" is a different genre than the "Harry Potter" series, and Galbraith's language and descriptions are very different than those in Rowling's "Harry Potter." Galbraith is a more mature writer. I hope this is a 'Cormoran Strike #1.'
I'd also like to give props to my fellow Audible reviewers Tracey of Danville, AR and Deborah of Burbank, CA who found this Audible book and loved it before the secret author was revealed. I'm following both of them now, hoping that I won't miss any more gems like "The Cuckoo's Calling" just because I haven't heard of the author.
[The title of this review is from a line in this book. If you found this review helpful please let me know by pressing 'helpful.' Thanks!]
Retired teacher of literature with an interest in religion and in science and in history. I have loved reading for 50 years.
Excessive unnecessary details, too much description that is ordinary, not vivid, and the plot drags along so that I wished the story was a long short story or novella rather than its present length. The main character is interesting, as are one or two other persons....but the book is loaded with so many people who pop in and out that you had better keep an alphabetical list to remember them....or maybe you should just ignore them once you figure out who is important to the story...which is not easy the first half of the book. The author's style seems to be that of a first-time novelist....as I said but must repeat: wordy wordy wordy. Were the reputed author not JKR, this book would not have been published. And I do wonder if JKR did write it or if she is boosting someone else's effort to break in to publishing...but if JKR is doing that, did she even READ the book?
Avid listener on my daily commute!
Within minutes of beginning this page-turner, I was hooked! Rowling's prose here is flawless (much better than in Harry Potter series), her characters richly drawn and interesting, and the plot riveting. I couldn't wait to discover what would happen next, and the final revelations were NOT what I had suspected and anticipated, so the ending, while believable, was a complete surprise. Grade: A+. Bechdel test: Pass, I think (if Robin's conversation with a shopgirl about clothing counts). I'm beginning the next volume in the series as soon as possible.
I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.
I'm going to ignore the hoopla on the author and focus on the book.
First of all, it's easy to get sucked into the story. The narrator is perfect. There are parts of this book that make you think of Jo Nesbø's writing. After a bit, it drifts into long-winded spiels that reminded me of bad student essays. Then it ends. The conclusion - don't worry, no spoilers - is so odd. It's like the author had no idea how to bring it all around with the deftness I've come to expect from Nesbø, James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane and other well-regarded authors of that genre.
Would I recommend it to a friend? Probably not to someone who listens to a few books a year. There are many, many other better choices. If you're a voracious reader/listener, you may enjoy it just to experience this author as she stretches out into new territory. I'm going to give her credit for trying something so different from her past successes.
I downloaded this book because of the buzz and stayed because I literally couldn't put it down. First of all, I cared about the main characters...they were complex, interesting and not the least bit cliched. Strike, the main character has a fascinating history and an equally interesting present. Others are likewise intriguing. I wanted to sit down with them, have a good dinner and knew I would be assured of good conversation. The plot is sophisticated and the process of moving through the puzzle is drawn in great detail.
I also thought the descriptions of place and people were very well done.
The narration was excellent.
From the very start, you were hooked into this story. I couldn't stop listening because I wanted to know what happened next. Also you really cared for the characters. They were believable and had depth.
Both Cormoran and Robin I enjoyed how they interacted and it was enjoyable to see how their characters evolved
So many but of course the scene were the murder is exposed
There were many emotional moments but it was constantly moving and enjoyable
Supposedly this is a pen name of JK Rowling....I never read any of the "Potter" books so I can't make a comparison. However this book is wonderful and I hope he/she continues this series
I love to read books set in interesting places or historical settings. I especially love mysteries and thrillers.
This book was fun from the first chapter. Detective Cormoran Strike and his temporary secretary, Robin, are well developed with back stories that support how they act and think throughout the story. The mystery is interesting as the police have closed the case as a supermodel's suicide. Could it have been murder as her brother believes? The twists and clues will have you guessing until the end. I loved the story.
As you learn more about the "unlucky" Cormoran, you will find he is a reluctant British war hero with one leg. His parents provided little guidance or assistance, yet he has strong morals and values. I would buy any audio book that includes this wonderful character in the future.
Mysteries don't always have satisfactory endings. The ending to this mystery surprised me, but all the clues were there for me to figure it out myself. I was so satisfied with how the story ended for several of the characters. I am still smiling when I think back over this audio book. I hope J K. Rowling will continue with a series -- I would look forward to any book with Cormoran and Robin.
The narrator, Robert Glenister, did a fantastic job. His performance caused me to get so involved in listening that I had two occasions where I stayed on the train past my work stop. Mr. Glenister presented each character with a unique voice and many different British accents. I felt like it was a performance more than a narration. He kept the interest high even when some of the scenes got a little long and wordy. I wish there was a higher rating I could give to the narration of this book.
I bought it after reading in the NYT that JK Rowling wrote it, and it's a winner. I was ready for her to write an adult winner, even after reading her "A Casual Vacancy" and finding it lacking. What a depressing dirge of a novel that was, quite the contrast to her Harry Potters. I wondered if she were going to continue to save her energy and humor for children, and pour on the grim for adults.
This book is the answer, and it's a resounding no. Great writing, Brilliant, seemingly tossed-off descriptions that lodge each character in the head as real. Great detective plot. Wonderful characters, none stereotypes. Surprises abound. I bought it because of the reviews, and because I love the Potter series, which I read aloud to a niece as each came out. This is as good as the Potters, and completely different. Rowling is a writer for the ages, our Graham Greene, maybe. Also, fabulous narrator.
I love everything about "The Cockoo's Calling," even though I'm not interested in celebrity culture. Turns out that I'm very interested in Rowling's version. That's what great fiction can do - take you places you didn't know you wanted to go. .
I think I would have enjoyed this just as much if I hadn't known that Galbraith is a pseudonym of J.K. Rowling. I really liked the characters of Strike and his assistant Robin (my name!).There were a lot of other characters and details but the story seemed organic and clues were naturally dropped into the story. The narration was outstanding, keeping the many characters' voices distinctive. The milieu was gritty without being depressing or harrowing, and the contrast between the rich and famous and the rest of the world is clearly drawn. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. I'm also looking up to see what else Robert Glenister has narrated!
This is a new series for this author. Who would think the same author could write Harry Potter and then write something as gritty and grubby as this series. The protagonist makes you want to know more about him right from the start. He is a sympathetic character who is very smart but dumb in romance. Not unusual I guess. Anyway, Cormoran is now living in his office after breaking up with his abusive girlfriend of 12 or so years. He is contacted to look into a suicide which his client believes is murder. The story takes off from there and gives the reader a good story. It is a sophisticated storyline and the author inserts lots of references to let you know that Strike is no dummy. I like the deep voice of the narrator and his accent which adds to the strength of Cormoran. He is a big man, 6'3" and weighing 16 stone (224 pounds). The descriptions of his disability and his unusual hairiness are important to seeing him. I hope there are lots of books to follow.
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