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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.
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.
21 of 31 people found this review helpful
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.
13 of 19 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to The Cuckoo's Calling the most enjoyable?
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.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Both Cormoran and Robin I enjoyed how they interacted and it was enjoyable to see how their characters evolved
Which scene was your favorite?
So many but of course the scene were the murder is exposed
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
There were many emotional moments but it was constantly moving and enjoyable
Any additional comments?
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
19 of 28 people found this review helpful
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.
10 of 15 people found this review helpful
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. .
30 of 46 people found this review helpful
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!
8 of 12 people found this review helpful
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.
6 of 9 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about The Cuckoo's Calling?
I loved the characterization of each person, the plots with it's twists and turns, and the intelligence with which it was rendered.
Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?
The plot was intriguing because many different facets of the mystery were exposed amidst the sub plots which included the personal lives of the main characters.
What does Robert Glenister bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Each character had a different voice and it was easy to tell who was speaking even without the written clues. There was no difficulty understanding the ends of sentences like other novels I have listened to and despite the unfamiliar accents I could understand every word. The orator definitely brings a level of excitement and authenticity to the story, as if you are living inside it.
11 of 17 people found this review helpful
So I guess I am the only person who didn't know this was JK Rowling! I was really surprised how engrossing, intelligent, yet entertaining it was. I binge listened in one weekend and was guessing right to the end! If you're a fan of GOOD mystery, and you sick of all the genre schlock that get 5 star ratings even though it's crap, you'll really, really enjoy this :)
4 of 6 people found this review helpful
I normally review SF, although I do read a good bit of detective and spy fiction. (I don't feel I have the breadth to comment on those areas.) But this book is so completely peculiar that I doubt anyone has the right background to provide expert commentary.
My wife insisted I listen to it. I really didn't want to read a Rowling romp. What a moron I am at times. I could not disagree more with those who suggest this is a great "first" effort in the genre. It is a really good book. Period.
This is clever and VERY "meta'" -- brilliantly narrated. It is as though someone had reviewed all detective stories from Chandler on, sat a LONG time digesting the body of work and then written what was supposed to look simple but was really a sly book. The author covers every single base on the "tough but scruffy British police/detective" checklist right out in the open....no pretending it is something else. But each is addressed in new and interesting ways -- and the author supplies all of the mandatory snappy patter. But in the end it becomes just a good story.
It is fun and self-deprecating. It delivers completely I thought.
4 of 6 people found this review helpful