The Cuckoo's Calling

Narrated by: Robert Glenister
Series: Cormoran Strike, Book 1
Length: 15 hrs and 54 mins
4.4 out of 5 stars (32,078 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Published under a pseudonym, J. K. Rowling’s brilliant debut mystery introduces Detective Cormoran Strike as he investigates a supermodel's suicide in “one of the best books of the year” (USA Today).

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, creditors are calling, and after a breakup with his longtime girlfriend, he’s living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with a shocking 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.

Fast-paced and sharply drawn, this dazzling detective novel inspired Strike, the BBC crime drama series that has captivated millions of viewers worldwide. 

©2013 Robert Galbraith (P)2013 Hachette Audio

Featured Article: 20 Best Mystery Audiobooks to Entertain Your Inner Sleuth


Looking for the perfect audiobook to keep you engrossed and engaged during your next long drive, weekend chores, or a long work day? Look no further than this list of puzzling, mind-bending mysteries that will have you holding on to every word as the narrator pulls you in on the search for clues. We’ve narrowed this wide-spanning genre down to 20 of the best mystery audiobooks we’ve heard so you can get to listening and searching for answers.

Editor's Pick

Warning: will cause a fierce attachment to fictional characters and an inability to press pause
"The Cuckoo’s Calling is a masterfully written gritty detective story that hooks you and refuses to let go until its pulse-pounding conclusion. J. K. Rowling (writing under a pseudonym) shows off her literary range in this compelling thriller. The only good thing about finishing this one is the three more equally unpauseable Cormoran Strike thrillers that are ready to listen to and get lost in."
Catherine H., Audible Editor

What listeners say about The Cuckoo's Calling

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Unbelievable debut mystery set in London

The protagonist, Cormoran Strike, is an ex-military policeman who lost a leg during service and is now trying to make ends meet as a PI in London. His "girl Friday", a temporary secretary named Robin whom he can't afford (but can't seem to turn away) arrives on a day his life's ebb hits a low point. I loved the rapport between these 2 characters.

I can't overstate how much I enjoyed this novel. One would never know by the lyrical writing, the twisty plot line and well-developed characters that this is a debut for Robert Galbraith.

My only disappoint is that the book ended and I didn't have anything else by Galbraith to read! I anxiously await his next book, which I hope continues Strikes' story.

Robert Glenister's narration is perfect!

386 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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took a chance--found a winner

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I never review--but I found this book by Robert Galbraith and found it terrific in every way. If you want excellent characters, a sharp, believable mystery, perfect pacing--go for it. After finishing it I immediately went to see what else Galbraith had written. This is his first, and Glenister did the perfect job. I am gushing. Sorry. But I loved the book. Title doesn't do it justice. I hope Galbraith is busy with his next.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Always interesting, always well paced--just good.

247 people found this helpful

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A Great Book Robert Galbraith, or is it JK Rowling

So I have never noticed this book before I found out that it was written by JK Rowling. But still I have never read her work before, but when i read the summary of the book, and understood that it is not a young reader book, i went for it. I was AMAZED!!!!

This book is a mystery book based in London, and the case which is being investigated is very interesting. I was listening to the book non stop until i finished it, such a great story and so many twists through the whole book. And when I reached the ending I was shocked of the answer and couldn't believe it. Such a good ending for a great book. The characters are well developed and you can feel that each one has their own story and life which they are going through. Every time i thought the book came to its ending I find that still couple of hours left. Nothing better than a book which you are not looking forward to reach its ending from its quality.

Lets talk about the narration here, the narrator Robert Glenister did a fantastic job with this book. His narration gave life to the characters and made it simple to know which character you are listening to., such a good job with the narration.

Looking forward for the next book, don't be late

183 people found this helpful

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Download JKR's newest “with renewed optimism”!!

If you tried Casual Vacancy and that makes you reluctant to try JKR’s newest adult offering, this one line from the story should make you change your mind! Unlike the depressing, vacant, jaded pacifism so common throughout CV, The Cuckoo’s Calling is filled with vibrant and engaging characters, exciting story lines and yes, OPTIMISM!
The central character is Cormoran Strike- Private Investigator, Afghan war veteran, lower leg amputee who had a peripatetic (my new favorite word!) childhood and a love life that screams trouble. He has an appealing new sidekick named Robin: a short term temp who lucks into a gig that fulfills her childhood dream of solving crimes and making a difference. While the plot is intriguing, the best part about the book is the characters. They are rich, detailed and fascinating! You'll want to get to know Cormoran! You would even agree to be in Robin's upcoming wedding- even though being a bridesmaid- especially in one ups-man-land London- would be a nightmare!
The criminal story line starts out dramatic and quick- engrossing you completely from the first chapter. It quickly evolves into a complicated Gordian knot of twists, lies and secrets.
This novel feels very British, but not so London-y like Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series. It is nice to read a book that covers aspects of the glam life without being enamored of it.
In many ways this series feels to me like a British Jack Reacher. Not as violent! As Rowling makes a point of mentioning even the police don't carry guns and that Corm had to give his guns back when he stopped being a soldier. I do hope she writes as many books for Strike as their have been for Reacher. I want to know so much more about his past and future!!

115 people found this helpful

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Please be a series!

I admit that I bumped up this in my listening cue only after the author was revealed, but I'm glad I did. What Rowling did with the traditional Brit novel of manners in Casual Vacancy, she now does for the traditional Brit detective formula, but with a detective in almost stereotyped US classic noir circumstance (although a leg wound from Afghanistan is a nice nod to the Brit tradition and situation). There is a sort-of-dark male lead character with hints of a mysterious past who has a prickly relationship with a new, younger perkier female sidekick. Rowling enlivens both the formula characters and genre conventions. The dialogue is good - livelier than most UK crime fiction but not "screenplay" like some North American.

The world of celebrity doesn't interest me but the fictional world of London crime, created by generations of crime authors, does. This is not a masterpiece but highly enjoyable, and isn't "enjoyable" the gift that Rowling brings to adult fiction?

If you enjoyed Casual Vacancy and traditional Brit detectives, you'll love this. Like most Brit detectives, this is PG listening -- but I'd still not give it to the kids -- content is similar in tone to Casual Vacancy. I felt cheated that I did not have Harry Potter when growing up, so perhaps Rowling will now create a detective series for my generation.

124 people found this helpful

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Nope....it's nothing special

I almost think that JK Rowling felt she had to prove something writing primarily for adults, and so she dipped too many times into the thesaurus and ran on too long with her set dressing and descriptions. It is rather distracting, without adding anything worthwhile to the story. There's also a strange kind of prejudice exhibited in the description of people's appearances: With the exception of the narrator and protagonist, everyone on the "good" side of the line is described as good looking, if not beautiful, and everyone on the "bad" side of the line is described as having physical or sartorial defects in very blatant and unsympathetic terms (after all, is sweating really only limited to unpleasant people?). In fact, that's one of the ways I came to figure out who dunnit, even though I could never have conceived of the strange and unbelievable details of how it happened. Seriously, some of the things he claims to have realized happened and helped him solve the crime are simply unbelievable.

The set up of the characters is ordinary.........war vet, injured and down on his luck, is a private detective in a shoebox office up a rickety staircase, with minimal furniture or employees. Unexpectedly, he gets a wealthy client and, with the help of his plucky new secretary (both share a hidden affection for the other) solve the crime and breathe new life into the worn down detective agency. When I write it like that, it seems a little bit like The Maltese Falcon in some ways.

I put off reading this one for a long time, but I finally gave in in the face of sequels and great reviews. Not a good choice, and I won't be listening to any of the others.

9 people found this helpful

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Rowling makes it look easy! What a GREAT writer!

I must admit when I read the summary of this book I was like "ehhh, I guess I'll give it a try". I was pulled in almost immediately and never wanted to put it down until the end. I was completely impressed. This story was gripping and the characters rich and intriguing. I LOVED this book and it is one of my favorites of the year. By the way, not to ignore the performance - the reader was excellent. I had never heard one of his performances before but I will look for him again. The subtle differences in English accents were excellently performed so that each character was vivid and believable. The pacing was nice too.

80 people found this helpful

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An engaging page turner.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I probably wouldn't have purchased this book if its writer weren't famous. But I'm glad I did. The plot kept me engaged throughout. I did recommend the audio to a friend and bought a hard copy for another friend.

What does Robert Glenister bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I thought the reader was rhythmically perfect for the book. This is a mystery, not a thriller, and Glenister set the scene very well.

27 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not worth the credit or price

This book was a standard detective novel, and not a very good one at that. Plot was basic and predictable. Characters were dull and obvious. Narrator was good though. The book was filled with foul language and a ton of "F" bombs. I would avoid this book.

36 people found this helpful

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Mind numbing detail of every scene

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

This book was too slow paced for me. I found myself dreading the start of a new scene as it would be endless description of every irrelevant detail of the scene, down to the dandruff on the medical examiner's coat. If you like a lot of flair and artistic scene setting, this may be the book for you. However, if you want a plot that moves along without telling you how worn the carpet is, or what color shoe laces a passer by has, this would not be the book for you.

Any additional comments?

The performer of this book was fantastic.

87 people found this helpful