Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling

001Title: The Cuckoo’s Calling
Author: Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Genre: Crime fiction, Detective Fiction
Number of pages: 449

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 . . . 

When I first heard about The Cuckoo’s Calling I was curious but didn’t want to buy it straight away because crime novels aren’t really my thing. I downloaded the free sample on my kindle to get a sense of whether I would enjoy it or not and knew after the first chapter that I would end up buying it.

The Cuckoo’s Calling begins with the death of famous model Lula Landry. Since she fell from a balcony and had mental health problems the police quickly write it off as a suicide. Her brother John isn’t so sure and calls in our protagonist Cormoran Strike a private detective to look into it further. The book follows Strike as he interviews the people around Lula Landry and tries to piece together how and why she ended up falling from that balcony.

I haven’t read much crime fiction but I really enjoyed this book. It only took me a few days to read and kept me guessing all the way through. I couldn’t decide/work out who of two different people had some responsibility for what happened until it was revealed right at the end. Ok that sentence may have be worded weirdly but I don’t want to post any spoilers, people who spoil things suck.

Strike is a likeable enough main character and I liked the relationship between him and Robin. I’ve said this before but one of the things J.K. Rowling is best at is writing characters and it shows. There’s a large cast of characters in The Cuckoo’s Calling and they all felt pretty realistic.

I thought it was interesting that this book is set in 2010. It doesn’t explicitly tell you that it is but there are little hints like mentions of things that happened in the run up to the election and famous characters talking about having their phones hacked. I think I understand why Rowling chose to set the book in this time because the death of Lula Landry and Strikes investigation of it are heavily surrounded by the media and the press. 2010 makes sense because it was just before the Phone hacking scandal was revealed and the Leveston inquiry, at that time the press had much more freedom to hound celebrities and get ‘news’.

I definitely recommend The Cuckoo’s Calling even if you don’t read crime fiction.