Other Books in Series
This is book number 1 in the A Cormoran Strike Novel series.
J. K. Rowling wrote the book using a pseudonym, Robert Galbraith, in a bid to separate her new book from her rather prominent name, giving it a chance to be evaluated on its own merits rather than as a J.K. Rowling story. It caused a stir when the true identity of the author was revealed. Needless to say, Ms. Rowling doesn’t write for money, her wildly successful Harry Potter series fixed that issue. She is donating the proceeds from Cuckoo’s Calling to charity. It seems to me that J.K. Rowling is trying to grow and stretch as an author. This is a sophisticated, mature work. If you are looking for fast pace and a high body count, this is not the book. If you enjoy well developed, quirky characters and a complex mystery, this is just the ticket. Rowling takes time to let the reader get to know her characters.
Cuckoo is a mega-star super model who went off the balcony of her deluxe apartment falling to her death. John Bristow, her brother, an attorney, is not persuaded by the suicide ruling. He hires London PI Cormoran Strike to solve the mystery. Strike may have a somewhat flexible moral code, but he does have a sense of honor he prefers not to violate, and this case challenges his flexibility. It seems far too much like taking money when the outcome is foregone. Cuckoo ran with a fast crowd (think drugs and drink), had just participated in a very public fight with her bad boy boyfriend, and her family background was wealthy but dysfunctional. All the evidence and her background pointed to the gorgeous young woman leaping to her own demise. Strike is broke and Bristow is going to spend that detective fee money with someone so he begins his inquiry.
These are interesting characters. Strike is a big bear of a man who came back from the fighting in Afghanistan missing half a leg; he far prefers using his powers of observation and deduction to strong arm tactics. Robin, Strike’s new secretary, finds working for a PI more interesting than her prior secretarial postings. I liked the repartee and developing relationship between these two characters. It was also refreshing to have a detective who grows to respect the intelligence and skills of his secretary without any intention of seducing the young woman. Cuckoo is a lot more complex than her supermodel persona would indicate, Strike carefully peels back the layers of her façade revealing the striving young woman contained therein.
The writing is excellent, the characters engaging, and the story very moody and complicated, all the elements of good mystery.— Deon Stonehouse
About the Author
Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series and The Casual Vacancy.
"One of the books of the year."—USA Today
"Robert Galbraith has written a highly entertaining book... Even better, he has introduced an appealing protagonist in Strike, who's sure to be the star of many sequels to come.... its narrative moves forward with propulsive suspense. More important, Strike and his now-permanent assistant, Robin (playing Nora to his Nick, Salander to his Blomkvist), have become a team - a team whose further adventures the reader cannot help eagerly awaiting."—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Rowling switches genres seamlessly...a gritty, absorbing tale."—People (3.5/4 stars)
"[Rowling's] literary gift is on display in this work. She crafts an entertaining story [and] comes up with an ending that I'll admit I was surprised by. . . . A fun read, with a main character you can care about and one you'll want to see again in other adventures."—Washington Post
"An extravagant, alien, fascinating world for its characters to explore...great pleasures."—Slate
"a strong and enticing read ... It's a gripping tale set in bustling London, and the author - whether called Galbraith or Rowling - shows superb flair as a mystery writer"
"It's really, really good - beautifully written with a terrific plot ... It's a terrific read, gripping, original and funny ... Please, please give us more of Robert Galbraith and Cormoran Strike. I can't wait for the next"—Richard & Judy, Daily Express