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.
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, thelegendary 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.
Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
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