When a troubled model falls to her death from a Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts and calls in private detective Cormoran Strike to investigate.
Strike is a war veteran – wounded both physically and psychologically – and his private 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 world, the darker things become and the closer he gets to terrible danger…
I recently finished The Cuckoo’s Calling, the debut novel in J.K. Rowling’s latest series, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and I felt compelled to share my thoughts with you all!
Now, it’s not exactly a secret, is it? I am a HUGE Harry Potter and J.K. fan! I won’t bore you all too much with my over-excitement again (at least not yet!), but it’s relevant, I swear!! I adored every single Harry Potter novel, and the way that J.K. managed to write with the audience has always fascinated me; the Harry Potter generation truly did grow up with the characters, the writing style and the wizarding world. Roll forward a few years, to 2012, and the release of The Casual Vacancy, Rowling’s first release outside of the Harry Potter world, and I was beyond excited to read it. Here we are, four years later, and I am still yet to make it past the first few chapters. The Casual Vacancy just didn’t capture my imagination, or interest me… I was gutted, and wondered whether the buck stopped with Hogwarts for my love of Rowling’s work…
Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly filled with the joys of spring, when it all came out that Robert Galbraith was merely hiding Rowling behind a screen. Part of me was excited, because obviously I still loved her, but that feeling was slightly soured by my experience with Vacancy. Nevertheless, I picked up a copy as a birthday gift and eventually decided to give it a go. I am ecstatic to report that I have fallen in love.
The novel centres around private investigator, Cormoran Strike, and his temporary assistant, Robin. As with all good detective fiction, ‘Galbraith’ releases tiny detail after tiny detail, none of which appear to make sense until the final few pages. I definitely didn’t see the twist coming at the end of the book and for me, that is the mark of good detective fiction; all too often, writers get it slightly wrong, and it is all too easy to piece together the clues. There is no feeling worse than when you spoil the book for yourself.
Having mulled it over, I have reached a conclusion on why I feel like this novel is far more successful than The Casual Vacancy; in my opinion, Rowling is an expert at the long game, leaving her stand-alone novel paling into insignificance. The late, great Alan Rickman, in a letter penned at the climax of the film franchise, had this to say with regards to her craft:
“Three children have become adults since a phone call with Jo Rowling, containing one small clue, persuaded me that there was more to Snape than an unchanging costume, and that even though only three of the books were out at that time, she held the entire massive but delicate narrative in the surest of hands.
It is an ancient need to be told stories. But the story needs a great storyteller. Thanks for all of it, Jo.”
Alan Rickman – 26/4/2011
I would have to entirely agree with this sentiment. While her actual craft is not necessarily the most sophisticated in the world, and isn’t necessarily to everyone’s taste, it can’t be denied that Rowling is, fundamentally, a storyteller; a personality trait I feel I can easily relate to. The main thing I have taken away from The Cuckoo’s Calling is that there are so many questions I still have about Strike and I am so excited to follow the story throughout the series, to find out more about Strike.
If you loved Harry Potter and love detective fiction, I would highly recommend checking out The Cuckoo’s Calling. After all, we are three books in, and much like Rickman, I am certain that she holds yet another large and expertly crafted narrative in sure hands.
And it’s that time again! I am giving my lovely readers the chance to win a brand new copy of The Cuckoo’s Calling. To enter, comment the reason you would like to read this book, either here on the blog, or on my Facebook page post. I will be choosing a winner on SATURDAY 23rd JANUARY! Maybe it’s your New Year’s resolution to read a little more, or you just want something to capture your imagination!
Has anyone already read The Cuckoo’s Calling? Would you recommend it or not? I’d love to hear your thoughts!