Nyx Book Reviews

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Review: Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Title: The Cuckoo’s Calling
Author: Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Series: Cormoran Strike #1
Rating: 4/5 Stars

455 pages
Published April 30th 2013 by Mulholland Books

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I liked this book.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is a for me thoroughly British mystery. In my rather limited experience with the mystery and crime genres, I associate these kind of quiet, meandering kind of mysteries to British television (like Midsomer Murders) while the flashy action based ones seem American to me (like CSI). I might be completely prejudiced, but I do think the Midsomer Murders analogy works good for The Cuckoo’s Calling. All the actual detective work is done by having conversations, instead of “doing” things.

Cormoran Strike is an ex-military with only one leg, trying to make ends meet by being a private detective. When the brother of one of his high school mates asks him to look into the death of his adopted sister, a well-known model, he agrees. Together with his temp assistant Robin he tries to unravel why Lula ended up falling from her balcony on a cold winter night.

In an interview with Ms Rowling about The Casual Vacancy she showed a profound interesting into delving into the workings of human nature. In my opinion characterisation is the main thread that follows through all of her works – both Harry Potter and adult books. Through internal monologue and actions she tries to make these characters real. All of the characters do what they do for a reason – all the motivations are true to their specific nature. This also means that plenty of Rowling’s characters are very unpolished and sometimes weird. Humanity is sometimes very unpolished and weird.

I agree with other reviewers that The Cuckoo’s Calling doesn’t make a huge impact. It hasn’t got the mind-blowing climax that other novels have, but I didn’t mind that it didn’t. After reading The Casual Vacancy I thought to myself, “I wish she would write a mystery novel – she’d be great for that”. I got my wish, and I loved immersing myself into Rowling’s writing trying to unravel this mystery along with Strike. I’m thrilled that the next book in the Cormoran Strike series is already scheduled, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.


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.

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