In case you don’t know it, the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling is actually J.K. Rowling and I confess that is the only reason I bought this book. Even though The Cuckoo’s Calling was getting rave reviews, it was just not on my radar until the news broke that Ms. Rowling was using the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. Now, some people might say “so what,” but you see, Ms. Rowling and her Harry Potter series hold a special place in my heart. Oh sure, when my daughter told me I should read Harry Potter my reaction was a snooty ‘Isn’t that a kids book?’ That will teach the snoots of the world. Let me say, I have never experienced the overwhelming excitement those novels engendered. Whole families were standing in line just to get a book. A book!! There were Harry Potter happenings all over the place; it was all great fun — so if Ms. Rowling is going to write another novel, I’m going to be there to support her efforts. Now, in no way do I think The Cuckoo’s Calling is going to be the phenomenon that Mr. Potter was, but I could envision a Masterpiece Theater Mystery series in the future.
On to The Cuckoo’s Calling. If you like crime/mystery novels then this is one you don’t want to pass up. This story is filled with some well-developed characters, and that includes the supporting cast. First of all, there is Cormoran Strike, a down-on-his-luck private investigator. This PI is not some suave, charming, wink-wink guy — no — this man is a big, gruff, hairy veteran of Afghanistan, he’s missing one of his legs, and when we are introduced to him he has just broken up with his girlfriend, moved out of their apartment and is living in his dumpy business office sleeping on a cot. Cormoran may be big and hairy but he’s also brilliant — his brain is full of wonderful deductive reasoning. By the end of this story, I promise you, you are going to be rooting for Strike. Rowling has given Strike quite a background story, one that you will want to follow in future books.
Then there is Robin. The character of Robin is not quite as well-developed as Strike, but I suspect she will one day be a very powerful sidekick. When Robin is introduced to us, she has just become engaged and she is happy, happy, happy. She thinks she has found what she has always wanted, until she is sent to Strike’s office as his temporary secretary. Robin soon realizes that investigating is the excitement that she has always wanted in her life. The relationship between her and Strike is one of friendship and dependency and growing respect. And maybe in future books romance, but in this one they just complement each other.
The murder mystery part of the book is just that, a mystery, a puzzle that was put together right in front of me, but I didn’t see the answer until the very end. Full of quirky, well-rounded individuals, I kept suspecting one person, then another. It was a great ride to the conclusion.
Overall, this book is a very satisfying read and I highly recommend it. Throughout the book, we become immersed in the sometimes bright, sometimes gritty world Rowling has created. Ms. Rowling is once again at the top of her form with her wonderfully vivid descriptive prose — you can almost smell the places and things in this world. You really don’t want to miss The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling.