The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling

Book - 2013
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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, the legendary 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.
Publisher: New York : Mulholland Books, ©2013.
Edition: First North American edition.
ISBN: 9780316206846
0316206849
9780316206853
Characteristics: 455 pages ;,25 cm
Additional Contributors: Rowling, J. K.

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UniqueSnowflake Aug 08, 2013

What a great read! Whether you're a Rowling fan or not, I really recommend it.


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PimaLib_ChristineR Jun 23, 2018

I like to think that I would give this book the same review whether I knew who the author was or not. I can see why Rowling chose a male nom de plume. The Cuckoo's Calling is very much in the vein of the classic American hard-boiled detective mysteries by Hammett or Chandler (yeah, I said it). If Humphrey Bogart were still alive, I could see an American version of this book being a movie in which he would star.

The almost-avian-named detective, Cormoran Strike, is a veteran of Afghanistan who wants no pity for his injuries and no easy-ins because of his famous father's name. Robin Ellacott, his new temp secretary, is more than an Effie to his Sam Spade. Besides keeping Strike's secrets, and making her boss look good, as any good Effie would, Robin discovers that she has a love of investigative work and happily takes lead in several aspects of the story.

Like those classic detectives, Strike is a character well aware of the lives of the elite, the different set of rules they play by, without being part of that world. Rowling masterfully creates this tension through Strike's background. His mother was a famous groupie and his father a rock star. Living with his mother as she goes from band to band and then along with her on her downward spiral, Strike is always in the dark shadow of the rich and famous. It's not surprising then that his on-again-off-again relationship is with a wealthy woman who treats him as something of a pet. It's also what let's him slide between worlds as he investigates the supposed suicide of a model.

Lulu Landry has fallen from a balcony three months prior. Strike is about to lose his business and has left the home he shared with his girlfriend when Landry's brother offers him a job investigating her death.

Rowling writes a terrific mystery, full of twists, turns and thrills to the last moment, while also writing Strike and Robin as interesting characters with good backstories. I can't wait to read the next in this series and I'm glad to hear Rowling has many more mysteries in store for this team.

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WoodneathLaura
Jun 21, 2018

First in a new series from J. K. Rowling's Alter ego.

o
ownedbydoxies
Apr 28, 2018

Unexpectedly, I loved this book and am really pleased to see there's a short series of the stories. An interesting mystery, with several bits that made me laugh out loud, and characters I found compelling, interesting and generally likable. It's terrific. Will have to watch for the television series.

l
lakehouse11
Feb 24, 2018

Made it a halfway through the book that the Profanity is so bad I consider this book as trash

VaughanPLGraeme Dec 31, 2017

This book turned out to be exactly what I was hoping it would be. I really liked the Harry Potter books, but for some reason didn't feel compelled to read The Cuckoo's Calling when it was first revealed that it was written by J.K. Rowling. Anyway, I'm glad I finally got around to reading it because I really thought it was great. I especially liked the two main characters, Cormoran and Robin, and loved their interactions throughout the book.

d
dicurl
Dec 27, 2017

Did not enjoy her story telling.

katbee Oct 15, 2017

I thought this was a well done mystery. I listened to the audio version and I would give the narrator 5 stars! This book was different from other mysteries I've read because there were so many characters that the detective had to question. At times I found it a little difficult to keep everyone straight in my head. However, I really liked the end because Galbraith threw in some good twists that I would never have thought of. I liked the characters Cormoran and Robin, so I am eager to listen to the next book in the series.

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BusterMoma
Sep 26, 2017

I enjoyed this book. It moved well and kept my interest. It was a nice change from what I usually read. The characters were well developed and the story had some twists that kept my interest and attention. Looking forward to the next Strike book!!

p
pmstirling
Aug 13, 2017

Just finished this, after hearing about the upcoming TV series on NPR. I loved the book! As in the Harry Potter books, I became totally immersed in the world of the story. The author created real characters who I got to know as the story progressed; you might even say that the plot is the MacGuffin on which the character development is built. I loved the author's use of English - no problems with vocabulary here, which I think really enriches the story. If you're expecting fast action, car chases or explosions, look elsewhere; here the story moves at a leisurely pace with plenty of small side trips and interesting minor characters.
But, it's not a 5-star read, imo. A cell phone plays an important part, and the way it's worked in seemed overly complicated - JKR must know about burner phones! But worse than that the whole Agatha Christie style ending was a let down (our hero explains the crime in minute detail). Reminded me of movies that start with a text crawl to explain what's happening, it's lazy. And in the lead up to the ending there were too many times where the protagonist is obviously concealing details from the reader, which I also think is lazy writing. Nevertheless, I was completely gripped for the first 2/3 or so of the book, sucked in and could not put it down. Not by the excitement (no car chases, remember?!) but by the writing and character interaction. I look forward to reading the next one!

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wendyheath
Aug 11, 2017

Cormoran Strike - HBO series coming 2017

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jkeaton
Nov 28, 2014

jkeaton thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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JOSEPH POTTER
Aug 29, 2013

JOSEPH POTTER thinks this title is suitable for 17 years and over

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indigo_owl_52
Jul 16, 2013

indigo_owl_52 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 21

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JOSEPH POTTER
Aug 29, 2013

“Humans often assumed symmetry and equality where none existed.”

JCLHunterSt Aug 01, 2013

How could the death of someone you had never met affect you so?

Summary

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DanniOcean Aug 12, 2013

Unless you have been taking an extended tech and media vacation this summer, you will have heard that J.K. Rowling – author of the über-successful Harry Potter series - was outed as the true name behind Cuckoo’s Calling, using pseudonym Robert Galbraith. As any high-powered author would do, she sued the law firm that leaked her identity for a six-figure sum and then donated it, plus proceeds from the sale of the novel for the next three years, to The Soldier’s Charity, an organization that supports veterans and their families in Great Britain. She did this as a thank-you for those in the military who helped her with her research, leading her to create one of the most hard-boiled detectives to hit pages since Sam Spade, Cormoran Strike (how could he not be hard-boiled with a name like that?). A wounded veteran with an infamous set of rock parents, Strike grew up with his half-sister in care of his aunt and uncle. He joined the military as an investigator, went to Afghanistan and came back missing part of a leg (but is far too proud to admit it to those who don’t know him), and opens a detective agency. Unfortunately he has some hard luck with women and alcohol, until he literally runs into (and nearly knocks to her death) fresh-faced, and newly engaged Robin Ellacott, recently arrived in London from Yorkshire, who is assigned as his new temporary office worker. Robin, secretly thrilled to be working for a PI, by far the most efficient tem Strike has ever been assigned, and she proves herself both resourceful and intrepid as Strike gets his first big case – a model falls to her death and three months later her brother shows up, asking Strike to prove it was murder and not suicide. Strike is no hack – he is thoughtful, driven and methodical – much like his creator, Rowling. She slowly unveils the threads of the mystery with great care, precision, a host of fully-formed characters, more than a few red herrings and loads of wit. In fact, it is a far better book than Rowling’s last non-Potter novel, Casual Vacancy, and leaves the reader wanting to know more about Cormoran Strike. Let us hope that being outed as Robert Galbraith does not keep JK Rowling from creating further mysteries for him to solve. Cuckoo’s Calling is a first rate mystery, no matter who the author really is.

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