The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

Monday, September 16, 2013


I’m guilty of only buying this book because it revealed the real author behind the pen name, Robert Galbraith, is JK Rowling. Before that I have not heard about this book. As soon as I heard JK Rowling’s new secret book is a detective novel, I paid a visit to a local bookstore and purchased it.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is a murder mystery. Lula Landry, a supermodel, fell to death from her apartment a few months earlier. The police closed the case as suicide because of Lula’s history of drug problems and her fragile mental state. But her brother, John Bristow, doesn’t believe it was a suicide. He hires Cormoran Strike, an ex-military man who is currently a private detective, to investigate the case.

Somehow this book reminds me of a few old mystery novels. Cormoran’s military background and the physical damage from the war remind me of Dr. Watson from Sherlock Holmes. Also Cormoran’s investigation style and the final revelation brought back old memories of Sherlock Holmes stories. Cormoran’s relationship with his temporary solution secretary, Robin Ellacott, hints of a romantic side plot, though she is engaged to another man. Can we expect za za zu between the two in the upcoming sequel?

The mystery itself is ordinary. There wasn’t a “whoa” factor for me at the end of the story. From the beginning of the story I had my suspicions and Cormoran helped me to perceive the mind behind the crime, though I didn’t think much of the precise motive of the crime. There were lots of interviews throughout the story and it marvelously revealed the differences and complexity of characters; their different and conflicting views of the other characters. I really enjoyed those conversations while trying to understand their inner thoughts.

JK Rowling has created realistic, believable characters in this story. They are not perfect; even the hero himself is not a perfect, Hollywood hero type man. Everyone has good and bad faces inside them; pretty, average, and ugly people on the inside as well as on the outside. It is truly impressive how JK Rowling creates these characters with such credibility.

This is a good read with lots of new words and I had to peek into my dictionary more than I used to. I haven’t got any chance to read mysteries recently, but I really enjoyed this book. Sometimes I think the name behind the book might have influenced my opinion of the book. However I tried my best to put my thoughts about this book into words without favoritism.

My Rating: 4 out of 5


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