There is no doubt about it: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, AKA JK Rowling, is a tightly written piece of detective fiction. While lengthy, the tone and pace were just right to keep me engaged. I did switch back between the text and the audio versions – on that note, the narrator, Robert Glenister, is fantastic.
Cormoran Strike is your typical disillusioned detective in many ways – he’s gruff, smart, down-on-his-luck, and walks just this side of the moral line. But he’s also a one-legged, giant veteran, unhealthy and as such not terribly attractive. His accidental side-kick, Robin, is your typical 25-year old beautiful smart blonde. Not classically beautiful, but girl-next-door pretty. She comes complete with a jealous fiance. (I may have felt something more could have been done to make her character interesting, but…alas. Maybe later. I did have to quell the eye-rolling the juxtaposed duo induced, but I did grow to appreciate both characters in the end, despite the stereotypical implications).
Whatever your opinion on pretty girls and not pretty boys, you should read this if:
- You can’t get enough of Tana French novels – this isn’t as gritty, maybe, but it was similarly compelling.
- You’re looking for a good cold-weather novel – either because it’s winter, or because you need to cool off from the heat wave through which you’re currently suffering.
- You’re an Anglophile, and admire London, specifically.
- You’ve been on a Hall & Oates kick lately, with “Private Eyes” being one of your go-to songs.
- You loathe the Paparazzi despite never having been famous yourself.
Don’t read this if:
- You don’t read books over 300 pages.
- You are in a lighter, more whimsical mood.
- You’re looking for an adult version of Harry Potter.
- You expect your mysteries to double as thrillers, moving at an unpleasantly neck-breaking speed.
*Disclaimer: While I enjoyed the first 3 Harry Potter books that I read, I never made it to book 4 because it was in hard cover at the time, and it was the size of a law text book. I did not want to lug it all over the city on the subway. So. Too bad there were no books back then.