The Cuckoo’s Calling

Cover of The Cuckoos Calling

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Published by: Little, Brown & Company

Published on: April 30, 2013

Page Count: 455

Genre: Mystery

My Reading Format: Audiobook review copy provided to me by Hachette Audio for consideration

Audiobook Published by: Hachette Audio

Narrator: Robert Glenister

Audiobook Length: 15 hours 54 minutes

Available Formats: Hardcover, eBook, and Audiobook

Summary from the Publisher:

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.

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.

Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

My Review

When I found out that J. K. Rowling was in fact the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling I could have kicked myself. I had an ARC of the novel before its publication. Although I thought it sounded interesting, I opted for reading other novels debuting that month. I almost always enjoy a good mystery, but it’s not one of my go to genres. Each time I finish one, I always ask myself why. The Cuckoo’s Calling is no exception.

Rowling’s second adult novel is a well written and brought to life two characters I grew to love quickly. Cormoran Strike, the novel’s private investigator, is a big man who does his best to hide his disability and the current pathetic state of his life. As the book begins, he has taken to living in his office after leaving his girlfriend. Robyn, a temporary assistant he can’t really afford, pretends she doesn’t notice the way he lives or any personal details about him. She was excited to be placed in a private detective’s office because she’s always found the idea of that kind of work fascinating. She quickly discovers the state of Strike’s affairs and does all that is in her power to keep her job. When the wealthy brother of Strike’s childhood friend comes to him with a job, the unexpected and at first pointless investigation soon provides hope for the future for both Strike and Robyn. I enjoyed getting to know them both and watching their working relationship unfolds along with the mystery of Lula Landry’s suicide. Assuming that there is another Strike mystery novel, I will be first in line to read it.

I devoured this audiobook as quickly as I could, sneaking in 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there whenever I could. Robert Glenister, whose style reminded me a good deal of John Lee, expertly narrated the novel. I wasn’t familiar with him in any capacity prior to listening, but I quickly added him to my list of narrators I enjoy. There are many minor characters that color this novel and Glenister’s performance wasn’t lacking for any of them. The scene between Strike and fashion designer Guy Somé was not only a highlight of this audiobook, but a stand out audiobook moment for the year.

There is part of me that wishes that I had read The Cuckoo’s Calling before the author’s true identity was revealed. As I listened I noticed how the writing felt similar to The Casual Vacancy. Under no circumstances do I think I would have picked up on that had I not known, but I would have loved looking back at the book after first thinking it was written by a first time author. Things have a way of working out for the best, though. I thought this audiobook made for a thrilling read that I wouldn’t have otherwise experienced.

After reading both of Rowling’s adult novels, I think it’s now safe to say that I’m a Rowling fan – one who just happens to have never read her young adult work. Whatever my feelings may be about wizards and fantasy, Rowling has written two very different novels that I have enjoyed. So really is there a reason to not at least give Harry Potter a try?


  • At 2013.08.14 06:19, Sandy said:

    Jen you absolutely must listen to HP. It will become an audio highlight of your life, I predict. It was for me. The only problem is that you will never be able to listen to the narrator (Jim Dale) to anything else. He will forever be the voice of HP. Just be prepared that you will have to listen to all of the books in a row. The kids and I did that for an entire YEAR, in the car. Anyway, Rowling does create such vivid characters, it is critical that the narrators capture that. I can’t seem to get anything read in print these days, but I will try this one on audio.

    • At 2013.08.14 11:20, Literate Housewife said:

      That must be 100s of hours of audio. Ack! I don’t know if I could do that all at one time. Still, it would be interesting to see how Jim Dale “grows up” along with Harry. I listened to him narrate The Night Circus and he was fantastic. One of these days I’ll begin.

    • At 2013.08.14 08:54, bermudaonion (Kathy) said:

      I didn’t love The Casual Vacancy so I decided not to take this book and now I’m kicking myself. lol

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      • At 2013.08.14 11:22, Literate Housewife said:

        The Cuckoo’s Calling is a very different novel than The Casual Vacancy. I think you’d enjoy it better. I can see where TCV could be hard to read. You have to be the right space for it. This book will grab you no matter where you are.

      • At 2013.08.14 09:06, Ellison Weist said:

        Another spot-on review, Jennifer. I’m glad I opted to be one of over 800 folks who put this on hold at the library instead of buying it.

        And finally! another bibliomaniac who hasn’t read the Harry Potter series. I keep meaning to but still haven’t put my mind to it. Maybe we should start a club….or have a house party where everyone listens to the series while eating and drinking.

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        • At 2013.08.14 11:25, Literate Housewife said:

          I often feel like I’m the only one. I’m glad I’m not the only one. Yes, let’s form a club. When you do get around to Harry Potter, how do you plan to attack the series – print or audio? I’m torn and I know that if I don’t do audio I will kick myself after. Decisions… decisions…

          • At 2013.08.14 12:27, Ellison Weist said:

            A club sounds like a good idea. Seriously. I think it would help to have a partner in crime, so to speak, so I’d love to read in tandem with someone or a group. My plan has always been to read one a month so I don’t feel overwhelmed. There are five in total, correct? Possibly something to consider as a 2014 goal?

            Not sure about reading versus audio since admittedly I’m one of those tactile readers.

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        • At 2013.08.14 09:19, Caite@a lovely shore breeze said:

          I agree..this was a good book, with two new great characters. Hope we see them again soon!

          • At 2013.08.14 11:26, Literate Housewife said:

            Aren’t they? I want Strike and Robyn’s relationship to stay the way it is, but I kind of hope that Robyn dumps her fiance. He’s not very supportive of her career. I think that’s important in a partner.

          • At 2014.01.03 08:33, The Best of 2013 said:

            […] The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert […]

            (Required, will not be published)

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