Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Review of The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith
(Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym of JK Rowling)

This was a delightful find. On the surface, a classic gumshoe procedural, digging up secrets and doggedly pursuing every lead. Yet the book sidesteps cliché, takes a new angle on traditional tropes and creates some of the most endearingly likeable characters in the genre.
It’s got all the features of a golden age classic, but is set during the last decade. The insights into the lives of London’s wealthy and famous are seen through a man whose creditors are closing in. Cormoran Strike is dishevelled, partly due to the breakdown of his relationship and the difficulties of losing half his leg on a military campaign in Afghanistan.
His ‘temp’, Robin, who finds the world of a PI romantic, is no daffy Bridget Jones, but a competent, clever associate, who we desperately want to stay. The author avoids an office romance, creating a relationship which is believable, awkward and far more emotionally affecting.
The plot twists & turns kept me completely absorbed and as a good detective novel should, it takes an unpredictable turn towards the end.
One of the features I particularly liked was the use of the London setting. Keen observations about the city’s rich/poor divide gave me pause on several occasions.
I finished this with a mixture of satisfaction and loss. Delighted by an entertaining and atmospheric novel but sorry to leave this world. Thrilled to discover Cormoran will be back. I really want to spend more time with these characters.

By JJ Marsh – author, reader, Triskelite, journalist, Nuancer, reviewer and blogger. Likes: pugs, Werner Herzog and anchovies. Dislikes: meat, chocolate and institutionalised sexism. 

1 comment:

  1. An exciting story of jealousy, covetousness, and love set against a background of the callousness and emptiness of the lives of super models and super celebrities. The protagonist, Strike, is an almost larger than life character who wins you over with his meticulous investigational techniques. Surely, he is too good of a character along with Robin, his secretary and girl Friday, not to appear again in another novel!