The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (*cough* J.K. Rowling *cough*) sees private detective Cormoran Strike investigating the death of famous model, Lula Landry. Her brother has refused to accept the suicide verdict and is convinced that his sister was murder – and so Strike steps in to uncover the truth.
Cormoran is pleasingly ‘real’; his intentions are all good and unlike certain crime novels where the protagonist is tortured and brooding (or have I just watched too much Luther recently?), he seems like a relatively normal, down-to-earth kind of chap. He’s assisted by Robin, a bubbly, enthusiastic young woman, newly engaged and eager to help Cormoran solve the case.
An intriguing cast of characters is quickly established and plot intricacies are laid from the very beginning in Rowling’s normal method. You’ll find yourself being twisted and turned as the story develops, and will not be able to guess the ending. Promise. I, for one, would not have guessed the eventual fate of Lula, yet looking back at what Cormoran reveals, it feels it certainly has been hinted at, just in ever such subtle ways.
After Rowling’s outing as the author of the novel, I was intrigued to see how it would differ from her previous post-Potter work. When I attempted The Casual Vacancy last year, I gave up after the first chapter; but The Cuckoo’s Calling hooked me almost instantly. Rowling’s chameleon-like writing style makes me wonder if there would be any genre she wouldn’t be able to pull off convincingly. Pure magic.
By Peter Byrne
The Cuckoo’s Calling (Sphere), RRP £16.99, is available to buy here