The Cuckoo’s Callingis the first crime novel featuring Comoran Strike, a private detective who is going through some serious upheaval in his personal and professional life. His business is in a bit of financial trouble and his relationship with his finance has come to an, arguably, overdue end. And then his luck seems to change. Robin, a temp has arrived at his office and is soon organising the workplace and tactfully ignoring the fact Strike is sleeping in his office. Later the same day a new client arrives; the brother of a famous supermodel is convinced her fatal fall from her apartment was not suicide, but murder and he needs Strike to prove this. The investigation begins.
I had no intention of reading The Cuckoo’s Calling. The hype surrounding it and the revelation that it is in fact the work of J.K.Rowling did make me somewhat sceptical and reluctant to read the book. Not because I am such a die hard Harry Potter fan I can’t comprehend the fact she could ever write anything else, but just the idea of jumping on the bandwagon and raving about it only because it was written by Rowling tends to irritate me. However at the airport I picked it up as an extra book for fear of running out of reading and I’m glad I did. I completely forgot that it was written by the author of Harry Potter, which I’m sure was the purpose of publishing it under the name of Robert Galbraith, and became engrossed in the story.
I love a good crime story, but usually I read cosy crime along the lines of Agatha Christie. I tend to watch more modern British crime TV dramas along the lines of Morse, Frost and Lewis so it was refreshing to read a crime story along these lines. One feature of this style of detective story that was clear from the offset was the idea of a detective weighed down with personal issues. Strike is a war veteran as well as the illegitimate son of an ageing rock star he has nothing to do with and has a very complicated relationship with his ex fiancé. Now I look back on it I think this sheer level of complications is a bit of an overkill, but then Galbraith isn’t the first author to feel the need to include this amount of character problems and it works for other detective novels.
The narrative for The Cuckoo’s Calling was engaging and an exciting read. I love a crime novel that keeps me guessing and trying to work out the murderer and this was certainly the case with this novel. Of course I didn’t solve the mystery, when do I ever? However the cast of characters kept me guessing and searching for clues throughout, which is exactly what a good detective book should do. Not as intriguing or as clever as my favourite Agatha Christie books, but I’m still tempted to read the second book in this series.