I recently finished The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling. I have been a Rowling fan since The Sorcerer’s Stone and was excited to hear her career would continue past Hogwarts. I anxiously grabbed up The Casual Vacancy. I wanted to read it just because it was written by Rowling. Big mistake. If it weren’t for the authoress, I wouldn’t have been piqued by the story what so ever. I also would not have read past page 15. Ultimately, I put the book down at page 50 disappointed and wanting to shower. The Cuckoo’s Calling, however, was a different experience all together! It sounded like an interesting story AND it is written by J.K. Rowling.
I love 1950’s/60’s detective stories. I’ve read nearly every Nero Wolfe story written, a good deal of Ellery Queen and most of Dashiell Hammett. I love me a gumshoe! But I haven’t read many modern detective stories. I’ve read spy and espionage a la Jeffery Archer and John Le Carre, sure, but not detective series. When I think of a private detective, I think typewriters, ceiling fans, contacts at the Gazette and a lot of puns. For Cormoran Strike, the main character of The Cuckoo’s Calling to ask his secretary to Google search and pull up a Wikipedia page made me giddy with giggles.
The story is pretty straight forward and typical of the genre: struggling private detective, down on his luck, is hired to investigate the suicide of a famous super-model. His investigation takes him all around London, limping in and out of social classes, always in search of the illusive missing clue.
I had so much pure, unadulterated fun reading The Cuckoo’s Calling. It mostly reminded me of Dashiell Hammett. Cormoran Strike is Sam Spade in Nick and Nora’s world. It does have, what I call, British-level cussing, but if you can look past that, it is a good, old-fashion detective story with a modern twist. The book is titled The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1). I sincerely sincerely hope that means there’s a Cormoran Strike #2 in the works! Even though I didn’t care for The Casual Vacancy, I am continually impressed by Rowling’s range as an author. I hope she’s having as much fun writing as I am having reading.
Reminded me of: