Thursday, 22 August 2013

Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Title: The Cuckoo’s Calling
Author: Robert Galbraith (J.K Rowling)
Publisher: Sphere
Release Date: 18th April 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5

Description: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.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, thelegendary 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.

The Cuckoos Calling is a meticulously plotted, brilliantly written, intriguing mystery delving into the life and death of model Lula Landry. Set in London, this contemporary mystery focuses on extracting the truth from a myriad of suspects and uncovering the factual circumstances behind Lula’s apparent suicide. The Cuckoos Calling boasts of a down on his luck detective, an eager assistant and a captivating mystery.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is a straight crime novel. Like other murder mysteries I have read, this book is not filled with intense tension and suspense.  There is no pressing need for this mystery to be solved. Lula Landry is a famous model, whose unfortunate death has been ruled a suicide. Her brother John Bristow asks Detective Cormoran Strike to look into the suicide of his famous sister. At face value there seems to be no foul play involved. As Strike delves deeper into the investigation, the details don’t seem to add up. This book is about the cold hard facts of the case, and unearthing the truth behind Lula’s suicide.  This book relies entirely on good old fashion detective work, consisting of interviewing those in Lula’s life and piece by piece putting together the events leading up to her death. Cormoran Strike is a very intelligent and meticulously detective. Along with his training and army background, he relies on methodology, fact gathering and trading favours to unwrap this case.

Cormoran Strike is having a bad time. He is at a crossroads in his life. He has to figure out what direction his life is going in and reconcile that with the type of person he is becoming after leaving the army. When we meet him he’s lost his leg, broken up with his on again and off again girlfriend Charlotte and currently homeless. He also has an interesting parentage that haunts him. Despite his gruff nature, he is a very likeable character who displays a lot of discipline and strong convictions.  Helping Strike in his investigation is his new temp Robin. Robin has a secret ambition to become a detective. She’s also very organised and efficient, with a very enthusiastic attitude. Their relationship is very interesting as it develops. In the beginning it is a begrudging relationship, which turns into awkward acquaintances and ends in a burgeoning friendship.

The mystery of who killed Lula is present throughout the whole story, with clues being unearthed each time Strike interviews another suspect.  The mystery is intriguing and I could not guess who the murderer was.  Each interaction strike has with these various characters is different and distinct. The books hosts a whole set of wonderful characters who appear to be lying or harbouring secrets.  Galbraith showcases masterful writing in his portrayal of all the characters. All of Lula’s family and friends were diverse and seemed to be serving their own purpose. There was the drug-addled ex-boyfriend, the insufferable film producer, arrogant uncle and backstabbing best friend. These characters came from a range of social classes and highlighted disparity between the rich and poor.  Even though Lula is dead Galbraith paints a good picture of her through memories and emails. There is a clear and vivid picture of who Lula was.

The Cuckoo’s Calling was an intense mystery that pulled back the curtain on a famous celebrity and introduced us to Detective Strike. I would love to read what mysteries Strike uncovers next.

1 comment:

  1. This sounds very intriguing. I have heard a lot about this book. Great review.