Friday, May 11, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

Pub. Date: May 16th, 2013
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Length: 15 hours, 54 minutes

Book Series: Cormoran Strike #1
Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Mystery / Crime Fiction


The Cuckoo's Calling is a 2013 crime fiction novel by J. K. Rowling, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

A brilliant mystery in a classic vein: 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, the legendary 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.

What Did I Think About the Story?

I feel very late to the game with this series of contemporary mysteries by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). I saw this first book in the series pop up on my library's Overdrive account and thought, why not give it a go? I'm been really enjoying mysteries this year and it sounded like a good premise. I'm glad I went with my gut because not only did I enjoy the story very much I also really enjoyed the narrator.

The main character - Cormoran Strike - is a gem. As the story began I pictured him as a classic sort of bumbling detective, kind of gritty and unkempt and seeming to be falling apart even when you know he's following all the clues. He's also got much about him that's very unique, having been in the military police and having been injured in the line of duty, as well as being the illegitimate son of a aging rockstar, something that put him in a very interesting predicament as he investigates the death of a supermodel that was surrounded by people who also know his father.

His (at first temporary) assistant, Robin Ellacott, is wonderful as well, serving as a great Girl Friday, keeping Cormoran in line and on target while also wrestling with whether she wanted to continue on assisting him in this unsteady detective business (something she very much enjoys much to the dismay of her fiancĂ©e) or move on to the next better paying and more secure position. I'm surprised that she isn't even named in the synopsis above as she plays a large part in the story and is just as enjoyable and fleshed out as Cormoran. I would definitely say I at least appreciated both of these characters equally.

The actual search into what happened to Lula Landry was fun to follow. The rich and vicious world Lula lived within was quite entertaining, if superficial, and I was constantly left feeling like these people who were supposed to care about Lula weren't telling the whole truth about what they knew about her or the events leading up to her death, whether that was because of secrets in their own lives or because of some sort of involvement. When the last shoe does drop and we find out exactly what happened to Lula - in great detail as Cormoran has figured out - I can honestly say I did not see it coming. I almost feel like I should have, given what we discover, but as it stands I was completely surprised.

The narrator of The Cuckoo's Calling was exceptional, varying the voices into distinct characterizations (and there are quite a few secondary characters) as well as keeping the narrative flowing evenly so as not to bog the listener down in all the details. He also perfectly expressed Cormoran's dry wit, making me connect with him as a character even more than I might have otherwise.

The Cuckoo's Calling was a fun audiobook to listen to on my commute. The story flowed, the characters and the mystery were interesting, and I'm left wanting more. I've now reserved the next book in the series and hope to be able to listen to it really soon! I'm also really excited to see the TV series that I read is being made based on the series.

What Did I Think About the Cover?

While I think this image represents the overall story well, I don't think the woman on the cover at all matches the image of Lula Landry that I had built up in my head while reading the story. I always prefer if the model on the cover matches the description of the character. Other than that, I love the blinding flashbulbs and the way the name is sort of scrawled within it. I also like that the author's name is quite small so as not to draw attention away from the rest of the cover.

My Rating: 4.0/5.0

I borrowed a copy of the audiobook version of The Cuckoo's Calling from my library's Overdrive account. All opinions are mine alone. You can find more information about the book, including other reviews and links to where you can purchase a copy, on Goodreads HERE.

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