[Book Review] The Cuckoo’s Calling

The_Cuckoos_Calling_coverTitle: The Cuckoo’s Calling
Author: Robert Galbraith (a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling)
Genre: Mystery, Crime fiction
Published: April 2013 by Little, Brown & Company
Source: Purchased from the bookstore


Here’s a description from the publisher:

A brilliant debut 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. 


The book cover/art was nice but the title didn’t really catch my attention. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have read this if I hadn’t known it was written by J.K Rowling under a pseudonym. Two reasons why I picked it up: (1) It was a crime novel. (2) I haven’t read anything of hers that wasn’t Harry Potter related, so I was curious to read Ms. Rowling’s attempt at writing a crime novel.

The protagonist, Cormoran Strike, was a likeable enough fellow. His secretary/assistant, Robin Ellacott, was a nice, smart, and resourceful woman who complements Strike’s character pretty well.  I like their duo. I thought they made a good team. The writing was good. The story was interesting, but not quite as engaging as I thought it would be. I was just turning the pages casually, not eagerly, to get to the next part of the story.

Strike and Robin did a lot of investigating, as they should since they run a Private Investigation agency, so that was OK. But there was a lot of walking and a little too much detail on stuff that didn’t seem to need much detailing. There were quite a number of characters constantly cursing and spouting the F word, too. And for some reason, I had a pretty good guess of who the perpetrator was around the first few chapters of the book, and I turned out to be right in the end. It didn’t surprise me, I wasn’t caught off guard, and there wasn’t any thrill or suspense about it.

HALT! WHO GOES THERE? Even though Ms. Rowling wrote it and she is widely known for writing the Harry Potter series, which is generally classified as children’s literature, be warned that The Cuckoo’s Calling was not written for children. There are numerous swear words (majority of which is the F word) and some references to sex.


I thought Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott were likeable characters and they made a good team. It was a well-written book and a fairly interesting read, but not something I’d highly recommend to others. I don’t feel bad about reading it because it really wasn’t a terrible or boring book, but I do feel a bit bad that I spent about $15 for it.

I heard that Ms. Rowling wrote a sequel for it and plans to release it in 2014. I wouldn’t mind reading the sequel (maybe that story would be more engaging!), but I wouldn’t be buying it anymore (at least not until someone lends it to me and I find it worth shelling out that much money).

5 thoughts on “[Book Review] The Cuckoo’s Calling

  1. Thank you so much for this review! I’ve heard so much about the controversy surrounding J.K. Rowling using a psuedonym and the information getting leaked, that I haven’t heard much about the book itself so this was very helpful indeed!

  2. Pingback: [Book Review] Knots and Crosses | Undercover Bookworm

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