Sunday, 19 January 2014

Book of the Week: The Cuckoo's Calling

"The dead could only speak through the mouths of those left behind, and through the signs they left scattered behind them."

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (*cough* J. K. Rowling *cough*) is a book I've been excited to read for a while now and, upon finishing it earlier in the week, I can confirm that it's just as good as I hoped it would be. Not my usual genre, I was one of the many pulled in by the allure of another Rowling masterpiece, and I couldn't get enough! If you're not one of the horde of Rowling lovers like me, I urge you to read it anyway, as I truly believe that it's a fantastic read in it's own right.

The novel tells the tale of Cormoran Strike, war veteran turned private detective, and his new assistant, Robin, who are hired to reinvestigate the supposed suicide of renowned supermodel, Lula Landry. At first Strike, desperate for the commission, doesn't believe it could have been any more than suicide, and that this will all just be an exercise in entertaining her brother's grief driven fantasy. But with a series of new leads, and evidence the police have overlooked, Strike comes to think that there might be more to this case than the authorities ever realised. With Veronica Mars being one of the favourite TV shows of my teens, this kind of story seemed rather familiar to me, pleasantly reminding me of simpler times. And with pithy dialogue, brilliantly devised characters, and plot twists galore, I can tell you that this is one of the most consuming stories I have read in a long while.

The story itself is quite linear, particularly in the opening chapters, where the setting and the characters don't really change at all, but, surprisingly, I really like this quality. I found it equally riveting to revisit the suicide (or murder! Who knows?!) from different points of view, unearthing new clues and trying to get to the bottom of what really happened, as I would if it was packed full of dramatic action scenes and a plethora of personalities. I actually think I might even prefer it, something I never would have anticipated.

As a self confessed Harry Potter obsessive, it's no surprise that I love the writing style of the book. Rowling has such a way with dialogue in particular (although I also love her descriptive talents) that she is able to effortlessly created detailed, complicated, yet very entertaining relationships between characters, in a way that I've yet to see another author come close to. Well, for me anyway. This is particularly paramount in a story that features only two main characters and not a lot in the way of diverse scenery, so it's a good job she's so darn great at it! 

The book is perfectly paced, with just the right amount of twists to keep you on tenterhooks - any more and it would lose its novelty, any less and the book would never pick up momentum. As I'm relatively new to crime novels (I say relatively, I'm not sure I've ever read one before), I couldn't tell you how it fares within the genre, but as a standalone tome, I think it holds a fantastic pace. And the ending? Oh the ending! I had a lot of different scenarios in my mind, and I was a bit smug in thinking I was one step ahead and at least one of my theories would be right, but no! It was such a shocker, and I absolutely loved it! 

Rowling's offering has definitely impressed me, and she's proved to the world that, although she will never replicate the success of her Potter phenomenon, she is far from a one trick pony. As I stated before, this is my first foray into crime fiction, but I feel that this dabble may turn into a dive. I've well and truly caught the crime bug, so please, if you have any recommendations, I'd love to hear them. As for this book, it's definitely worth a read, whether you're a diehard Rowling fan or not. 

Did you enjoy reading The Cuckoo's Calling? Did you figure out the ending or were you as stunned as I was? Let me know!


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  1. I haven't read the book yet Sarah, I have it, just not got round to reading it, but as soon as I do I will answer you on your comments as to whether or not I enjoyed it. lol. Hugs, Jen xx
    Krafty Keepsakes

    1. I look forward to hearing what you think =) xx

  2. I haven't read this yet, as I was very disappointed with The Casual Vacancy. Your review has made this sound a lot more solid, as I think TCV was more a voyeuristic look into a small community. Will think a bit more about looking into this!

    Nell at And Nell Writes

    1. I really didn't like The Casual Vacancy either! I think she was trying too hard to do something different and it just didn't quite come off. I love this one though! xx

  3. Ahh I've been meaning to read that as JK Rowling's books were a huge part of my childhood. Great review!

    xo Deborah
    Coffee, Prose, and Pretty Clothes

    1. Me too! I don't think I would have thought to read this if I didn't know she had written it, but I really enjoyed it! xx