I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I knew that it’d gotten major attention when it turned out that Robert Galbraith was a pen name and the book was actually written by J.K. Rowling. I honestly didn’t even know it was a crime novel. But I often try to know as little as possible about a book before I start reading it. (I’m still bitter over the spoiler on the BACK OF THE BOOK COVER of Unbroken.) On top of hearing that Rowling’s first adult novel, Casual Vacancy, hadn’t gotten the greatest reviews, I tried not to expect too much of Cuckoo.
From the beginning, I was hooked. The book opens with the death of a model, Luna Landry. Her death is the investigation that is the remainder of the book. I found all of the characters to be very real and interesting, especially the private detective, Cormoran Strike. Sometimes with crime novels, the crime can be determined very quickly, or you at least have a solid idea of whodunnit. In this book, however, I wasn’t even sure if Strike would discover if there had been a murder or if it was suicide and in either case, what the circumstances of Luna’s death actually were. All my guesses were incorrect, which made for many nice surprises along the way and a twist at the end.
I did not get bored with the details and investigation like I usually do with crime novels. There were no convenient and cheesy romances involved and the typical crime novel formulas were absent. And maybe that alone was what I liked so much about it. I’ve read too many boring court scenes, too many uninteresting witness interviews, and too many office romances in the midst of the investigation that I’ve given up on crime novels. (Probably a good thing that I didn’t read the back of the book first!)
All in all, I was pretty happy with The Cuckoo’s Calling.
My rating: 4 out of 5 = really liked it