Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith


When I bought The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, it was because I’d only just caught onto the fact that it was actually written under the pseudonym of one of my all-time favourite authors. Although one of the most famous novelists of all time, her latest stories haven’t had the same impact that her original series did – then again selling over 400 million copies of your first book series can imaginably be difficult to beat!

Although it had been rumoured prior to a release that J.K. Rowling would write a crime novel next, she sent the manuscript to publishers anonymously and it was declined at least once initially. The first print run of The Cuckoo’s Calling only ran 1,500 copies. Then 3 months after its release, whilst The Times were investigated how first-time author Robert Galbraith could write such an assured debut novel, the authorship was leaked on twitter to a reporter via the friend of a solicitor who had worked for Rowling. Hence forth a substantial charitable donation was made to The Soldiers’ Charity by the firm to make up for it…

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The novel itself took me a long time to get through, but not through any fault of its own. I became completely enthralled by each of the characters. Even though Lula Landry dies prior to the start of the book, it’s amazing that her character is still vividly displayed through each characters perception of her and as a reader you’re torn between feeling incredibly sorry for the crazy life she wound herself up in, and irritated at her airy rich girl demeanour. Rowling’s over descriptive style that I’ve always loved throughout all of her novels comes to life in the potrayal of each character, and as with any crime fiction novel, it brought a river of red herrings sending accusation in multiple directions.

I am also a fan of any book that is split into sections, especially those with extracts of other prose and poems. This novel was no exception, alluring to the possibilities of what was to come each time.


I especially enjoyed the relationship between the detective Strike and his secretary Robin, and felt that they made a satisfying contrast to the vulgar affluent mix of London’s elite, which mostly made up the other characters. Strike brought a satirical and ex-military stubbornness that balanced the story, which twisted its way through motivations and plot connections that only Strike could see, and the reader had to wait to become enlightened with. On the surface he was shown to be irritating, rude and gruff, but with the inevitable streak of flaws that only makes us human.

Though the ending was unexpected (don’t worry- I’m not going to give away any spoilers) I felt the way Strike dealt with it was something of an anti-climax. Then again, the middle of the book felt quite slow, and the pieces sat haphazardly, waiting to be fitted together. The ending seemed to suddenly zoom into place with a quickening tempo and that final reveal was one which felt almost farfetched.

Overall, I felt as though I was starting this book uninformed, due to my lack of crime novel experience in the past. It certainly wasn’t what I expected, both in terms of style and plot, but I really enjoyed it. J.K. has the ability to write perfectly addictive prose time and time again, regardless of genre and this one definitely didn’t disappoint!

Rating: 9/10

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