by Robert Galbraith
read by Robert Glenister
Before anyone knew this novel was written by one of the world’s most beloved authors, it received praise from critics and readers alike. However the books started flying off the shelves of Amazon.com.uk once the deception was revealed, propelling the book from 5,076 to the top of the chart. Although JK Rowling was disappointed her identity didn’t remain a secret for a little while longer, she was well aware the clock was ticking. So why the pseudonym? She said it was freeing to write without the stress, pressure and hype. She was treated like any other debut crime writer, receiving 12 rejections!
So what’s it about?
Private investigator Cormoran Strike wounded war veteran, recently estranged from his longtime girlfriend, living in his office, down to one client and with creditors at the door, he can’t seem to catch a break. That is until John Bristow walks into his office with an extraordinary tale: his sister, supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, fell to her death a few months ago. The police ruled the death yet another sad suicide. But John refuses to believe his sisters’ fall was anything but murder. Strike takes the case, he needs this case, however, he gets more than he bargained for, as he’s plunged headfirst into a world that’s foreign to him in every way…desperate designers, millionaires, rock stars, and gorgeous super models. He’s also quickly introduced to pleasures of the flesh that can easily lead a man into temptation.
It’s difficult to get to know or care about characters when there’s so many they are literally stepping all over each other. Never allowing the reader to really feel like they have learned anything about them beyond the surface stuff and this is hardly enough to build a relationship on. The story drags on far too long with nothing but page filler dialogue. This 450 page hardcover could easily have been whittled down to half as much, thus delivering a more concise and tightly woven story. I hope with this being the first in a new series that the follow up stories will light a fire within the listener (and/or reader), move much more swiftly, leaving the “blah, blah, blah” on the editing floor.
Robert Glenister’s narration of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” is definitely an added bonus to this otherwise slow moving, almost stale at times story. The English accents are spot on and even the cursing is absolutely delightful and in no way detracts from the story. (Not just cursing for the sake of cursing, it actually fits the story.) Glenister gives each character a distinct and defining voice allowing the story to come to life through the listeners ear phones. Excellent narration!
This is a “good” book, but not great. I do plan on reading the next book in the series, if for no other reason than to see if the story gets any tighter, so that I can get to know and possibly even like or dislike a character or two. You can’t help but compare this book to the best selling Potter series. Which isn’t fair – because it’s like comparing apples to softballs. Which is probably why JK Rowling adopted the pseudonym in the first place. She knew the comparisons would happen, as illogical as they are, simply because of the popularity of her first series, which went on to sell millions upon millions of copies in every conceivable language, in all four corners of the world. Few writers Ever experience such fame and wide spread recognition. But when trying to do something completely different from that which you have been known and loved for the world over, the popularity and recognition make it nearly impossible. I applaud her for having the gumption to step out as Robert Galbraith and swing for the fence!