Book 231: The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1) – Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Galbraith, Robert (J. K. Rowling - The Cuckoo's CallingI don’t know why I waited so long to read this book. If I guessed it’s probably the same reason I put off reading The Casual Vacancy, that I didn’t want Rowling to disappoint. And in this instance she didn’t!

With The Casual Vacancy Rowling faced a lot of justified criticism in that the book did nothing and went nowhere. And although I disagreed with the numerous critics, I can see why and how readers would think this. Personally, I preferred the quiet and slow reveal of the story line and the intimacy of all of the characters and the small-town feel. With The Cuckoo’s Calling Rowling answers all of this and more. She provides a fast-paced and gripping thriller with adult characters whom the reader can identify with. As I went into this book, this was my chief concern, whether or not Rowling could write a book solely featuring identifiable and sympathetic/empathetic adult characters.

And Rowling definitely accomplished this. I LOVED Robin and Cormoran, not to mention the numerous minor characters (which Rowling has always done well). My biggest concern was that Robin wasn’t going to stick around, but the further I read and the more her character developed the more confident I became that she would stick around for a few books. Cormoran’s character, however, took a while to grow on me. At first I didn’t like his gruffness or the way he treated Robin and other female characters, but the way Rowling writes makes it difficult not to like him.

As for the story, I was incredibly impressed with Rowling’s restraint. Many mystery authors give away too much too soon, and although what happens is probably one of the bigger mystery/thriller tropes, I still thoroughly enjoyed the novel. Rowling kept me second guessing myself all the way until the end of the novel. The big reveal wasn’t a huge shock to me, but I wasn’t more than 75% sure of my guess, so I kept thinking she could surprise me and she did a bit by revealing additional facts and extra characters which was great!

Recommendation: I definitely recommend this! It was a quick read and was incredibly well written. I’m excited for the second book, which rumor has it is already done and will be published next year. (I’ll believe it when I see it.) I know I’ll be one of the first two buy book two in the Cormoran Strike series!

Opening Line: “The buzz in the street was like he humming of flies.”

Closing Line:
“I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees; all times I have enjoy’d
Greatly, have suffer’d greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore and when
Thro’ scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea: I am become a name…” (Whited out.)


35 thoughts on “Book 231: The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1) – Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)”

  1. Well I think you sold me. I wasn’t sure about it. And now I want to read the Casual Vacancy. I do like a good story that’s slow sometimes. Not with every book, but if done right, i find them beautiful.


    1. Oh I think you’d enjoy CV. You’d probably enjoy it more if you lived in a quaint country town, but if you’ve noticed the local London politics and the closeness if your new neighborhood I think you’ll enjoy it.


  2. Casual Vacancy is probably too dark for me, and Cuckoo’s Calling isn’t a subject that interests me. It’s nice to see Rowling succeed in other genres, but I’m still annoyed that she used a fake biography for her latest work. She could have published under a pseudonym without such a detailed fake biography (which I’ve argued on my blog amounts to consumer fraud under the Lanham Act).


    1. I’m not sure I’d go that far and I don’t mind it. Considering how many half truths are out there and blatant lies told by corporations. Something like this from an author is negligible.


      1. I wouldn’t hold Rowling to a different legal standard just because of who she is. She was very specific about her fake identity’s (false) military experience and its (false) relationship to Cormoran Strike. In my post (from July), I went through the five elements of a false advertising claim. As I concluded then, and still feel, “Regardless of whether Rowling and her publisher will be (or should be) held liable, it’s deeply unsettling that the publishing industry thinks it’s okay to mislead readers so blatantly. As a former Headmaster of Hogwarts once said, ‘the truth is generally preferable to lies (The Goblet of Fire, page 722).'”

        I respect Rowling’s work, and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think her actions (and her publisher’s actions) were wrong. People aren’t as upset because it turned out to be Rowling, but I think they would have felt differently had Robert Galbraith turned out to be James Frey or someone obscure.


        1. I am not holding her to a different standard because of who she is. I’m holding her to a different standard because of what she does. I did not mention this at all in my review because, as I said, I found it negligible. If she were applying for benefits and used that bio, or if she were applying to a job and used that bio, then by all means hold her to a harsher legal standard. What she did was create an identity for a fictional author who wrote a fictional piece of work. In addition she chose to donate a portion of the proceeds of the novel to a charity which that fictional author could very well have supported.

          As for Frey or other authors who falsify their own life events and happenings there’s a genre for that. I could care less what they do it is the consumers choice to support those authors when those facts come to light.

          I’m not going to have this argument on my page. I think you’re entitled to your opinion and I am to mine. If I had any thing to say about this I would’ve commented on your piece. I didn’t have anything to say, so I didn’t.


            1. No need to apologize! I’m all up for discussion, I think Rowling is a divisive figure when it comes to what she does and doesn’t do and too many people are quick to jump one way or the other, so wanted to stop it before it kept going forever. Have a great weekend!


  3. I’m really looking forward to reading it. I purchased a copy for my mum while I was on holiday in Scotland earlier this month, and have called reading it after she finishes. I love a good mystery!


      1. I’m hoping to get my hands on it this week or next week! I have a couple of novels to read before then, so it isn’t the end of the world if it takes a little longer.


  4. Really wanted to love The Casual Vacancy, but couldn’t. I’m happy to read this review though — I’ll request it from the library!

    P.S. I’m Boston-based too — isn’t it a great city?


    1. I loved Casual Vacancy, but I was predisposed to love it. I’ve got so many friends in the UK involved in local politics and the ridiculousness of it is great!

      There are quite a few of us in Boston, we should do a Book Blogger meet up at some point – maybe the Book Festival next month! How long have you been in Boston? I love the city.


      1. I think a meet-up at the BBF is a great idea! I missed last year’s because it was my birthday and my parents were in town, but I’m excited for this year’s!

        I’ve been here for over seven years now, and my only complaint is the rent. So many great bookstores! Do you have a favorite?


        1. I love the Booksmith in Brookline and Harvard Bookstore, but there are so many great ones! These are just the two I’m closest to at any point during the day, plus they’ve got great used book selections.


          1. I’m partial to Harvard Bookstore myself, and then Grolier’s right around the corner. And my friends Mary & Jaime own Newtonville Books (D line, Newton Center), so of course I love browsing in there.


  5. I haven’t read many actual reviews of this book besides the general “It hasn’t gotten much attention, but the reviews it has received were positive” lines in all the articles that came out when Rowling revealed that she was the author. You make it sound really fantastic, though! I bought a copy of it shortly after the big reveal, but haven’t gotten a chance to read it yet. I’m really looking forward to it now!


    1. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting! You should definitely check it out and it wasn’t too long of a read, which I thoroughly enjoyed! You could probably get it from a local library if you don’t mind waiting.


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