The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Title:  The Cuckoo’s Calling

Author: Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling

Published by Mulholland Books/ Little, Brown and Company

Hardcover, First Edition

Number of Pages: 455

Backup References: Goodreads

Theme: Crime Fiction

First of all, let me tell you that I’ve never, ever read Harry Potter. Therefore, it’s impossible for me to actually compare J.K. Rolling’s previous series with this one book. That being said, let us dig into her Cuckoo’s Calling Crime-Fiction-Novel:


Supermodel Lula Landry jumps to her death leaving the world stunned and her family broken-hearted. An emotionally and physically challenged detective is hired, ex-veteran Cormoran Strike, to investigate her apparent suicide. This investigation plunges Strike into the world of the rich and famous, their relentless pursuit by paparazzi, the delusion behind fake smiles and their coveted millions in the bank. That pretty much sums it up.


Rowling writes in an unconvincing old style or should I say awkward?

  • “The utilitarian modern world had encroached until it sat huddled and miserable, out of synch with its surroundings…”
  • “He got a bit smarmier when she started…”

Her similes and metaphors are a bit perplexing as well:

  • “Transparent ellipses peppered the glass beside them.”
  •  “…the snow fell with soft fingertip plunks…”

The use of similar adjectives is exasperatingly repetitive when found in consecutive pages giving the reader a sense of déjà vu:

Page 318

  • “she stretched out her endless legs…”

Page 319

  • “rearranged her coltish legs…”
  •  “she raised herself restlessly, twisted one of the long legs…”

Page 327

  • “her dress had ridden up to the very top of her long legs.”

Not to mention the fact that two very different characters have a similar style of speech. What was supposed to be a characteristic of a “round-well defined” character (answering questions with another question), ends up being an ill copycat of another. Thus, it was difficult for me to read and enjoy without noticing these incongruences.

Now, about those clues:

There are very few… until the very end, that is. For example: a vase filled with flowers crashes on the floor, but one character says he notices “drops of water” and (for whatever reason) forgets about the bigger mess. We don’t know what those “drops” entail until Strike (or should I say Hercule Poirot?) tells it all at the end. That’s when he explains the long story of what happened, who lied and why, what caused the water drops (those mean never-drying drops), etc. etc.


  •  Medium paced
  • “Cormoran Strike” is a witty and out of the box character who deserves a series of his own. 


  • Standard mystery
  • The killer is not hard to guess
  • The old fashion style doesn’t fit a content where people swear instead of “politely excusing themselves” 

Reality Check:

Cuckoo’s Calling sales roared only AFTER the person behind the pseudonym was revealed as J.K. Rolling. There are published / unpublished authors who truly deserve the chance to be recognised on a larger scale and they are not. It’s a tough and, most of the time, unfair struggle.  

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