Vicky (the Blowtorch-Wielding OotCDCB™)'s Reviews > The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
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Update: 09/15/14


The con of re-reading a Crime-Mystery is that you already know the killer’s identity/whatever actually happened, so the surprise factor is lost. The pro is that you see things through a new lens, you pay attention to all the little clues you missed the first time around and you go "Oh! That right there; it makes total sense now because …".

The Cuckoo’s Calling starts with a slow pace, and tbh this second time around I was a bit bored while the scene was being set and characters introduced. However, as the plot moved forward, the interrogations started, and especially when Strike began to make sense of things and the pieces started falling together I was hooked just like the first time around.

I was taken anew by the realistic feel of the characters and setting. I could see everything as if it was a movie playing in my head and it felt utterly real. Everything was described concisely but with precision. I could actually hear the accents of the characters, see their facial expressions and mannerisms, feel the atmosphere in each scene.

The writing engaged me, the story compelled me, I grew attached to the characters and I'm looking forward to their next case.


Rating: 4,5 stars.

Let’s get this out of the way first: Did I buy this book when I learned J.K. Rowling had written it? Yes, yes I did. I’m not ashamed to say it because the fact is that woman changed my whole childhood with her Harry Potter series and became something of an idol to me, so of course I’ll buy anything she writes. Now... does my liking this book have anything to do with my love for HP? Absolutely no. After reading two HP-unrelated adult books by this author it’s become quite clear that I’m enamored with her writing no matter what genre or age-target her work is categorized in.

Her dry humor is hilarious: "It's that wounded-poet crap, that soul-pain shit, that too-much-of-a-tortured-genius-to wash bollocks. Brush your teeth, you little bastard. You're not fucking Byron." Also, I love all the britishisms!

The actual review:

The Cuckoo’s Calling is a proper, old-fashioned detective crime mystery, and even though it diverged from my usual preferred reading (fantasy/dystopia/PRNs with kickass characters or romance-centered contemporaries with some mystery/suspense/thriller mixed in), I loved it! It has little action, no romance and an MC that relies on his powers of observation, careful examination and ‘reading’ people’s expressions to figure things out.

This book is a bit slow-paced (the detective work involves a lot of descriptions of places/situations, going over reports/statements and pondering alternatives), but it is so interesting that somehow it didn't bore me at all. For the last 33% I was on the edge of my seat and just couldn't stop reading. There was a certain tension surrounding all of the suspects that had me hooked.

The story is character-based with well drawn, flawed and incredibly life-like characters. In fact, they are the most real I remember reading in like... ever. Depicted without literary embellishments or sugarcoating their stories. It took me a while to warm up to Cormoran but when it happened it hit me hard: I liked his quick wit and quips from the start but didn't looove him, until suddenly he sneaked up on me and *bam*: total crush. When did that happen?? Maybe around the time he (view spoiler). The whole scene was kind of sad and pathetic but also hysterical and Robin's intervention was so sweet; my feelings were all over the place.

I LOVED Robin and Cormoran’s budding friendship! I can’t believe I’m about to say this but... I hope that stays platonic. I’d like for them to become besties but a romance might kill a very promising Sherlock- Watson type of friendship.

As for the suicide/murder mystery, I didn't figure out the outcome until the very last moment. Maybe because I suck at solving mysteries, maybe it was just really well done. Whatever the reason, the result was that I was pleasantly shocked by Cormoran’s reveal at the end.

In a nutshell: This is a quiet sort of book, with little action and no romance, which puts it out of my comfort-zone, and yet I totally loved it. There’s no cliffhanger but I still want/need mooooore. I sincerely hope this will be the first of many Cormoran stories to come.
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Quotes Vicky (the Blowtorch-Wielding OotCDCB™) Liked

Robert Galbraith
“How easy it was to capitalize on a person’s own bent for self-destruction; how simple to nudge them into non-being, then to stand back and shrug and agree that it had been the inevitable result of a chaotic, catastrophic life.”
Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo's Calling

Robert Galbraith
“He had never been able to understand the assumption of intimacy fans felt with those they had never met.”
Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo's Calling

Robert Galbraith
“Other people his age had houses and washing machines, cars and television sets, furniture and gardens and mountain bikes and lawnmowers: he had four boxes of crap, and a set of matchless memories.”
Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo's Calling

Robert Galbraith
“Strike was used to playing archaeologist among the ruins of people’s traumatised memories;”
Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo's Calling

Robert Galbraith
“In the inverted food chain of fame, it was the big beasts who were stalked and hunted”
Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo's Calling

Robert Galbraith
“It's that wounded-poet crap, that soul-pain shit, that too-much-of-a-tortured-genius-to-wash bollocks. Brush your teeth, you little bastard. You're not fucking Byron.”
Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo's Calling

Robert Galbraith
“You're like everyone else, Strike; you want your civil liberties when you've told the missus you're at the office and you're at a lap-dancing club, but you want twenty-four-hour surveillance on your house when someone's trying to force your bathroom window open. Can't have it both ways.”
Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo's Calling

Reading Progress

July 13, 2013 – Shelved
July 13, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
February 5, 2014 – Started Reading
February 5, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014-reads
February 5, 2014 – Shelved as: adult
February 5, 2014 – Shelved as: contemporary
February 5, 2014 – Shelved as: mystery
February 7, 2014 –
page 58
12.75% "'Appearance is all: the designer Guy Somé was quick to inform the press that she jumped wearing one of his dresses, which sold out in the twenty-four hours after her death. What better advert could there be than that Lula Landry chose to meet her maker in Somé?'\n Humans can be sick sick creatures. Loving the book so far though."
February 8, 2014 –
page 136
29.89% "Dear Detective Sergeant Wardle:\n "
February 9, 2014 –
page 255
56.04% ""... so what did she see in Evan Duffield? I'll tell you," he said, without pausing for an answer. "It's that wounded-poet crap, that soul-pain shit, that too-much-of-a-tortured-genius-to wash bollocks. Brush your teeth, you little bastard. You're not fucking Byron."\n "
February 9, 2014 –
page 305
67.03% "Awwwwwwwww. The feels! I'm laughing, but it's also kind of sad and pathetic and Robin's intervention is so sweet."
February 10, 2014 –
page 422
92.75% "I'm not sure at which point it happened, but Cormoran seems to have sneaked up on me and made me love him. :D"
February 11, 2014 – Shelved as: i-like-big-books-and-i-cannot-lie
February 11, 2014 – Shelved as: own-paper-copy
February 11, 2014 – Shelved as: british-authors
February 11, 2014 – Finished Reading
February 14, 2014 – Shelved as: detective-detecting
August 28, 2014 – Shelved as: re-reads
August 28, 2014 –
page 0
0.0% "Re-reading before The Silkworm, which is finally available in Argentina."
August 30, 2014 –
page 93
20.44% "Strike was used to playing archaeologist among the ruins of people's traumatized memories; he had made himself the confidant of thugs; he had bullied the terrified, baited the dangerous and laid traps for the cunning.\n "
September 5, 2014 –
page 154
33.85% "First slut-shaming and now that racist comment.\n "
September 12, 2014 –
page 200
43.96% "*Chuckles* I just love how sneaky Strike is, making people uncomfortable and getting them to tell him what he wants."
September 15, 2014 –
page 369
81.1% "LOL! Strike trying to spell it out to Carver.\n "

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