(5 / 5)
I’m late to the party. I totally know, but this J.K. Rowling lady knows what she’s doing. Don’t get me wrong. I adored Harry Potter (cue flashback music: I had to move from Kansas City, MO, to St. Louis, MO, on the day Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released. The UPS man showed up with my copy at 9:00 a.m. sharp. For the next four hours, I sat in the corner reading, while my husband, father, father-in-law, and sisters packed and loaded up boxes. Listen, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do, and sometimes it’s sit silently reading for four hours straight and then for the next four hours in the car. Haters gonna hate. Not my problem.) Still, I’d been holding off on The Cuckoo’s Calling for nearly two years. It’s been on my shelf since Christmas Day 2013. I was nervous. I didn’t want to be disenchanted with Ms. Rowling’s writing. I love her too much for a break-up. This month I faced my fear, and praise Jesus I did!
The book begins with a dead body—Lula Landry’s to be specific. It appears the supermodel has committed suicide. Fast forward a year, and the story truly begins. Lula’s brother John hires Cormoran Strike to investigate. John’s convinced it’s murder not suicide. The rest of the world—including Strike and his new secretary—not so much. From there, the methodical mystery takes off. For most of the story, Strike interviews and re-interviews the last ones to see Lula alive. In his spare time, Cormoran is trying to navigate a new world now that he’s lost his fiancée and his home. Robin, his accidental secretary and much more useful than Cormoran thought, becomes a kind of sidekick rather than a paper-pusher/phone-answerer. Slowly but surely, I started noticing holes in the suspects’ stories of Lula’s last night. In fact, I thought I had picked up the thread of the murderer about three-quarters of the way in, but man was I wrong. Strike’s final reveal and confrontation with the killer was a complete surprise to me, but not the kind where I felt cheated. All the breadcrumbs were there. I just didn’t pick them up.
I’ve read reviews claiming this book was slow and focused too much on Cormoran’s actual life versus the mystery. To be honest, the attention to character is what I loved. Cormoran for all his quirks and oddities feels real. A good guy who’s down on his luck. He finds the perfect foil/sidekick in his temporary secretary Robin. I love her, and I totally identify with her fascination with detective work. It also helps that Robin’s inner-Nancy Drew kicks in quickly. What I really love is the chemistry between Robin and Cormoran. Their relationship plays a huge role in why the book works. They fit together well and not in a romantic way (at least not yet—however, I think Ms. Rowling isn’t going to keep that door closed forever). Coromoran and Robin’s connection is truly refreshing. Honestly, the whole book is refreshing. The story definitely reawakened the mystery lover in me. So much so, that I ran to the library this weekend to pick up The Silkworm, so I can be ready for Ms. Rowling’s October release of the third in the series, Career of Evil.
Bottom line, read this book. Read it yesterday.