The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

76%

40 Critic Reviews

The methodical Strike and the curious Ellacott work their way through a host of vividly drawn suspects and witnesses toward an elegant solution. Readers will hope to see a lot more of this memorable sleuthing team.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

The Cuckoo's Calling is a 2013 crime fiction novel by J. K. Rowling, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

A brilliant mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.
 

About Robert Galbraith

See more books from this Author
After several years with the Royal Military Police, Robert Galbraith was attached to the SIB (Special Investigative Branch), the plain-clothes branch of the RMP. He left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry. The idea for Cormoran Strike grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who returned to the civilian world. 'Robert Galbraith' is a pseudonym.
 
Published January 1, 2013 by Mulholland. 561 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime, Nature & Wildlife, Action & Adventure, Children's Books. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Sep 08 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for The Cuckoo's Calling
All: 40 | Positive: 34 | Negative: 6

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Jul 17 2013

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” is flawed by a “Psycho”-like explanatory ending — in which Strike explains how he put all the evidence together and identified Lula’s killer, but most of its narrative moves forward with propulsive suspense.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by XoXo, BOOK WORM_98 on Nov 18 2013

Galbraith's (Rowling's) descriptions of the grey London streets, detailed musings of a disturbed young model's life and death and prose make the tale completely life-like!

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Mark Lawson on Jul 18 2013

...while never a firecracker stylist, Rowling almost always writes clean, clear prose, although her marked liking for adjectives and adverbs may have been one of the things that gave her away.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Mark Lawson on Jul 18 2013

For the moment, we are left with an enjoyable, highly professional crime novel that has escaped from the aim its author had for it but taken on a massive new significance for readers.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Reviewed by Publishers Weekly on Feb 25 2013

The methodical Strike and the curious Ellacott work their way through a host of vividly drawn suspects and witnesses toward an elegant solution. Readers will hope to see a lot more of this memorable sleuthing team.

Read Full Review of The Cuckoo's Calling | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NPR

Below average
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Jul 18 2013

The Cuckoo's Calling falls into that vast middlin' range of fiction that I mentally shelve in the "I've read worse, but I've read better" category. I couldn't even find a memorable quote from this novel.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Thom Geier on Jul 17 2013

Despite the contemporary milieu and sprinkling of F-words, The Cuckoo's Calling is decidedly old-fashioned. Rowling serves up a sushi platter of red herring, sprinkling clues along the way, before Strike draws a confession out of the killer...

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The Independent

Good
Reviewed by Roz Kaveney on Jul 19 2013

The mapping of one witness's story over the next, the search for inconsistencies and alternative explanations, makes for a leisurely read and a lot of pages – but there is almost nothing here that can be described as redundant.

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Booklist Online

Good
Reviewed by Christine Tran on Mar 15 2013

...Kate Atkinson’s fans will appreciate his reliance on deduction and observation along with Galbraith’s skilled storytelling.

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USA Today

Above average
Reviewed by Charles Finch on Jul 16 2013

In both its broad strokes and in dozens of flairs of perception like this one, The Cuckoo's Calling shows that all great fiction — even if it only concerns our workaday world — has its own kind of magic.

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Huffington Post

Good
Reviewed by David Kudler on Aug 01 2013

...it’s a taut, well-written mystery that does a wonderful job of reviving an all-but-dead genre, the gumshoe detective style mastered by Hammett, Chandler and (on the other side of the pond, and in a very different mode) Sayers.

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Tampa Bay Times

Good
Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on Jul 23 2013

...I'd go so far as to say that, as a whole, it's more successful as a book than Rowling's first venture into non-Harry Potter fiction aimed at adults, last year's bestselling The Casual Vacancy.

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Newsday

Below average
on Jul 17 2013

It's an engaging detective story but nothing makes it stand out among the hundreds of others that pass through my office every year.

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Chicago Tribune

Good
Reviewed by Julia Keller on Aug 09 2013

It's terrific...If Charles Dickens and Agatha Christie had briefly shacked up, their love child might very well have been Robert Galbraith.

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Cleveland.com

Good
Reviewed by Laura DeMarco on Jul 17 2013

It's a testament to Rowling's skillful way of imbuing humanity to her characters that although Lula is killed months before the story starts, she comes to life a flesh-and-blood woman in the way many fictional crime victims do not.

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Daily Kos

Above average
Reviewed by Susan from 29Follow on Jul 22 2013

Personally I was a little disappointed. Perhaps because in the Harry Potter series, Rowling created an entire universe and invited us in to have a look around. This novel never did completely draw me in...

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The Big Story

Good
Reviewed by DEEPTI HAJELA on Jul 25 2013

...overall, it's a fun read, with a main character you can care about and one you'll want to see again in other adventures. It reads like Rowling had fun writing it.

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DNA

Good
Reviewed by Joanna Lobo on Aug 11 2013

All said, though the novel may not be a fast-paced thriller, it harks back to the much-loved good, old detective novel of the 20th century and makes for a good read indeed.

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Chamber Four

Above average
Reviewed by Nico Vreeland on Aug 09 2013

The major downside of Galbraith’s style is a tendency to exhaustively lay out every nuance and detail of the investigation, and so the interview scenes are staggeringly dull...

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Crime Fiction Lover

Good
Reviewed by Andre on Jul 24 2013

Rowling has written an ingenious, unashamedly traditional crime novel with an antagonistic, damaged private detective bearing the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike.

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Hindustan Times

Good
on Jul 26 2013

...overall, it's a fun read, with a main character you can care about and one you'll want to see again in other adventures.

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The Northern Echo

Good
Reviewed by Nilima Marshall on May 13 2013

Robert Galbraith...demonstrates superb flair as a mystery writer in his debut novel. It's a gripping tale set in the bustle of London, taking us from the elegant streets of Mayfair to the backstreet pubs of the East End.

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The Morning Sun

Good
Reviewed by Katy Waldman on Jul 20 2013

it’s a lighter and less portentous read than the later “Potter” books. Having gone somewhat sour and querulous in 2012’s “The Casual Vacancy,” Rowling seems to have rediscovered her sense of fun.

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Reviewing the Evidence

Above average
Reviewed by Yvonne Klein on Jul 01 2013

...it might seem that there is not a lot to recommend A CUCKOO'S CALLING, but that is not quite the case. The praise on the back cover from the likes of Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, and Mike Cooper suggests that I am probably missing something here.

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That's What She Read

Good
Reviewed by Michelle on May 09 2013

Robin...is the perfect foil for Comoran, and together they make a great team. Also, the story itself is one of the few mysteries in recent months that actually remains a mystery until the very end. The use of well-hidden clues and plenty of red herrings excel at throwing readers off the scent of the truth.

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Quick Book Reviews

Good
on Jul 22 2013

It would be fair to say that I was very impressed with the ending twist; even avid mystery fans such as myself have a hard time figuring it out. On the whole, I had a great time reading the book...

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Badass Book Reviews

Excellent
Reviewed by DG on Jul 25 2013

The Cuckoo’s Calling is an excellent mystery with intense characters, beautiful imagery and an intricate plot that expertly melds the consequences of fame, psychological issues and questions of race.

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Pop Culture Nerd

Good
on Jul 14 2013

I find it admirable that she's such a versatile writer, even if this style was less engaging for me. Some authors use the same techniques over and over...

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The Lostent Wife

Above average
on Jul 27 2013

So, basically, is reading The Cuckoo’s Calling worth all of the hype? Sure. Don’t pick it up thinking it’s Harry Potter though, because it’s not.

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Rivers I Have Known

Excellent
Reviewed by Amritorupa Kanjilal on Jul 30 2013

...I hope Robert Galbraith is encouraged by the stellar performance of The Cuckoo’s Calling to write a whole series of Cormoran Strikes. He has the knack of making a murder mystery come to life and take the reader by the throat, and I look forward to reading more by him.

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Shelah Books It

Above average
Reviewed by Shelah on Jul 31 2013

... I was a little bit uncomfortable, as an adoptive parent, about the way adoptive relationships and particularly adoptive children are portrayed in the novel.

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Escape in a Book

Above average
Reviewed by Mari on Jul 30 2013

I want to give Robert Galbrait or J.K. Rowling excellent marks for delivering an almost unputdownable story, but I was hoping Rowling had gone for a little more creativity and originality when writing a crime novel.

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The Review Broads

Excellent
Reviewed by Ava on Apr 22 2013

Astute, intelligent, and most alluring, Cormoran Strike pulls the right strings on a complicated and deadly case and brings home the girl. Galbraith writes like the wind, and The Cuckoo Calling pulsates and undulates in and out of a plot that stuns.

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A Separate State of Mind Blog

Good
on Jul 23 2013

...underneath the detective work, the cut-throat aspect of many of the novel’s facets, lies a story – like Rowling’s earlier offerings – of characters, of blossoming friendships, growing trust, hardships, heartbreaks, of growth. I’ve read many detective novels. This is one of the better ones.

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AustCrimeFiction

Good
Reviewed by Karen on Jun 26 2013

There's really only one problem with books as good as THE CUCKOO'S CALLING. Waiting for the next one in the series. It's hard not to whine about the waiting.

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Libereading Blog

Good
Reviewed by Rayna on Aug 07 2013

I enjoyed The Cuckoo's Calling from start to finish, and would happily recommend the novel to anyone looking for a fun, fast-paced detective story with a few big twists.

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Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine

Above average
Reviewed by Bill Crider on Jul 22 2013

...Galbraith does share Rowling's tendency to give adverbial tags to speakers' words ("she said intelligently" or "she said aggressively"). Plenty of other adverbs, too. No one has explained about adverbs to Rowling. Either that or she's ignored them. Good for her.

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Eating Bender Blog

Good
Reviewed by Jenn on Jul 31 2013

The Cuckoo’s Calling, even without its famous authorship, is a refreshing and exciting crime fiction tale that will leave you guessing and with a new detective hero to root for.

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In Real Life

Above average
on Jul 19 2013

I'm grateful to have read THE CUCKOO'S CALLING without know JK Rowling wrote it, because while I didn't love it to death, it was a good read, and had I known, I never would have chosen to read it.

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The Newtown Review of Books

Good
on Jul 14 2013

The Cuckoo’s Calling is a particularly well-written, well-constructed detective story, densely populated by precisely-observed characters, and although it now can’t be called an extraordinarily accomplished first novel, it can still be described as a highly accomplished first crime novel.

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Reader Rating for The Cuckoo's Calling
75%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 15366 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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Andrea Gates 15 Jul 2013

It's J.K. Rowling writing under a psuedonym:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/books/a-detective-storys-famous-author-is-unmasked.html?_r=0

User Review

rahul 28 Oct 2013

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Being a fan of Rowling's Potter, maybe I was a little biased going in but the story was very engaging and characters somewhat endearing. It was also nice to ...

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Karen Russo 28 Aug 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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Jure 25 Feb 2015

Rated the book as 3.5 out of 5

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ipsita barik 11 Sep 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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Pallavi Jones 2 Dec 2015

Rated the book as 4 out of 5

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