“Nillness, thought Strike, for a second distracted. He had slept badly. Nillness, that was where Lula Landry had gone, and where all of them, he and Rochelle included, were headed. Sometimes illness turned slowly to nillness, as was happening to Bristow’s mother… sometimes nillness rose to meet you out of nowhere, like a concrete road slamming your skull apart.”
I guess I am one of the many people who recently heard about The Cuckoo’s Calling only after it leaked out that Robert Galbraith actually is a pseudonym used by J.K. Rowling to avoid people comparing the book with her previous work. I can understand where she was going with that and I will respect her pseudonym by using this name during the rest of my review. Unfortunately this book has been seriously ‘overhyped’ since Rowling came into the picture, and I cannot say it lives up to the hype now I’ve read it. Sure, the story itself was quite intriguing and Galbraith threw some nice plot twists in so you are kept guessing about if Lula was really murdered and who would have wanted to kill her until the end. The writing was interesting in general, but I had serious problems with how Galbraith makes his characters express themselves. It just doesn’t sound natural at all; either too antiquated or too many ‘fuck’ included to be able to take it seriously. I mean, an ‘how do you do’ for a 35-year-old ex-military and detective like Cormoran Strike just doesn’t do it for me.
After Cormoran Strike loses his leg while serving in Afghanistan, he is forced to retire and he becomes a private investigator. Things go downwards from there. His girlfriend kicks him out, he now has to live in his office and he is in serious depts. Just as a new temporary secretary (Robin) he cannot afford starts working, a client finally shows up after a long stretch of very slow business. A famous model called Lula died three months ago, presumably suicide, but her brother John Bristow thinks someone murdered her. He asks Cormoran to investigate the dead of his wealthy sister, and Cormoran simply cannot refuse the money John offers him. The police had ruled out foul play already, but Cormoran still has some important contacts left over from the old days. He starts calling in favors, but the investigation is not as easy as it seems.
His secretary Robin is actually a great asset to the case, and she helps him dig up more and more information about the circumstances around the death of the model. It turns out she had a fight with her on/off rockstar boyfriend, she was looking for her birth father and she had invited someone to her house around the time she died… But there still is no trace of the killer or any proof if it was an actual murder. Cormoran soon seems to suspect her death was all about money and goes looking for a will. And in the process, he finds out some other interesting and shocking details. Was Lula murdered after all?
The writing style and cliche moments in the story made me give The Cuckoo’s Calling only three out of five stars. It’s a nice read, but nothing too exciting. Recommended to those who enjoy the whole mystery/whodunit genre.