When the news broke that J.K. Rowling had been writing under a pseudonym and had a crime novel on the shelves, I knew that I had to pick it up. I did not, however, go into this blindly. I actually quite enjoy the mystery/crime genre, particularly Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes novels and Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy. I also plan on reading Agatha Christie when I get some time.
The Cuckoo’s Calling opens with a view of the death of a top supermodel, Lula Landry, who jumped from the balcony of her apartment to her death on the street below. The police had an investigation surrounding this death, as expected, but decide that it was a suicide and close the case. A few months later however, Lula’s adoptive brother John comes to Cormoran Strike, a down-on-his-luck private detective, to re-open the investigation because he believe that Lula did not kill herself. He believes that someone murdered his sister and he wants to know who it was.
Throughout the novel, I was constantly trying to deduce who could have murdered Lula, or if it was actually a suicide and her brother just did not want to accept that she had actually ended her life. But no matter what, I could not figure it out and it was only until the ending, when Cormoran Strike reveals everything, that the pieces finally fell into place. That, in my opinion, is the mark of a great crime novel. Too often I find when I am reading, regardless of genre, that I can put together the ending before it happens. Sometimes it is very close to the reveal, and other times it is a couple of chapters before. There have been cases where I don’t actually want to know what happens until the reveal, but my mind just clicks all of the puzzle pieces together anyways.
The Cuckoo’s Calling prevented me from putting together the pieces, and whenever I felt like I had figured it out, there was some kind of twist or turn and new information popped up to put all of my suspicions in doubt.
I won’t reveal to you anything about whether or not it was indeed a suicide or if Lula was actually murdered; I want to know what you believe as you are reading this book. Did she kill herself as the police determined at the beginning of the book? Was her brother John, therefore, just in denial about her actions? Or was there in fact a calculated decision involved to murder Lula Landry?
The Cuckoo’s Calling is a fantastic novel overall, and I am so glad that it was revealed that J.K. Rowling wrote it otherwise I may never have found out about the book. It is extremely well-written, both with the aspects of the investigation as well as the small details and subplots involved.
All I will say now is that after you read this book, I’m sure I will see you with the sequel when it is released in 2014.