Book Review: The Cuckoos Calling

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This article appeared  in the  September 2013 print issue of  W27 Newspaper. To view original clip visit

J.K. Rowling has come a long way from her fantasy novels starring wizards, witchcraft and magic. Her latest novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, was published with acclaimed reviews last April under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith and is in fact a crime novel, a surprising switch from her successful Potter series.

This is the type of book that will keep you hooked to your Kindle from page one. The first hundred pages could trick you into thinking you know exactly where the plot is headed. But the truth is, you couldn’t possibly imagine what lies in wait for your hungry eyes to feast on.

When John Bristow hires private investigator Cormoran Strike to find out if his sister, supermodel Lula Landry, really committed suicide you might think, “There goes another novel about family and coping with death.” Wrong! The Cuckoo’s Calling is a page-turner whose narrative uncovers Lula’s life through Strike’s investigation. It forces you to question how well you truly know the people surrounding you and make you realize that sometimes dark thoughts can turn into dark actions.

In addition to having a gripping storyline, the novel also touches upon sensitive topics such as the war in Afghanistan and its consequences (with Strike suffering an injury during war) and the downsides of fame and wealth. Lastly, Rowling brings to light man’s necessity to feel part of a family, as Lula was adopted and searching for her biological parents before her sudden death.

The characters are real and plausible. Strike is in a constant funk and living in his office after his recent breakup with his longtime girlfriend. His temporary assistant, Robin, is a newly engages 25-year-old who turns out to be Strike’s most valuable asset. Lula shows the reader how imperfect a supermodel’s life can be, despite the fame, wealth and beauty. And finally there is John, the most intricate characters of them all, who is oused in mystery and is a driving force in the story.

All in all, this is a well-written and thrilling novel, which proves how starting over and reiveinting one’s self time and time again is possible, even for a celbrated author like J.K. Rowling.





© 2014 Maddalena Alecce

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