Reviews for Cuckoo's Calling
Booklist Reviews 2013 March #2
London PI Cormoran Strike's final feud with his arguably insane fiancée leaves him camping in his office, wondering how his last two clients will keep him afloat and pay for his new secretary, Robin. When a childhood acquaintance asks him to investigate his supermodel sister's apparent suicide, Strike finds a distraction from his problems that's happily attached to a check. Lula Landry was surrounded by rabid paparazzi, a drug-addled social circle, a dysfunctional adopted family, and a shifty, newly found birth mother, making suicidal despair hard to dismiss. But with Robin's surprisingly adept assistance, Strike dismantles witness statements, applying masterful deductive skills to find evidence of murder. This debut is instantly absorbing, featuring a detective facing crumbling circumstances with resolve instead of clichéd self-destruction and a lovable sidekick with contagious enthusiasm for detection. Galbraith nimbly sidesteps celebrity superficiality, instead exploring the ugly truths in Lula's six degrees of separation. Strike bears little resemblance to Jackson Brodie, but Kate Atkinson's fans will appreciate his reliance on deduction and observation along with Galbraith's skilled storytelling. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Kirkus Reviews 2013 August #1
Murderous muggles are up to no good, and it's up to a seemingly unlikely hero to set things right. The big news surrounding this pleasing procedural is that Galbraith, reputed former military policeman and security expert, is none other than J. K. Rowling, who presumably has no experience on the Afghan front or at Scotland Yard. Why the pseudonymous subterfuge? We may never know. What's clear, and what matters, is that Galbraith/Rowling's yarn is an expertly written exercise in both crime and social criticism of a piece with Rowling's grownup novel The Casual Vacancy (2012), even if her hero, private detective Cormoran Strike, bears a name that wouldn't be out of place in her Harry Potter series. Strike is a hard-drinking, hard-bitten, lonely mess of a man, for reasons that Rowling reveals bit by bit, carefully revealing the secrets he keeps about his parentage, his time in battle and his bad luck. Strike is no Sherlock Holmes, but he's a dogged pursuer of The Truth, in this instance the identity of the person who may or may not have relieved a supermodel of her existence most unpleasantly: "Her head had bled a little into the snow. The face was crushed and swollen, one eye reduced to a pucker, the other showing as a sliver of dull white between distended lids." It's an icky image, but no ickier than Rowling's roundup of sinister, self-serving, sycophantic characters who inhabit the world of high fashion, among the most suspicious of them a fellow who'sâ€”well, changed his name to pull something over on his audience ("It's a long fucking way from Hackney, I can tell you..."). Helping Strike along as he turns over stones in the yards of the rich and famous is the eminently helpful Robin Ellacott, newcomer to London and determined to do better than work as a mere temp, which is what lands her at Strike's door. The trope of rumpled detective and resourceful Girl Friday is an old one, of course, but Rowling dusts it off and makes it new even as she turns London into a setting for her tale of mayhem as memorable as what Dashiell Hammett did with San Francisco in The Maltese Falcon. A quick, fun read. Rowling delivers a set of characters every bit as durable as her Potter people, and a story that, though no more complex than an Inspector Lewis episode, works well on every level. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Library Journal Reviews 2013 April #1
Lula Landry, a celebrity model rumored to have a drug problem, falls to her death one snowy night. Even though the police rule it a suicide, Lula's brother asks struggling London PI Cormoran Strike to investigate. Cormoran knows what he's up against: the rich are famously good at blockading information sharing. Nonetheless, he and his new assistant, Robin, forge an effective partnership as they interview fashion insiders, jealous boyfriends, and dysfunctional family members. The results are devastating. Cormoran's own celebrity roots and status as a wounded veteran (he lost his leg in Afghanistan) color a fascinating tale that explores the lifestyles of the rich and the unhappy. VERDICT Laden with plenty of twists and distractions, this debut ensures that readers will be puzzled and totally engrossed for quite a spell. Galbraith's take on contemporary celebrity obsession makes for a grand beach read. It's like a mash-up of Charles Dickens and Penny Vincenzi. [Page 62]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 February #4
In a rare feat, the pseudonymous Galbraith combines a complex and compelling sleuth and an equally well-formed and unlikely assistant with a baffling crime in his stellar debut. When office temp Robin Ellacott reports for work, she's unprepared for the shabby office or the rude greeting she receives from London PI Cormoran Strike. Soon after, John Bristow arrives and asks Strike to look into the putative suicide of his adopted, mixed-race sister, supermodel Lula Landry. Strike reluctantly agrees, even though the police have concluded a high-profile investigation. A decorated Afghan vet with an artificial lower leg, Strike begins a meticulous reinvestigation that leads him into a world of celebrities and wannabes, as well as deep into Landry's sad rollercoaster life. 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. Agent: Zoe King, the Blair Partnership (U.K.) (Apr.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC