Today I’m excited to share a Guest Bender post from Carolyn Heintz. Carolyn is a nutritionist, mother, and wannabe tap dancer (no, really). She firmly believes in a life based on the written word, health, prevention, and (most importantly!) laughter.
After reading Carolyn’s review of The Cuckoo’s Calling, I’m even more excited to pick up the book – though like her, I wish I would have discovered it before the true author was revealed.
For background information on why it has been receiving so much buzz, check out this article. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, go read the book and then read this post! Interested in submitting a guest post related to food, fitness, writing or publishing? Send me an email.
I’m a crime fiction lover. Ever since first reading Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None as a kid, I’ve been hooked on whodunit tales of murder, mystery, and more.
So, needless to say, when I heard that J.K. Rowling had written one, I was all over it.
The Cuckoo’s Calling, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, takes a (somewhat) cliché detective plotline and enriches it through detailed settings, stellar characterization, and unexpected plot turns. The novel’s lead is Cormoran Strike, a struggling private investigator and Afghanistan veteran/amputee who is currently shacking up in his office. He is a big, burly man with a no-nonsense attitude and exceptional cleverness.
He also happens to be one of the strongest and most likeable crime fiction heroes I’ve read in a long time.
It’s particularly fun to read his interactions with others – especially his “temporary” secretary Robin Ellacott, who is an animated and intelligent addition to the story. Together, they work to investigate the death of famous supermodel Lula Landry (nicknamed Cuckoo). They are hired by her distraught brother, John Bristow, who insists that Cuckoo was murdered, despite her death being ruled a suicide. As Strike and Ellacott delve into the case, they find themselves deeply entrenched into the chaotic world of the rich and famous and it becomes glaringly evident that nothing is what it seems.
I really enjoyed this novel and found myself becoming quite invested in the story – particularly with the characters, who are all richly developed and wonderfully detailed. From Strike’s interesting (to say the least) parentage to his strained history with his witchy ex-fiancée, Rowling includes character details that make them both interesting and realistic. The characters ground the story and propel the plot from seeming formulaic to unique and exciting.
Part of me wishes I would have read The Cuckoo’s Calling before the big author reveal, as I’m a little bit biased by my love of Rowling and the Harry Potter books, but I believe I would have truly enjoyed the novel regardless. To be honest, I was not a fan of her other post-Potter effort The Casual Vacancy, which I thought was tedious. That is certainly not the case here – Rowling throws in some plot twists that are well-paced and nicely take the novel from comedy to tension to action. Even while giving detailed descriptions, you are never bored.
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. A sequel is already in the works and I can’t wait to read more!
Thanks again for providing such a thorough review, Carolyn. You definitely have me intrigued! Check out more of Carolyn’s posts on her blog: Lifelong Health and Wellness.
Have you read The Cuckoo’s Calling? What are your thoughts on the pseudonym reveal?