Tuesday, March 4, 2014


I bought and downloaded this book the day it was released last summer, and dove in immediately.  I have to admit being a bit gun shy, as I bought A Casual Vacancy on release day too, and was sadly disappointed in that book.  Interesting note about The Cuckoo's Calling, when "somebody" leaked that it was in fact
J.K. Rowling wrote the book, sales exploded to gargantuan proportions and increased over 156,000% in 24 hours.  Yup, you read that right ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY SIX THOUSAND PERCENT.  

So, I started it.  Now this was back in July of last year, and I just finished it today, so clearly it would appear that something is amiss.  Well, it's not.  Here's what happened.  I was reading a lot of business books, and books on coaching etc.  I am no longer going that route and now a great part of my brain power can revel in the juiciness that are novels... YAY!  Oh literary yumminess how I have missed you! I sat down to do some knitting and watched a documentary I have seen a few times before, though not for awhile, it is called J.K. Rowling:  A Year in the Life (which you can watch online for free here).  It is a fascinating doc that follows Rowling for a year while she is writing the final book in The Series.  And it got me thinking about The Cuckoo, and I picked up my kindle and continued where I left off about 50% in.

I have never read a mystery before in my life, though I have always wanted to, I just didn't know where to start.  I am glad that this was my first one!

What I LOVED LOVED LOVED about this book are the characters.  I absolutely fell in love with Cormoran Strike, the loveable yet mildly grizzled war vet who's now a detective.  ADORE!  She has made him come to life in the most appealing way.  He actually exists in my literary bank vault of characters, right along side Harry, Jamie and Claire, Laura Ingalls, etc.  Not to mention his assistant Robin.  Both are very real and  both are very loveable warts and all.

The story begins with the death of a super model, who happens to be a black girl adopted into a white family.  This adds a whole other dimension to the case as in she had just discovered members of her birth family just before she plummeted to her death from her penthouse suite balcony.

I obviously can't really go too much into detail in terms of a synopsis, but those of you that have read my reviews before know that I rarely if ever type up a synopsis.  I like to give a general feeling or vibe that I got from reading it, and then give a thumbs up or down.

General vibe:  struggling loveable detective who lives in a back room in his office;  new assistant/secretary who though is a temp, is proving valuable beyond measure, not to mention the super awesome Moonlighting kind of sexual tension;  the glamourous yet seedy underbelly of the entertainment industry in London; and murder.  Or is it suicide?  I guess you'll have to read it to find out!  ()  

Here's also why I love it.  It turns out that J.K. as Galbraith is a brilliant writer!  Here is just a little snippet from when Strike, after getting some personal devastating news, goes on a bender, and Robin decides to join him.  Strike has just lit a cigarette in a pub, where it clearly is a nonsmoking environment:

    "You need to go outside to do that," he told Strike loudly.
Strike peered up at the boy, bleary-eyed, surprised.
    "It's all right," Robin told the barman gathering up her handbag.  "Come on, Cormoran."
He stood, massive, ungainly, swaying, unfolding himself out of the cramped space behind the table and glaring at the barman, whom Robin could not blame for stepping backwards.  
    "There'z no need," Strike told him, "t'shout.  No need. Fuckin' rude."  

And then:

Strike wound his way back on to the street, bouncing off the door frame as he emerged.  He planted himself firmly against the window and tried to light another cigarette. 
     "R'bin," he said, giving up and gazing down at her.  "R'bin, d'you know wadda kairos mo..." He hiccoughed.  "Mo...moment is?"
     "A kairos moment?" she repeated, hoping against hope it was not something sexual, something that she would not be able to forget afterwards, especially as the kebab shop owner was listening in and smirking behind them.  "No, I don't. Shall we go back to the office?"
     "You don't know whadditis?" he asked peering at her.
     "'SGreek," he told her.  "Kairos.  Kairos moment.  An' it means," and from somewhere in his soused brain he dredged up words of surprising clarity, "the telling moment. The special moment. The supreme moment."
     Oh please, thought Robin, please don't tell me we're having one

Now after getting to know him for over half of the book, and knowing that he really doesn't drink that much, this scene was actually endearing.  Poor guy.

The writing is VERY VERY GOOD.  Like crazy good.  She has successfully entered into a middle aged man's head, and made it incredibly pleasant to live there!

The next in the series, The Silkworm, (at the moment it is listed as a trilogy, but one can only hope that Strike will b around for many more books to come!) is coming out in June and I already have it on pre-order.  I.  LOVED.  IT.


3 Blabs:

Marg said...

I have this book here on audio. I really hope I get to it this time. I have borrowed the book from the library a couple of times but haven't got to it yet.

Lisa said...

Hi Marg! Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you like it, there are mixed reviews over on my FB with family and friends. Do come back and post what your thoughts were after you read it, would love to get your thoughts!

Aarti said...

I did this one on audiobook and really enjoyed it, too. I like the friendship - I hope she develops it further.

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