Like many others, I thought I would check this out when it was revealed that it was really penned by J. K. Rowling. I thought The Casual Vacancy was quirky and reasonably entertaining. You could see how characters were penned in similar ways to Harry Potter. But there are almost no stylistic similarities between The Cuckoo’s Calling and any other of Rowling’s works.
So – I guess we have to judge it on its own merits! Apparently the reviews before the big reveal were positive, and in general I would agree. The Cuckoo’s Calling (odd title) is an entertaining enough piece of pulp fiction. It concerns the death of a supermodel – concluded by the police as suicide. The brother of the deceased approaches down-and-out detective Cormoran Strike to re-open the case. Cormoran has demons, like every good detective in literature should. He lost a leg in Afghanistan and has suffered a series if personal tragedies. Financially, he is in dire straits, so he takes on the seemingly closed case. After all, he has to pay for his new and surprisingly resourceful temp. Of course, Strike cracks the case, and Robyn the temp is so enthralled by detective work that she turns aside other job offers to remain on staff. This is well set up to be the new ‘buddy cop’ duo – and indeed I read today that Rowling intends to make this a series.
If you don’t expect anything earth-shattering, there is plenty to like here. Strike and Robyn are terrific as a crime solving duo, and the plot is well-paced and not predictable. I’ll pick up any subsequent titles when I fancy a light read.