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The Books I Have Loved Before

Updated on February 8, 2017

Discovering The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith, A Review

One of the wonderful things about owning a Kindle is that you can discover a wealth of previously unknown works through the magic of a $1.99 sale. On one such impulse buying sprees, I discovered a line of books by a very well known author, writing under a pseudonym.

J. K. Rowling, better known for her line of Harry Potter books, once wrote a series of detective novels based in London, under the name Robert Galbraith. Whether she had done this before or after the Potter fame is unknown to me at the moment, but the stories definitely speak for themselves.

In the first book, The Cuckoo's Calling, we meet the main character, Cormoran Strike, a former soldier and policeman, now a private detective. He is the essence of the everyman, struggling to be independent and self-sufficient in a world where connections mean everything. Recently separated from a fiery and intense love, Cormoran finds himself adrift, alone and forced to live in his detective office while he hopes to get his business off the ground in a successful way.

Hired to investigate the death of a beloved superstar by her grieving family, he is thrown into a world that he has intentional ignored for years, having dealt with his rumored father's fame long ago, and found it uninteresting to say the least. Thankfully, his latest temp secretary turns out to be a godsend, and not only helps him maneuver the world of celebrities without imploding, but turns out to be the perfect partner for a struggling private eye.

One of the things I personally loved about this book, beyond the story, was the attention to detail evident in the draft. The main character, Cormoran, is also disabled, having lost a leg in combat. The detail the author addresses in the day-to-day struggles of living with a prosthetic limb is refreshing, and not simply glossed over as other authors have done. The discomforts, the pain, and the physical limitations have been lovingly rendered here, showing perhaps a personal knowledge, and at least deep research into the subject. From personal knowledge of my own, this realistic level of detail will forever endear this character to me, and I look forward to delving into the other works in this series.

If you enjoy detective mysteries of the noir sort, this story is for you. As a longtime fan of Elmore Leonard and Dashiel Hammett, this novel struck just the right and familiar chord for me. Fast paced, and skillfully written, this is a bit of fresh air for a long forgotten genre. I heartily recommend it to readers that like a bit of gritty crime in their reading lists.


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