The Cuckoo’s Calling audiobook by Robert Galbraith, the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling, is without a doubt one of the best books of the year, combining a cast of colorful characters with a compelling narrative. The success of Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a testament to her talent as a writer, and The Cuckoo’s Calling proves that she can cross genres, seamlessly flitting from a magical Young Adult adventure to a gritty, high profile suicide thriller. The regular price for this audio book is $24.99, you can get it free at Audible with discount code when you try the service for 30 days.
The Cuckoo’s Calling follows down-on-his-luck private detective Cormoran Strike in his pursuit to solve an international model’s apparent suicide. When the case is dropped on his lap, Detective Strike, an Afghanistan War vet who lost his leg to a land mine, only has one client and is living in his office – and on top of that, he just ended things with his longterm girlfriend. The case is too good to pass up. John Bristow comes to him, explains that it was his sister, the infamous supermodel Lula “Cuckoo” Landry, who fell to her death several months earlier, and begs Strike to take the case.
In order to solve it, Strike has to navigate a labyrinth of shady businessmen, multimillionaire babes and their doped up, rock star boyfriends and crazy fashion designers – an alien fashion industry world for not only Strike, but many readers as well.
One of the book’s strengths is the characters and their relationships with one another. You can’t help but root for down-on-his-luck Detective Strike. He’s not exactly the quintessential attractive, charming and brooding private eye from ’40s detective films. Instead, readers are introduced to a huge rugby player with a prosthetic leg and a dirty family background. He’s no lady killer, but he’s a truly original character, especially for the genre. His friendship – not romance, which is very refreshing – with his enterprising, sweet and resourceful secretary Robin is sweet and fully formed. Rowling relies on her intuition to flesh out the emotional strengths of her characters, making them seem natural and realistic.
Another thing that caught my attention was that there weren’t any cliffhangers at the end of chapters, a staple of the genre. This made for a steady pace; I didn’t feel like I was being thrown around just so the author could pack a punch every 15 pages.
The only thing that didn’t impress me was Galbraith’s tone, as if the author hasn’t quite found it yet. She doesn’t have quite the punch or textual richness of other mystery writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, but perhaps that is because this is her first foray into crime fiction (although her Harry Potter series certainly had many of its own mysteries). In addition, this is a very straightforward murder mystery, so if you like highbrow postmodern literature, this may not fit your fancy.
The Cuckoo’s Calling audiobook is a solidly entertaining, compelling and fun murder mystery from one of the world’s best contemporary writers. If you like a well-written story with sympathetic characters navigating through the dark world of fashion, don’t miss this bestseller from J.K. Rowling. You can start listening to this 15 hour and 54 minute audio book for free instantly through the latest Audible promotion.