I’m late to the party here, but I’m glad I finally gave the Cormoran Strike books a try! I just finished the first in the series, The Cuckoo’s Calling.
This novel introduces us to Cormoran Strike, a wounded veteran turned private detective. He’s just broken up with is girlfriend and is living in his office, which he can already barely afford. He’s also got a temporary secretary named Robin, whose services he also cannot afford.
Strike takes the case of Lula Landry, a supermodel who fell to her death from her balcony months earlier. Her brother is convinced it was murder, and wants Strike to prove it. Soon the detective and Robin are drawn into the world of celebrity and wealth, where digging up the truth turns out to be exceedingly difficult.
I love Galbraith’s use of language. The names all have an almost Dickensian ring to them, and the descriptions are clever and evocative. The settings are very richly described, too–the world-building of London and of Strike’s dingy little office are both great. Given the subjects of fame and celebrity, there’s a lot of social commentary going on here as well, and it works as another level to the investigation.
Strike is a fun character. He’s very much the damaged PI type, with a difficult childhood, personal trauma, and relationship problems. Yet he also comes across as a decent, intelligent, and generally kind man who is dogged in his pursuit of the truth. Robin, playing a Girl Friday kind of role, is also great–she’s torn between her disapproving fiance and her love of the excitement of solving a crime. She proves herself very talented at sleuthing, too. The partnership that builds between Strike and Robin is very nicely portrayed, and they make a great team.
The Cuckoo’s Calling is fun, compelling, and a great crime story filled with multiple layers and entertaining characters. I’m looking forward to reading the rest! If you like Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie novels, you might like these, too.
Robert Galbraith is J.K. Rowling. Just in case anyone hadn’t heard that yet.