This year I told myself to read outside of the romance genre to avoid burnouts. After two weeks of a virus a a couple of months ago I found myself unable to read my ebooks. Frustrated, I realised it would be the perfect time to get back into audiobooks. I was initially worried because my attention can be scattered at the best of times. But to my surprise, I ended up glomming entire audiobooks one after the other.
The Cuckoo’s Calling narrator and actor, Robert Glenister, known for his role in the BBC series, Hustle, was fantastic. It’s been a good couple of years since I read a mystery/crime book without any romantic elements. Glenister’s excellent storytelling and his accents had me sucked into the story from the very beginning with the white snowy street where Lula Landry’s broken body was lying.
Cormoran Strike was a former Special Branch Investigator in the army turned Private Investigator. He left after his right leg was blown off after a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. Strike could have stayed on in the army (they’d wanted him to) but he decided it was the right time to leave. But Strike’s life at the beginning of the novel was in a mess. He’d had split up with Charlotte, his fiancé, was swimming in debt, and had a business with no paying clients–until the brother of his deceased childhood friend came to his office and asked to investigate the suicide of his famous supermodel sister, Lula Landry.
Robert Galbraith had a wonderful way of characterisation (that comes as no surprise. heh) and I loved Strike, the overweight pube-like, curly-haired, hairy giant. Which again is down to how the narrator, Glenister, portrayed him, especially the burr of the cornish accent which I loved. Strike was also flawed and did I mention I loved his characterisation? He’s overweight and doesn’t take care of himself, including his leg which left him struggling physically at times. His family history also featured a tragic story involving his abusive upbringing and then the death of his groupie mother. Strike, being the illegitimate son of a very famous rock star, was emotionally closed off and his relationship with his sister and her family is quite distant. Strike was also reeling from the breakup of his relationship with a women for over 16 years. But there was a moment that Strike hooked up with a supermodel that made me laugh and was quite humorous.
The other protagonist in this series is Robin, hailing from Yorkshire. From their very first meeting, Robin arrived in Strike’s life with something of a painful thud. She was a twenty-six year old temp secretary who through her own brilliance and intuition became Strike’s working partner. I adored Robin. I have such a crush on her. While Strike had seen everything imaginable in his career as a special investigator, Robin brought lightness, hope, kindness and an energy that made their burgeoning partnership so enthralling. I also dislike her fiancé, Matthew, a lot, who belittles her and doesn’t support her in her new job.
The mystery was top-notch that kept me guessing until the very end. Strike went to places that the police didn’t and showed through his thoroughness and clinical ways why the army wanted to keep him on. The Cuckoo’s Calling is not a fast-paced mystery novel. A lot of the detective work was character interviews conducted by Strike. Those interviews gave so many pictures of Lula Landry’s life of the rich and famous, which showed a flawed young woman with a lot of vulnerabilities. I thought I knew who her killer was but the end left me going, ohhhh, that was sneaky.
All in all this was a fantastic mystery novel and I’ll be reviewing the next two audiobooks in this series. I’m so happy I read this series in audiobook form because I think the immense talent of Robert Glenister really brought the story to life.
I give The Cuckoo’s Calling an A.