The Cuckoo's Calling
When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case. Strike is a war veteran - wounded both physically and psychologically - and his life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model's complex world, the darker things get - and the closer he gets to terrible danger.
Reviewed on 21st July 2013
Once the truth about the book's author was revealed I got my hands on a copy as soon as I could, and it doesn't disappoint. Robin's latest temping assignment is her dream job, working for Cormoran Strike, a private detective hired to prove a suicide was in fact murder.
The style of writing is familiar and relaxing, though I doubt I would have been able to guess the secret identity of the author. The whole cast of characters is one of the best I've read about for a long time, with every single one seeming to be thoroughly defined and individual, and each are given sufficient page-time to shine.
The use of two main characters is an interesting twist - at the start I thought it would be more like the tradition of Sherlock Homes or Hercule Poirot stories, where the narrative is from a secondary point of view, but the focus quickly shifts to the detective himself. I was a little disappointed that Robin didn't feature even more, as she seemed like a strong enough character to have been able to carry more of the narrative.
The plot is strong, and reminded me of Christopher Brookmyre's writing for some reason, though it's not particularly similar. There's not a lot that's new for the genre, but unlike a lot of 'serious' crime novels the writing seemed approachable and less formal - the book could appeal to anyone, not just fans of crime novels.
Overall though it didn't quite stand out enough for me to give five stars. I didn't get the feeling of unputdownableness that sometimes strike me in a book, and it didn't excite me as much as others have done recently. I did enjoy it though and hope that this is the beginning of a series that I can enjoy for years to come.