Cormoran Strike is a man of many definitions. He is the illegitimate son of a British pop icon. He is a survivor of an Afghanistan land mine. He is the possessor of an artificial leg (courtesy of the mine), and its use gives him almost constant pain.
Lately, he is a spectacularly unsuccessful private detective who, having recently left his girlfriend, has been reduced to living in his London office space. Then, fate gives him a break. Two breaks, actually. He hires a secretary - a temp whose stay is supposed to be short because he can't afford her - and he receives a new case. The brother of a supermodel who, the world and the police assume, committed suicide, is convinced that his sister did no such thing. Cormoran has to find the murderer, if there is one.
The short-term secretary, Robin Elacott, discovers that she not only loves the sleuthing business but she is also very good at it. With her help, Cormoran starts his search.
The Cuckoo's Calling, had it been written in the 1930's, would have been termed a hard-boiled detective novel, and the movie version would have starred Humphrey Bogart (in shoes with lifts) and Carol Lombard. The novel is the polar opposite of the fantasies and magical realism popular today. Cormoran Strike, the down-on-his-luck detective, is the antithesis of Harry Potter. Well, that's odd! The fact is, Robert Galbraith is an alias for the author, J. K. Rowling, Cormoran and Harry were created by the same person!
Cormoran is what Harry would call a muggle. He doesn't have a wand or an invisibility cape. He conducts long, painstaking interviews of those who knew and loved or hated “Cockoo” Landry (the recently deceased model), her superstar, druggie boyfriend, her gorgeous best friend who is also a supermodel, an over-the-top fashion designer and assorted disreputable relatives. In spite of the fact that Cormoran's methods can be considered tedious, the novel is difficult to put down.
Another stand-out character is the city of London in all its glitter and all it's grime. Cormoran and Robin traverse all of it, and in the process, the reader gets a complete tour.
To learn more about this and other books, visit the Boulder City Library at 701 Adams Boulevard, 293-1281, www.bouldercitylibrary.org