Into every crime fiction reader's life something like THE CUCKOO'S CALLING should sneak. Quietly delivered to the front door, unheralded (apart from a blurb comment from Val McDermid that could make you sit up and pay attention), decorated with a nicely atmospheric cover, with a blurb that doesn't quite telegraph exactly what is about to happen.
But you know it when it is happening. A feeling that this is exactly the sort of book that you've been looking for. It's the sort of book that makes you start to resent the need for sleep, and not regret ignored chores for one second.
Part of what makes this such a fantastic book is the characters. The central private detective Cormoran Strike comes from the school of lone wolves, but very current day. He's an injured war veteran, a recently ex-fiancé, struggling businessman, living in his office after what seems like the final split from his volatile ex. His temporary help in the office, Robin, is surprisingly normal, a country girl come to the city, she's efficient, a self-starter who enjoys the difference of working for a PI. So much so, that she doesn't seem all that keen to take on a more stable, full time job even though her buttoned down boyfriend thinks she should.
There's a lot more background to both of them, but it's woven into the story of an investigation triggered when a brother comes to Strike for help after the fall off a balcony of a troubled, very famous model is called a suicide.
Which leads to the other part that makes THE CUCKOO'S CALLING such a fantastic book. It's a terrific plot. Twisty, unexpected, littered with possibilities and alternatives, it's such an intriguing case. There's such a contrast between the lives of the rich and famous, and those less materially fortunate who look into their lives. There's the contrast between famous for not a lot, and injured and maimed for an awful lot. There's also great humanity and touching complications in the relationship between Strike and Robin, Robin and her boyfriend, Strike and just about everybody he comes across.
It's also a plot that leads to a conclusion that, I didn't see coming, but when it arrived, made complete sense.
There's really only one problem with books as good as THE CUCKOO'S CALLING. Waiting for the next one in the series. It's hard not to whinge about the waiting.