by Robert Galbraith
J.K. Rowling – er, I mean Robert Galbraith – is hitting her/his stride in the detective/crime novel. Career of Evil is the third installment in the Cormoran Strike crime series, and I loved it.
A man is on the loose in London, murdering and hacking women to pieces. Career of Evil opens as a woman’s severed leg is delivered to Strike’s office, addressed to his partner, Robin. Whomever the killer is has Robin in his sights, and seems determined to ruin Strike’s business and reputation by attempting to direct suspicion at him for the grisly crimes. What ensues is, similar to Galbraith’s previous two Cormoran Strike novels, Strike and Robin following obscure leads and hunches trying to catch the killer, while the police department bungles the official investigation.
Meanwhile, Robin becomes more and more conflicted about her upcoming nuptials to her handsome but jealous and condescending fiance, Matthew. To complicate matters further, Robin’s and Strike’s working relationship continues to evolve, and there are now, not surprisingly, growing feelings of affection on the part of each of them.
Despite the grisly subject matter that actually gave me nightmares at least once while I was listening to the audio version (which is excellent, by the way; check it out on Audible), I thoroughly enjoyed this whodunnit. I was pretty sure I had the identity of the killer nailed as soon as he was introduced, but it was still fun to watch the clues unfold. As for Cormoran and Robin, it’s of course predictable that when there are a male and a female lead character, certain feelings will develop between the two. However, Galbraith/Rowling is doing a superb job of demonstrating restraint in the evolution of that relationship, and not allowing it to overpower the story.
This is the best of the series thus far. I’ve become pretty invested in the characters now, and felt that familiar twinge of sadness and disappointment common to bibliophiles when the last page of a much enjoyed book comes to an end. I want more! I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the next installment.