Career of Evil

Written by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)
(A Cormoran Strike novel)  |  Mullholland Books  |  Published October 2015  |  512 pages

His face resembles Beethoven – if that composer had been a boxer with a broken nose, hair like a Brillopad, a monkey-like thatch of chest hair, a missing lower leg, and a belly that hangs (slightly) over his belt.Thus is the scene set for the emergence of romantic hero Cormoran Strike.Not romantic in the style of women’s fiction – few of those fantasy males have hair that led their schoolchums to nickname them ‘pube-head.’ Cormoran is romantic in the Byronic mode, beginning with that limp from the leg amputated in Afghanistan, air of personal dishevelment, and a broken heart . His mother was the late Leda Strike, a famous Supergroupie.  His father is known to be the rock legend Jonny Rokeby, whom Cormoran has met exactly twice in his life and never mentions. He’s a larger than life figure with a broad range of friends and acquaintances, high and low. It’s not every Private Investigator who, without thinking too hard about it, can give the police the names of four different men who might have sent him the sawed-off leg of an unknown, presumably dead, girl. The leg not only signals the existence of a serial killer, but once the newspapers get hold of the story it also pushes Cormoran’s financially shaky business into a crisis. Nobody wants to hire a detective “so intriguingly tied to an unsolved murder.” Actually the recipient of the leg was not Cormoran himself but his assistant-apprentice detective-secretary Robin Ellacott who was expecting the shiny white box to hold camera table favors for her wedding and not a random limb. She is a beautiful strawberry blonde engaged to a handsome and appropriate young accountant who wishes she would find another line of work. She has her own reasons for persevering in a perilous and underpaid job, the latter drawback being of more concern to her fiancé than the former. Robin shines in this book, which is the third in the series.

The subject of repetitions, editing and lack of same often comes up when my friends discuss these books. If you go in for that sort of thing, there is a thorough summation of the Galbraith’s stylistic plusses and minuses in the Amazon review titled “Less Cowbell” written by JB on October 29,2015. I take these matters seriously when working, reading for pleasure not so much. All I can tell you is the repetitions are there – if you can’t get past it better read something else. The author is a teller of big, shaggy, messy, delicious stories and I for one can’t resist him/her and don’t want to. Can’t wait for number 4.

NOTE: Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) can be found under Magpie Recommends.

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