Title: Career of Evil
Author: Robert Galbraith
Page Count/Review Word Count: 584
This is the third book in Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Srike series, a set of detective novels which follow the exploits of a private detective and his assistant as they investigate crimes in the British capital. Robert Galbraith is, of course, the pseudonym for J. K. Rowling, and I can totally understand why she’d use a pen name – this is so different to the Harry Potter series that by writing under a pseudonym, even once that pseudonym has been revealed, she draws a line between the two series, and that’s important.
Now, I’ll admit here that I’ve approached this series in a strange way – I read The Cuckoo’s Calling, the first book of the series, in one sitting, while I was reading for 24-hours straight to raise money for Dyslexia Action. I enjoyed it, but I was never sure whether it was purely because I marathoned my way through it.
This book, though, took me three or four days to get through it, and the interesting thing is that I did actually find it difficult to put it down. This is despite accidentally skipping the second book in the series, purely because I haven’t seen a copy in the charity shops that I trawl for books. But it worked just as well as a standalone, even if it ends on something of a cliffhanger. That’s doubly annoying because I’m pretty sure that the fourth book in the series is yet to be released.
So, the story. In this book, private investigator Cormoran Strike is stirred into action after his assistant, Robin, receives a leg in the post. The leg belongs to a young woman, and Strike immediately finds himself investigating a couple of suspects – faces from the past, all of them with a grudge against him for some reason or another.
Because of that, the book lets us see a little bit more of the back story, which helps to flesh Strike out as a fully-developed character. He’s always been believable, but here we get to see how the events of his past have made him into the character he is today, and all of this is happening at the same time as Robin is facing a crisis, too. At the start of the series, she’d just got engaged, but this book is all about the arrival of the wedding. As you can imagine, it’s pretty difficult for her to concentrate on the wedding when she’s just received a leg in the post, especially when she starts being followed.
Interestingly, we also get a glimpse into the killer’s mind, thanks to occasional chapters that are dedicated to his point of view. He’s obsessed with Blue Oyster Cult, and the band plays into the story line – their lyrics are also quoted at the top of the chapters, except for the ones which follow the killer. I’m sure that’s deliberate, but I can’t really figure out why.
Overall then, if you like a good thriller with a little bit of a back story thrown in there, you’re going to enjoy this. That said, with a series like this, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start at the beginning – with The Cuckoo’s Calling – and work your way along. So with that in mind, you’re probably not going to want to read this until you’ve read the other two. See how quickly you can read the whole series