Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) – Robert Galbraith
I am so disappointed that I didn’t enjoy this more because it obviously gained a good reception from everyone else who’s read it with its staggering average of 4.22 stars on Goodreads. I support J.K Rowling so much and there wasn’t anything I found inherently bad about the novel nor were there any major problems that arose but I just knew that I couldn’t justify rating it any higher than 2 stars. There are some positives though (which I’ll discuss) but, all in all, a rather dissatisfying novel for me.
Career of Evil is the third installment in the Cormoran Strike crime series that is written by J.K Rowling, under the pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. The general jist of the series is that we have a private detective, Cormoran Strike, and his assistant, Robin, who work together in solving crimes with the particular focus of this novel on a case that started with Robin being a sent a severed leg at the office. Strike has an idea of three men who he thinks could be behind it, all with their different reasons to want to cause him trouble: Whittaker, Laing and Brockbank. Slowly (and I mean slowly), Strike and Robin discover more about each of them and their alibis as the case becomes progressively more complicated and elaborate.
So, as I mentioned above, this book was slow. It was tedious and boring at times. For someone who only rarely dabbles into the crime genre, I need it to be fast-paced to keep me going but I felt like the story was really lacking that. There were multiple occasions where either Strike or Robin were drifting away from the case, losing interest as their detective skills were slow to produce any tangible results. The frustration they felt towards their limited success was realistic, of course, but not exactly thrilling to read so I tended to drift in and out of certain scenes. Together they visited lots of locations in search of anything or anybody who might help to give them a lead on one of their three suspects but these trips were hardly generating substantial information. I think my favourite excursion was when Robin impersonated a compensation lawyer called Valentia Hall to retrieve information about Brockbank from his sister, Holly, mainly because it was quite amusing to see Robin think with a mind very different to hers. One of the absolute best parts to the novel though was the pub scene where drunk Robin made herself vulnerable to Strike in the exact same way he did in the previous novel which brought them closer together as a team. Alongside this main case, Strike had two others, Mad Dad and Platinum, but they served more as a way of showing how Strike earned an income rather than adding any real substance to the story.
What I did like about the book were the unveiling on the Strike’s and Robin’s backstories. Up until this novel, I had felt like Robin was a very mundane, weak character but her past revealed a lot about why she is the way that she is now thus allowing me to form a new sense of respect for her. However, she remains to be naive and can be too impulsive at times which was quite frustrating. For example, nearing the end of the book, Robin defies her directions from Strike which jeopardized the security of the business as well as her own life yet she failed to understand that Strike was not belittling her, all he is ever doing is looking out for her and her safety.
Another part to the book that was quite interesting was that, every few chapters, we’d focus on the criminal. His thought processes were vivid, graphic and down-right eerie but I liked that. I liked that he nicknamed people, e.g. Robin as ‘The Secretary’, because it helped contribute to their detachment and cruelty that allowed them to commit such ungodly crimes. The thirst to exploit the vulnerable women he met and avenge Strike was startlingly intense which made it one of the greatest elements to the book.
There were a few climaxes in the book where I thought real progress was being made but it was always undermined by something that twisted the case more; let’s just say there’s more than one severed limb that makes its way into Robin’s possession. Likewise, the relationship between Strike and Robin was challenged frequently throughout the novel and this made the weird thoughts they had about one another very unnatural. Every now and again, one of them would think about the attractiveness of the other or would have strange internal interest in eachothers’ romantic relationships so, while I do understand that their circumstances mean their partnership was beyond the pleasantries of a typical work relationship, I found the thoughts they had about one another were slightly cringey (at one point in my notes, I had written, ‘OMG does Strike like Robin?! Ugh I hope not’ if that’s any indication). Robin’s relationship with her fiance, Matthew, has always cropped up in these books, but it wasn’t until Career of Evil that something of real interest emerged from their frequent spats. Although I rarely enjoy fixating on love interests, with there being almost non-existent action in the rest of the book, I actually quite liked following their ups and downs.
The ending was awful too, if I’m completely honest. Near enough, nothing happened in the story until the final 20 pages where the crime was solved, completely rushed and out-of-the-blue while the final wedding scene was the absolute worst. It was so ridiculously cheesy and pointless which has, unfortunately, seriously tinged my overall view on the book. I did, nevertheless, love the first two books so I would thoroughly recommend the series in that regard because crime isn’t my typical genre, nor do I ever think it will be, but J.K Rowling manages to ease you in at a beginners level. If you tend to devour your crime novels, I would probably give this series a miss because I don’t think it brings a lot to the table on that front, neither should you enter the series expecting another Harry Potter because you’ll be disappointed as well. I’m not sure whether I’ll give the fourth one a go after my reaction to this one but hey, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it!
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A murder mystery ✓
Happy Reading Bookworms!