- Series: A Cormoran Strike Novel
- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Mulholland Books; Reprint edition (April 19, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316349895
- ISBN-13: 978-0316349895
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3,098 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Career of Evil (A Cormoran Strike Novel) Paperback – April 19, 2016
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"Career of Evil is the third--and best--novel in the engaging Cormoran Strike private detective series. . . . [Galbraith has] invented a serial killer for the ages, one who chills us from the book's grim but riveting opening. . . . This perfectly paced mystery is packed with surprises, all of which play out with flawless crime-fiction logic."―Jocelyn McClurg,
"Hugely entertaining . . . This gifted storyteller has taken full command of the new turf. . . . Career of Evil succeeds powerfully on its own terms."―Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Tribune
"Strike and Robin are just as magnetic as ever."―Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
"Another triumph . . . Its darkness is mitigated by its sparkling protagonists."―Kim Hubbard, People
About the Author
Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, bestselling author of the Harry Potter series and The Casual Vacancy. Career of Evil is the third book in the highly acclaimed Cormoran Strike crime fiction series. The Cuckoo's Calling was published in 2013 and The Silkworm in 2014.
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- Robin, one of the most interesting and likable characters JKR has ever created, co-stars in the novel and her identity is superbly defined
- Strike's backstory is addressed in more detail, and it's very compelling
- The settings are vividly depicted, with excellent descriptions of sites all over seedy and posh London and Northern England
- Heavy topics like rape, child abuse, and mental illness are thoughtfully considered and woven into the narrative without being overly preachy
- The relationship between Robin and Strike continues to develop in a complex, unpredictable way
- The dialog is consistently excellent and realistic
- Much less emphasis on Strike's disability, which plagued the last novel
- The reveal, unlike the first two novels, is not an endless explanatory monologue -- it's thankfully short and sweet
**These positives far outweigh the following negatives, definitely making Career of Evil a worthwhile read. Nevertheless...
- Many of the characters are one-dimensional. While Strike and Robin are increasingly depicted as complicated, multifaceted protagonists, most others are portrayed without any significant depth. The bad guys are REALLY bad; the victims are hopelessly innocent, others just occupy space. Some, like Matthew and Whittaker, are cartoonishly described and Detective Carver is, to put it bluntly, Vernon Dursely
- Someone needs to pluck up the courage and let the author know she needs an editor. The book is downright plodding at times.
- The basic premise of the plot is forced and improbable (BIID? Really?)
- Each chapter leads with lyrics from a Blue Oyster Cult song. These lines figure into the story (sort of), but this silly gimmick gets old fast
- The violence (and there is quite a lot) is gratuitously over the top, as if JKR is determined to identify herself as an adult writer
- The comic element featured in the first two novels is largely absent in the third
- The book features intermittent passages shown from the killer's perspective which are eye-rollingly bad. I hate to say that but it's true. Think of every serial killer you've ever seen in a movie or read about in a book, and that's the stereotype you get -- right down to the killer's referring to a woman as "It" a la Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs. These sections are so subpar, so cliched, and so unimaginative that it's hard to believe that JKR wrote them. I suppose they are included to give the narrative an additional angle but, rather than compliment the story's trajectory, they dumb it down.
Despite its drawbacks, Career of Evil is a very good read. Slow at times, but enjoyable. As said above, the positives outweigh the negatives. In particular, the maturing of Robin's and Strike's characters is a leap forward. I wouldn't be surprised if this book is regarded as the most popular one in the series so far, although the hyper-violent yet cliched serial killer may be off-putting to some.
The drama starts when a mysterious package arrives at Strike's agency. Instantly he knows that it's personal, and there are plenty of skeletons in his closet to make a list of suspects. The fact that the package was addressed to Robin is enough for him (and me) to worry for her safety. I know I couldn't cope if something bad happened to Robin.
Having been to Edinburgh and its famous castle a number of times, I liked how part of the plot was set there. It was easy to picture Strike limping his way on the cobblestones. I was glad to see RG (JK) throw his/her hometown into the mix.
Robin is quite the focus. Her own insecurities, confusing relationships, wedding preparation, and being the target of a nutcase are described brilliantly. In the midst of the main plot, and working on other cases, she always feels that she needs to prove herself. Her inner voice is convinced it knows what Strike is thinking, but is usually way off the mark. IMO she just needs to chill, relax and be confident. She doesn't give herself enough credit.
The story coasts along in such an engaging way. Each clue is investigated and analyzed. The puzzle slowly but surely builds toward a solution. Strike and Robin have some tough times too. The stresses of life and work culminate in an ultimatum between them. Is she a real partner in the agency, or not? The tension is building. Robin is keen as ever, but Strike worries for her safety
The plot ramps up. The baddie is a sicko. The worst of the worst. In fact, every suspect in the book is a lowlife. I'm not going into details of what they get up to, but there is some pretty heavy stuff that will make your stomach turn. RG/JK is never one to shy away from including such detail.
There's plenty going on as the tension filled suspense heads to an exciting climax. Strike has a light bulb moment, which is kept just out of our reach until the right time for it to be revealed. If there was anything in this book that I didn't like, it would be how things panned out for Robin. I wanted her more involved, but that's as much detail I'm prepared to share.
In a nutshell
It's another great case for Cormoran and Robin. There are plenty of shady suspects, simmering suspense and a web of great sub plots.
It's another winner.
Note: I don't claim to be a pro-reviewer, I am a reader. My reviews are based on my personal thoughts around the story that the book is trying to tell. I try to focus on the story (which is the reason I read) rather than dissect the book and pass comment on typos, writing style or structure.
I would LOVE to see these turned into series of movies, or even a TV series. I think this has the potential to be as big a success as the Harry Potter series, though obviously for a more mature audience. However, I also loved the Harry Potter series, and I'm obviously not the target demographic for those novels. Given the more "adult" nature of the subject matter of these books, I completely understand the reasoning behind writing with a pseudonym to delay their discovery by the core audience of the Harry Potter series.
I simply could not read these fast enough to suit me, and much like the Harry Potter series, I feel a bit lost in the wind with no more story read at this point... but I'm hopeful that another is in the works for this series