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Career of Evil (A Cormoran Strike Novel) Hardcover – October 20, 2015
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"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
"A refreshing change to the genre . . . Every bit as impressive as [The Cuckoo's Calling] . . . Let's hope the sardonic Cormoran Strike is here to stay."―Barry Forshaw, Independent [UK]
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As for the plot--I usually manage to finish most books but simply could not keep reading this one. It was too tedious. The lead characters were so predictable, the suspects so cardboard, the crime details so gross, that I really had no interest in keeping on reading about any of it. I really didn't care who the murderer was. The victim didn't seem to feature at all, but was an after thought. Strike and Robyn were dull and duller, and the book was overly long and repetitive with no thread running through it to keep one's interest. Perhaps the only thread was whether Robyn would actually marry her fiance, whom we are supposed to hate for some reason even though he is less manipulative and exploitative of others than Strike who we are supposed to admire for being such a maverick and for having turned down his famous father's money. Yawn.... Wont read any more of these.
And I will say that I found Robin's college backstory in really bad taste. Such a pointless addition and IDK if it was an attempt to make us more sympathetic with her or whatever but it was just distasteful.
So I should have liked this book best. But despite her occasional flashes of cleverness, resourcefulness and determination, Robin mostly came across as fretful about her job and wishy-washy about her personal relationships. And Cormoran, in trying to investigate multiple suspects all at the same time, kept getting described as tired or exhausted.
The whole plot of this book seems more personal than the other two books as the antagonist’s targets are Cormoran and Robin. So to the extent the reader likes the Cormoran and Robin characters, the reader’s concern is greater and so the tension is higher, too. But I wanted to enjoy these two characters and their sleuthing (rather than mostly fear for their safety). So this wasn’t the right book for me.
But who am I kidding. We all know who the author is. So if you read the first two books, you’ll probably read this one too. And now there’s a fourth book in the series (“Lethal White”) – and I’ll probably read that one too (though not right away).
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
Top international reviews
This is a masterclass in writing detective fiction. Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott work off each other so well. Robin has established herself as Strike’s equivalent when it comes to investigating misdemeanours, the day-to-day stuff in running a private detective agency. Strike has sent her on surveillance and counter-surveillance courses and Robin is fairly handy when it comes to self defence. Just as well…
A package arrives at the office in Denmark Street, addressed to Robin. It contains a woman’s severed leg and this is where the horror begins. Someone is out to ruin Strike’s career and reputation. There are persons in Strike’s past who he considers capable of such brutality and - there they are - listed in plain sight. More fiendish acts occur and Strike’s business is close to insolvency as clients turn away as his reputation is further damaged.
The time comes when Robin’s and Strike’s personal lives become intertwined. Will Robin marry Matthew? Will Strike stay with Elin? Will he manage to keep Robin out of harms way as it appears that the killer is targeting her?
Career Of Evil is a terrific read full of twists and turns and unexpected developments. And the ending leaves the reader balanced on a cliff edge. Where are we going from here? How much longer before #4 is published?!
The background drama - the development of Strike and Robin's relationship, the rolling context of how the crime has affected the business, the day-to-day cases that are their bread and butter, and of course the massive investment in Robin's character itself - wasn't perfect in its execution but it was human, and it felt real enough that I genuinely believe the book would be an empty shell without it.
Perhaps it's because I came to Career of Evil completely fresh - no BBC dramatisation to draw upon for inspiration or to remember the crux of the case from - but I found myself enrapt from start to end (and wondering a little what I shall read now that can possibility make my heart race until the next novel is released).
So I don't know how it ended which is a shame as I really like Strike and his female assistant and liked to hear about their exploits and their personal dramas. Very good character description and development.
I think 'JK Galbraith' would do well to write a story which doesn't focus on such sick violence against young women.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a thrilling, realistic, detective novel. Having read all 3 books in the series so far, can't wait to download and read book No 4, Lethal White.
I have also watched the TV series which has been equally as great as the books. Waiting for the next TV programmes in the series to start again.
Please keep them coming Robert Galbraith!
The plot is well laid out and easy to follow with a murder being committed and a number of possible suspects created. Galbraith develops a seedy bunch of potential suspects all of whom fit the profile of the murderer. While on the trail of these people, Strike and Robin uncover a dark, malevolent past with all of them harbouring a hatred for Strike.
At times the story is tense, gripping, funny, grisly and extremely violent. It was a very difficult book to put down and very easy to pick up.
I am looking forward to the next in the series.
There were massive plot holes. Also not enough people speaking out about the paedophile. Why was it left to Robin to act?
Rowling is very simplistic in her characterisation. On the one hand, Mathew is safe, ergo Robin must marry him. Pretty shallow of an otherwise strong, independent woman.
On the other hand, Mathew is a complete dick, controlling Robin by deleting Cormarans messages. Acting out of petty jealousy and a desire to have the perfect 50's wife.
If I was Robin, I would have kicked him to the kerb, after his pathetic cheating. Well, Rowling thinks it's fine. After all, "My girlfriend was raped and now I'm not getting any. So, obviously I'm going to look elsewhere" Duh. Clearly JK has no idea of the impact this has on a woman.
Stick with magicians and imaginary characters.!!! Look how quick you were to defend Johnny Depp against domestic abuse. You're a traitor to women, Rowling. A disgrace!
The crime plot in this instalment in the series is a deeply personal one: the killer, from whose point of view several chapters unfold, is obsessively stalking Robin and appears to have a longstanding grudge against Strike, who famously lost a leg during his military career – plus, the leg comes with a note quoting lyrics by Blue Öyster Cult, the favourite band of Strike’s dead, super-groupie mother. But of course, this is Strike we’re talking about. When asked to think who might hate him enough to send parts of a corpse to his office, he immediately thinks of not just one suspect, but four. Which of them could be the culprit? Who did the leg belong to? And how will the killer up his game?
Career Of Evil is certainly the darkest in the Cormoran Strike series so far. The body count is high and all three suspects are sadistic misogynists – as you’d expect, the chapters from the anonymous killer are particularly grisly and disturbing. As a horror reader, I have no issue with gore, but the killer’s-eye sections did become a little repetitive in their gruesomeness. Also a little repetitive are some of the procedural elements of the action: the investigation is surveillance-heavy, so there’s an awful lot of Strike and Robin following people who are actually not doing a great deal. Other than that, however, the plot is a satisfying one with a clever and wholly unexpected twist, and the characters are, as always in Robert Galbraith’s/JK Rowling’s writing, exceptionally vivid and astutely observed.
The Robert Galbraith books are as much about Strike and Robin, and their complex friendship, as they are about crime, and it's fair to say that the road for them is a bumpy one in this instalment. Interestingly, Robin's fiancé Matthew, who was dull but largely well-meaning in The Cuckoo's Calling and then somewhat petulant in The Silkworm, is increasingly needy and controlling in Career Of Evil.
Like all JK Rowling's writing, whatever the pen name, Career Of Evil is crammed with detail, which some readers may find tiresome, but which appeals a great deal to me in a crime novel, where every observation could be clue and specifics count. Despite the heavily descriptive style, at no point did I feel the book was proceeding too slowly, and the last few chapters are a nailbiting race against time, which despite the satisfying resolution of the whodunnit plot, will almost certainly leave you feeling impatient for book four.
My only worry now is how I'm going to wait for the next one. The latest Cormoran Strike book was as nail-bitingly gripping as the previous two - maybe even more so - and JK clearly had a lot of fun writing it. Cormoran and Robin's characters, as well as their undeniably compelling chemistry, have developed brilliantly throughout the books. Their professional relationship has a definite edge by this point in the series, but it's not easy to guess where JK is taking their storyline, and that only makes it more gripping.
The story kicks off with a gruesome parcel for Robin - a woman's leg. Cormoran can think of not one but four possible suspects in the case, and as the dismembered corpse is found it becomes chillingly obvious that the killer's motives are personal. The large cast of suspects, all of which are cleverly drawn, are each given enough time to make them a plausible murderer in Strike and Robin's hunt for the modern Jack the Ripper. The addition of the personal element, the killer's grudge against Strike, drew me in even further, but I didn't figure out the conclusion ahead of time, which is always a huge plus in a thriller.
Career of Evil is by turns funny, chilling and heart-wrenching. I don't think I can think of a single criticism. It's my favourite book this year and I'm already obsessively recommending it to anyone who hasn't already stayed up all night tearing through it.
I won't rehash the blurb just give my opinion and I have to say I really like this series:
Robin and Strike both change, grow, and develop. The character development is really well handled.
The gruesome elements are so well integrated they seem entirely believable and lack any feeling of excess, and the story is told with dexterity and is very engaging.
In short Read the blurb and go for it - a very good read and listen as I switched between reading and whispersync listening for this one. the narration is really good on the audio and keeps the listeners interest as much as the book does.