When I read the Harry Potter series the third book, Prisoner of Azkaban, was my favorite. That was because it was where I thought J.K. Rowling hit her stride in the story and everything really got moving. After reading Career of Evil, I have the same feeling about the Cormoran Strike series. This book was exciting and really gave the characters truth depth.
The book starts when Robin, Strike’s partner and secretary, takes in a package with a severed leg inside. Almost at once Strike has three suspects that he believes would do something like this to him. Three men that he has had encounters with in the past, all of them disturbed and evil in their own ways. The story surrounds Strike and Robin hunting down these men and trying to figure out who would have done something so gruesome. The investigation gets disturbing at times, but the book, as a whole, really gave a greater depth to the characters.
After reading the summary, I thought this book was going to be a lot about Strike. The three suspects are all people he has encountered in his past. Each one has a vendetta against him for various reasons. I thought we were going to get an extensive look into Strike’s past. Instead, we got a better idea of who Robin is.
This book was really Robins’ book. We learn about Robin’s past, the past that created a fighting spirit inside of her. Robin hasn’t had an easy life. In college something happened that nearly destroyed her life. Robin found a way to fight her way back from that and overcome it. Because of it, she is now someone who doesn’t back down easily.
Becoming a detective has always been a dream of Robin’s. She ended up at Strike’s office because of a temp placement, but she was meant to be there. Until that point, Robin didn’t believe she would ever be able to have the life she wanted. Then she met Strike and we see that she grabbed a hold of her dream again and she is not going to let go easily.
We see that Robin has a moral compass that will not allow her to walk away from people in need. She makes a decision in this book that helps someone but ultimately hurts her. The result knocks her down a peg, but she doesn’t give up. Robin is strong and she will not walk away from a fight easily.
Robin is someone whose life has kicked her around. She has been hurt in ways many can’t recover from. While she has been knocked down she has found a way to get back to her feet and stand strong. The world tried to take away her hopes and dreams, but she has fought and gotten them back. She has fought hard to overcome her past and we see throughout this novel the lengths she will go to not go back to that time and place.
The insight into Robin’s character was juxtaposed with a deep look into the mind of the man who committed the crime. We haven’t had this before from these novels. We got short chapters where the killer rambled on, sometimes getting quite disturbing. But it gave me a better idea of what was going on.
The insight was important to this book. It helped to center what was going on and why. It gave us an idea of what the killer was doing and why. It was easier to understand Strike’s and Robin’s decisions when we got to see what the killer wanted to do. I liked this aspect because it gave us a different viewpoint in order to compare Robins’ and Strike’s actions and decisions against.
This was a much more harsh book than the previous two. There were some moments that were difficult to read or imagine. But Rowling tied the investigation well into the lives of Strike and Robin. We got a deeper appreciation and sympathy for the two main characters.This story grew their relationship with each other and the surrounding characters. I am eager to see where this series is going to go next.