Robin walks down the aisle and marries Matthew, but no one could call it a happy marriage. Strike is riding high after his last case that put him in the spotlight and finally gave him the chance to create a successful business. Though he isn’t exactly happy with his own personal life.
Billy, a mentally ill man, walks in and throws the pair of them into a mystery that wraps up an entire family. Affairs, unwanted children, possible murders and much more take theses two through a mystery that makes them not only question who is truthful in the case but in their own lives.
I don’t read this series for the mystery and detective elements. I read it for the personal stories of Strike and Robin. These two characters keep me coming back to these books. J.K. Rowling or Robert Gailbraith has a way of creating characters that are alive and familiar. We feel connected to them because they go through many of these same things we go through as readers.
The end of the last book was a bit of a cliffhanger. We wondered how Robin’s life would play out and what Strike would do. The prologue in this book answered those questions in a very realistic way. There is no dramatic runaway bride or abrupt change of heart. Instead the way things resolve is a slow burn. It plays out as I think it would in real life.
I thought it was interesting in this book how Strike and Matthew’s characters were played against each other. This what set the stage for the majority of the conflict in this book. When we met Matthew in the first book we thought him the perfect fit for Robin. He seemed loving and their story was fairytale-esque. Then, as happens when you truly get to know someone, we realized that he is not the perfect man for Robin. He is far from the right person.
Strike at first seemed gruff and uncaring. He was about himself and wanting to make his way in the world. He didn’t care about anyone really but we see again that first impressions don’t tell us anything about anyone.
Robin wants to be taken seriously, she doesn’t want to be told what to do and when to do it. She is afraid of being vulnerable. There is some great commentary about the way a woman can’t show her pain and anguish like a man because then she will be sidelined.
While Matthew tries to push Robin into a safe space, which would change her whole world; Strike does the opposite. He acknowledges her issues, makes her confront them and yet lets her still do what she wants to do. He doesn’t force her to a desk, he let her continue working.
But he also makes sure she knows that she has to deal with her issues. He won’t let her ignore them. He shares his own struggles and makes sure she understands that he is on her side. He cares about her and wants her to heal but he also knows putting her in a box won’t do anything to help her.
I didn’t think I wanted Robin and Strike together after the other books but after this one I think they would work perfectly together. There is understanding and truth there that will make a good relationship.
The mystery element and major plot of the book was as well done as the other books. I have mentioned it in previous reviews but the way the details are given is thorough. There is no sensational elements only there to make the pages turn. It gives what would happen in the timeline it would happen.
While I enjoy the details of the case, the length of the book was a bit much. I felt like the middle dragged. It is a hefty book and I think that some of the details of going back and forth and who was riding what train were not needed. We would have cut some of that and some of the retelling of the details in order to move the pace up a bit.
What I wished was different:
I had a little bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight in the story. There were a lot of names and different players. I think it was good for the mystery element, more people to suspect, but I found myself wondering who was who.
I had to remind myself every time I picked up the book who was the main characters, who were the side ones and what plots mattered. I wished I had an easier time keeping everyone straight.
I gave this book three stars. I liked the mystery and I loved the development of the characters I just thought it a little too long.
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.
One of my favorite things is to have a pile of books waiting for me in my apartment. I anticipate the adventures that I will go on when I am able to dive into their pages. There is a certain air of anticipation in the air when I have a pile of books that are waiting to be read. These are not the only books in my apartment that haven’t be read but they are the ones that I am most anxious to dive into right now.
The first book on my list is Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (A.K.A. J.K. Rowling). I have written about my love for J.K. Rowling
in previous posts. I have also written reviews for the previous two books in her Cormoran Strike series of novels. There was no question that I would be reading this right after it came out. This is probably the one I am most excited to read. While I am not a huge fan of detective novels, the way she dives into the the two main characters lives as well as giving us a intriguing mystery is just fantastic. The summary of this one makes it seem like the mystery here hits much closer to our characters, which means we will be diving deeper into them and learning more their lives which should be great. I am sure it will only take me a few days to finish this one and when I do I will defiantly be posting a review of it!.
The second book on my list is The Phantom TollBooth By Norton Jester. I haven’t read it in a long time. I generally try to read new books but sometimes I have to go back to old favorites to see how they have changed for me. I actually dreamt about this book for some reason and woke up with a very strong desire to read it. I actually had to buy it again because I am not entirely sure where my original copy ended up, (there is a good possibly it is buried in my mom’s teaching closet. It was easier to buy it again then try to dig it out). I am excited to read this one again and see how much different it is for me now that I am older. Many times our favorites books take on a whole new life when we read them with new eyes and minds shaped by age and experience. I am eager to see how this resonates with me now.
The third book on my list is The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. Neil Gaiman is another one of my favorite authors. I have reviewed a number of his books. He is a master at looking at the world through intriquing and different eyes. I admire the way he writes and the directions his stories take. I actually saw him speak about a week ago. I have not read his graphic novel series but after hearing him talk I had a strong desire to find out what it was all about. I know it is loved and heard a number of people mentioning it during the talk. I’ve read the summary and love the concept and am eager to meet these unique characters in this story.
The fourth book on my list is Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill. I read and reviewed Horns by him and I really enjoyed that book. It was horror but not overly frightening. It was an interesting story about a man’s decent into the darker side of himself. I was hooked by it and wanted to give another one of his book’s a try. I’ve heard good things about Heart-Shaped Box, though I am a little weary of reading this one. That is only because I have heard it is scary and I am not that great with true dark horror. I tend to get scared easily but I still want to give this one a shot and see if maybe I can open the door to more horror stories for myself.
The sixth book on my list is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This is just a classic book that I have never gotten around to reading. I was never assigned it in school and always had something else I wanted to read before this one. But I was in the bookstore getting something else and saw this on the shelf and decided it was time for me to read it. So I bought it. I do love the dystopian novel genre and I know this is a classic in that area. This is more of me catching up on a book that I have been putting off for too long.
The last book on my list right now is Burning Dawn by Gena Showalter. Showalter is my favorite author in the paranormal romance genre. It is a genre, that I guess, you could call my guilty pleasure. The Lord of the Underworld is my favorite series but this series is good as well. This is the third in The Angles of the Dark series. It is a series that is in the same universe as the Lord series and concerns the trials and tribulations of angels and their romances. These series give me my romance shot with a fun paranormal twist.
Shameless Plug Time:
That is my current list of what I plan on reading over the next few weeks. Do you need something to add to your to-read pile? Why not check out my new short story collection, Is There More? under my penname Brittney Rz ? If you enjoy stories in the vein of Twilight Zone where reality is just a bit off,you will enjoy these stories. It is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo and iBooks. This weekend (Friday-Sunday) the e-book will be on sale for only $0.99! So why not take a chance and check it out? If you do and enjoy it, a review would be much appreciated!
What is on your to-read list? Which is your favorite of the ones on my current list?