Another Strike: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling), 2015, downloaded from Wisconsin Digital Library.
Well, that could have been much shorter. But, when your name is J.K. Rowling I suppose not many editors are going to tell you to cut things down a bit. I don't know if the Cormoran Strike novels are getting longer and longer but it sure feels like it.
Recap: Rowling wrote a thriller under the name Robert Galbraith. The book had some sharp reviews and a minor print run. Then some attorney working for Rowling's attorneys spilled the beans. Rowling, as I recall, got super pissed off about the leak but it also made the book sell like gangbusters. This is the third book in the series.
Cormoran Strike and his sole employee Robin Ellacott have been doing OK since the big press exposure earned after the cases in the first two novels. Rowling still insists on adding a unexplored sexual and romantic angle between the lead characters. I continue to insist that this subplot is stupid because Strike probably smells of nicotine, sweat, and fast food grease.
I do appreciate that the lost-a-leg-in-an-Afghanistan-IED Strike is not the anguished PTSD veteran. Instead, he is a naturally grouchy SOB whose stump hurts from too much standing and walking. Meanwhile, Robin is an unsatisfied person whose personal issues are mainly due to the fella she has been dating for the past 10 years plus her rape from about 8 years ago.
Things start off with Robin arriving for work and signing for a package addressed for her. She gets inside the office and discovers the package is a severed woman's leg. An included note includes lyrics from a Blue Oyster Cult (BOC) tune. So begins a hunt for the bad guy and a many quotes of BOC lyrics.
Strike immediately thinks of 3-4 men who could have done the deed. One suspect is immediately excluded. Another suspect is Strike's former stepfather who was acquitted in the murder of Strike's mother. The last two men are pedophiles and wife beaters Strike dealt with as a military cop with the British Army.
Meanwhile, Robin doesn't much want to get married. Her husband wants her to quit her job, a job that Robin has never admitted to anyone is her dream job as an investigator. Strike and Robin have two paying clients that require long hours of surveillance. The bad guy is shadowing Robin with the intention to kill her as revenge against Strike. More people are attacked. Amputations become a key part of the mystery. So on. So forth.
Both Strike and Robin have flaws and those flaws cause conflict. Strike is a grouch and will not tell people what he is thinking or doing. Robin is resentful to her fiancee and her immediate family. Strike and Robin enjoy each other's company but are workmates, already have romantic relationships, and don't consciously admit any attraction to one another.
Rowling gives us some interesting enough leads, plot, and suspects. All this is swell but the book is too damn long.
1. Rowling has written before against transsexual issues. Part of the plot involves people who have a fetish for amputation. The fetish is either a sexual attraction to amputees or people who want to have a limb amputated. Rowling uses much of the same disdainful language used against Trans people with these amputation characters. It's kinda weird and I don't agree with her position on Trans people.
2. The romance and sexual tension storyline is so damn annoying. Ugh. Strike just sounds. Smelling of cigarettes and his hairy body shedding like a dog.
3. Speaking of which: much dog love.
4. Robin's constant feeling of inadequacy.