Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible — and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.
With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…
First published: 2015
This is the third book in Galbraith’s (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling’s) Cormoran Strike series, and I think it might have been my favourite so far. I love detective novels, and I love her writing, so these books are always the perfect combination for me. Career of Evil brought even more twists and turns than the first two novels and I thought the writing was of a whole new level, which is saying something.
The premise of this third novel is something quite different than we’ve seen before for Cormoran and Robin. It’s much more personal and it’s also more than “just” a case. Robin receives a severed leg in the mail, which means the killer basically delivers the case to them. It also means Robin and Cormoran are in even more danger, and that danger really emanated off the page.
What added to this feeling of unease is the fact that, for the first time, there were chapters that were told through the eyes of the perpetrator. If you have a weak stomach and don’t like gruesome things I wouldn’t recommend reading this novel, because man, those chapters were disturbing at times. It is a testament to exactly how well written those chapters were that I actually felt anxious while reading some of them. You’re in the mind of a complete psychopath and I just kept trying to guess which one of the three people Strike suspects it could be. Plus, the fact that the author of my all time favourite (children’s) books could write such a thing was a strange thought as well. Very cool, though! I love how she’s branching out and kicking ass at everything.
Something that impressed me a lot about the previous book, The Silkworm, was the character development. In this novel there was even more of that, especially for Robin. The first books kind of hinted at a traumatic experience she went through, and Career of Evil finally elaborated on that. It made me understand her much more, and it also resulted in a new found respect for her. She’s tough, man. Definitely an amazing female lead. It made me understand her excessive need to prove herself a bit more as well. She makes a lot of assumptions as to what everyone (especially Strike) thinks of her, and while that was really frustrating at times, I totally got where she came from with that.
The amazingly smooth and subtle changes between the perspectives of Robin and Strike within chapters was something that had me in awe multiple times while reading. Rowling is such an amazing storyteller and she’s got some skills. I was also amazed once again by her sheer imagination. I thought she kind of worked herself into a corner when it came to leaving the reader surprised and shocked at who’d done it because she already put forth the four only possible suspects right at the beginning. I was a bit sceptical at how that would turn out, but she managed to pull it off anyway.
These books just keep getting better and better, and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who likes a good thriller. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the time!