Book: Career of Evil
Series: Cormoran Strike #3
Author: Robert Galbraith
When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.
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…
Career of Evil is the third in the series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A mystery and also a story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.-Goodreads
Review: This is a difficult review. I love JK Rowling. I love her writing. I love her attention to detail. I love the first two books in this series. I love how she constructed interesting mysteries surrounding celebrities (book 1) and the publishing world (book 2). I loved the focus on the 'case at hand' while the personal lives of Strike and Robin were part of the story but didn't overshadow anything. I fully expected to love this book but was ultimately disappointed.
The good? I love her writing style. We finally learn why Robin dropped out of university and why she is still with Matthew. The bad? Robin's personal issues with Matthew seemed to be the main focus in this book. Also, I felt like Galbraith is trying to set up a future relationship between Robin and Strike and it doesn't feel organic. Look, it's clear Robin and Matthew shouldn't be together but I don't see Robin and Strike as end game. It doesn't help that Strike is written as a total slob-he's overweight, smokes, drinks and has a poor diet. I understand he has the 'war veteran' thing going for him, but he didn't even come across as that intelligent in this book. (as a side note-I fully expect him to develop heart disease or diabetes at some point in the series unless he makes some lifestyle changes).
Now, onto the mystery itself. Robin receives a severed leg by a courier-sounds interesting, right? We are told immediately who the four suspects are. Once Strike reviews the backgrounds of the different men, it's clear who the killer is (only one of them is a sexual sadist). I actually enjoy the hunt of the other suspects, it was still interesting. The biggest issue I had with the mystery element of the book were the gaping plot holes. GAPING! The reader is expected to believe that the British Police didn't interrogate a suspect thoroughly. This suspect had a direct link to one of the victims. Okay, we'll let that pass. Then we are to believe that Strike (who personally knows the four potential suspects from years past) seeing the person, talks to the person and sees a picture but doesn't recognize him. We're told Strike is tired, focused on someone else, the guys hair was different, etc. I don't buy it. I'm sorry-he's a seasoned detective and there are four suspects. He should be looking more closely. Especially considering that Robin recognizes the dude and she's never even met him. When Strike finally figures out who the killer is...it's pretty anticlimactic.
Overall-weakest of the series but I'll definitely keep reading.