My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the first book in the Cormoran Strike novels by Robert Galbraith, aka JK Rowling. I’ll admit -- this is the first book I’ve read by her as I’m probably the only person who has never read the Harry Potter series.
I enjoyed the book and thought it was well written. The mystery was well done and clues were placed, but I never figured out the killer. Other reviewers complained that he just interviewed people. I think that’s the life of a private investigator. It didn’t bother me. I read cozy’s as well and have sorta classified this as a “hard boiled cozy.” The death being investigated occurred before the story starts and the second death happens “off stage” so to speak. His thoughts about Charlotte didn’t bother me as he’d just broken up with her at the beginning of the book. I also think we, as readers, had to get a picture of Charlotte, I suspect, so we would hope he wouldn’t go back to her. I loved Robin, his assistant, and thought there should have been a little more of her, but given Strike’s circumstances and Robin’s newness as his assistant, I found that it fit with the story. I am sorry that Matthew, Robin’s fiance, comes off badly. We don’t really get to know him at all.
The story centers around the death of model Lula Landry, who was adopted as a child, as were her brothers, John and Charlie Bristow. Charlie was a boyhood friend of Strikes, who died while on vacation with his family. Lula’s death has been classified as a suicide, but John doesn’t think it was and wants Strike to prove it wasn’t. Strike ultimately does and it all somewhat comes full circle. There are other characters that all seem like they could have a motive - her uncle, the fashion designer, the boyfriend. I even wondered if her adopted mother had something to do with it based on how information was being provided to Strike. I don’t want to give away the story, so I won’t say anymore, except the conclusions Strike ultimately came to fit and the story worked, but a reader would have to be very astute to take it all in. I wasn’t.
There were some things that stood out a bit. I realize people cuss, we all do occasionally. Strike doesn’t really, but just about everyone he talks with does. The author seems unnaturally obsessed with bodily functions and describing people in terms related to the nether regions i.e. Strikes “pube hair.” Why? Everyone is either good looking or ugly. There is almost no in between, except maybe Robin, who is pretty, unless compared to Charlotte. She paints such an unflattering physical image of Strike (nothing to do with the lost leg) that it’s hard to see him as a hero. Maybe that’s her point. She goes into more detail about daily bathroom habits than any author I’ve read and it adds nothing to the story other than perhaps showing Strike as destitute and homeless, but even then some of it has nothing to do with that. It’s just there, adding nothing, in a TMI way. Strike uses the shower at a university and the pool -- apparently by acting like he belonged there. I’m still wondering why the university. Was it close by? If he wanted to get back in shape, a gym would have been the ticket, but maybe the leg was holding him back or money. And, just about everyone smokes. Seriously, the only person who doesn’t light up is Robin. I know very few people who smoke and am unsure why in this day and age, she decided that every character but one would smoke. Perhaps, she knows a lot of smokers.
The wrap up came at the end and was done expose style by Strike to the killer. There was a little bit of drama, but the bad guy was caught. What we also learned was that she held back information (unless I missed something?) that Strike had, so I’m not sure we could have figured it out as we didn’t know everything. For the most part we know what Strike knows, but we aren’t privy to the conclusions he’s drawing and in the end, we didn’t even know some of the actions he took. I did like that she gave an epilogue.
I’ve read the first two chapters of the next book (provided in my copy of this book) and am undecided if I’ll read the next ones. I’d like to as I like Strike and Robin, however, reviews for the [Silk Wormwood] indicate that parts of it are very graphic and gory. I can handle bodily functions and language, but gore is not my cup of tea. So, I’m not sure I’ll read anymore in this series. Recommended if you like a good mystery.
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