Unsettling from the very start, the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series takes a little while to find its feet. When a mentally distressed young man explodes into Strike’s office requesting help on finding out about a crime he may have witnessed as a child, Strike feels compelled to help, in part due to his temporary assistant’s inability to handle the situation.
Perhaps due to the confusing nature of the crime or perhaps due to the confusion between Strike and Robin (who got married to the awful Matthew at the end of the last book), it took a while for me to become fully immersed in the plot.
However, I stuck with it and wasn’t disappointed. There were an incredible number of twists in the story and some really interesting characters. We see Robin going undercover in some vastly situations (Houses of Parliament vs a Camden flat party), with Cormoran consigned to more visible roles, due to his new-found fame. Unlike with many crime novels, I had absolutely no idea who the culprit was until the big reveal, which meant I sped through the last quarter, reading over 200 pages in one sitting to get to the end!
There were a number of features I loved about this book. The first was the shift in narratives between Robin and Strike, which explored the unspoken true emotions flying around between the two protagonists, thus adding an extra layer of tension to the tale. I also noticed that Galbraith (aka Rowling) has begun to include more lyrical descriptions, making this feel like much more than a simple ‘whodunnit’.
I’m already a fan of crime fiction, but Rowling/Galbraith is a big hitter within the genre. One of the biggest successes of Harry Potter is the strength of the characters and she’s brought this skill to bear here. A very enjoyable way to spend a weekend!