This post contains spoilers to Career of Evil, the third Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith. You’ve been warned.
I’d like to kick off July (obligatory, where did the time go?) with a book I read not too long ago but which I couldn’t stand to write about until recently. I received my copy of Career of Evil as a birthday gift this past March.
The Silkworm blew me away and despite my vowing to chill for a second before reading Career of Evil, I did read it immediately after anyway. What resulted was one of the worst book hangovers I’ve ever had! This brought out an obsession in me I haven’t had in a long time, which was odd and unexpected.
Here’s how my days would go: Wake up and read half a chapter, or a full chapter; go to work and think about the book all day, come home and do domestic things like make dinner and half-ass some chores and then fly into bed to continue reading late into the night and then, be unable to sleep because of the horror/excitement of what I’d just read.
And this is how bad the book hangover was: I had to start reading Pride and Prejudice afterward because I was at such a loss for what to do/read. I see the classics as sort of like the cleansers between books (don’t you??) At any rate I wanted to discusss it sooner rather than later so here we go.
Detective Cormoran Strike’s assistant, Robin Ellacott, accepts a package one morning at the office and opens it up to find a severed leg. Horrified, disgusted, they now must find out: who’s leg is it, and where is the rest of her? Strike thinks he knows of four people who hate him enough to taunt him by sending a severed leg to his office. Four. And so it begins.
Strike wants to track down each of the men he suspects, even though the police have made it clear that they are (once again!) on the case and he need not get too involved. Likely chance that’ll be! Robin is game to help in any way possible, but when they realize the killer is in fact a serial killer of women, has a pattern and has his eye on Robin (since the severed leg package was addressed to her) that makes it extremely difficult for her to get too involved. Strike wants to keep her safe by busying her with other work, but that only frustrates the both of them: she isn’t really helping, and he knows she could be useful but is afraid to put her at risk.
An interesting nuance of the book is that chapters alternate between Strike and Robin, and first person narration from the killer. Yes, the killer is narrating his time stalking Robin, prepping for murders (!) hiding evidence, and plotting to kill Robin. Yikes! The first chapter with this voice actually gave me a very disturbing nightmare and after that I had to skim-read those chapters because they were so horrific and gory. Rowling also said they gave her nightmares, so we’re basically the same person.
Career of Evil has been the peak for me for falling in love with Strike and Robin’s characters. They have been so well rounded out in the both Cuckoo’s Calling and Silkworm, that my personal emotional investment in them this time around was fierce. The problems Robin faces at home are not surprising, but when details of her past come to light, it is such a blow to learn about what she has been through. That, coupled with the fact that all three of us (Strike, Robin, ME) know Matthew is such a terrible person and watching her go back to him just hurts. The cliffhanger ending was about as bad as they get, but at least it was a happy cliffhanger, right?
On a much lighter note, I have a hunch that the fourth Strike book will be released sometime relatively soon. As I was trying to find out the details, I came across this: earlier this year, J.K. Rowling had Twitter users guess the title of the fourth book via a Hangman-style game, and the results had me laughing out loud. Woohoo Chips? Eighty Shoes? (Would definitely read both those in all honesty.) SPOILER: the title of the book is, in fact, Lethal White. Truly, it could have been Woohoo Chips and I would have already had it on pre-order. Go check out the series if you haven’t already (you’re welcome in advance!) Happy reading!