“When frantic, disheveled Edie Ledwell appears in the office begging to speak to her, private detective Robin Ellacott doesn’t know quite what to make of the situation. The cocreator of a popular cartoon, The Ink Black Heart, Edie is being persecuted by a mysterious online figure who goes by the pseudonym of Anomie. Edie is desperate to uncover Anomie’s true identity.
Robin decides that the agency can’t help with this – and thinks nothing more of it until a few days later, when she reads the shocking news that Edie has been tasered and then murdered in Highgate Cemetery, the location of The Ink Black Heart. Robin and her business partner, Cormoran Strike, become drawn into the quest to uncover Anomie’s true identity. But with a complex web of online aliases, business interests and family conflicts to navigate, Strike and Robin find themselves embroiled in a case that stretches their powers of deduction to the limits – and that threatens them in new and horrifying ways…”
-Synopsis from inside front cover
The Ink Black Heart was my most anticipated read of this year and it more than lived up to my expectations. The Cormoran Strike series has become my favorite for many reasons: the writing is impeccable, the characters are well-developed, and the mysteries are always multi-layered and complex with surprise endings.
This book is over one thousand pages and I would have gladly read more. While there are many good books out there, none are like this and it was such a delight to return to this world.
I wouldn’t know where to begin with reviewing this without spoilers but I will do my best. This time around, Strike and Robin are doing as much online investigating as in-person investigating. The story is set in 2015 when the digital world kind of exploded so this is a realistic plotline.
Their investigation is focused as much on the anonymous person harassing Edie Ledwell as it is everyone else in that anonymous person’s circle, who can be traced online through the likes of Twitter, Instagram, and other forms of social media. Strike and Robin really are pushed to their limits with this investigation which is time consuming both for them and their agency’s subcontractors, all of whom are also covering other cases.
The speed with which they need to solve Ledwell’s murder is ratcheted up as the story goes on. To say it is suspenseful would be an understatement. In addition to Strike and Robin’s point of view, a fair amount of the story is told within the private channels of an online game, where users are hidden behind online aliases. Some readers may love the addition of these chat room threads while others may find them tedious; I thought they were a great way to show the story unfold in real time in multiple places.
The ending was a surprise, which I was so grateful for. I really didn’t think it would be the most obvious choices but I could not work out who it might be until the very end when Strike ultimately put the clues together in the nick of time. Both he and Robin face an ugly standoff with the killer that even days later I am still thinking about because of its intensity and the revelations that followed.
Robin is such an outstanding character. I continue to grow more fond of her with each book. Strike on the other hand had me veering from one emotion to the next as he is faced with many uncomfortable truths about his personal life and changes he has to make. I think he grew the most in this book, painful though it was at times.
Since finishing this book I learned a new phrase, “comfort crime reads” and this really is the best way to describe this series. This was an incredible read, and a very fun fifteen days spend immersed in it. I look forward to book seven!