Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
One of the worst kept nom de plumes of recent years was JK Rowling writing as Robert Galbraith. Almost like Stephen King and Richard Bachman. But no one really cares much either way, and Rowling gets to pen some gruesome procedurals.
Once again, we enter into the world of Cormoran Strike, a late thirties former military officer who is now a private detective, along with his plucky assistant, Robin. As with Sherlock Holmes, at least the recent Cumberbatch/Freeman version, while the mysteries tend to be pretty great, it’s the interaction between the leads that makes for the best part of the story.
The general gist is this, Strike, fresh off solving the two previous mysteries, receives a package addressed to Robin at the office. In it is a woman’s leg. Carved exactly to where Strike’s own prosthesis is located. And thus, begins the hunt for the killer. Each of the chapters begins with either a Blue Oyster Cult lyric or is titled with a lyric, as Strike’s former groupie mother had a BOC lyric tattoo just above her vagina. So now Strike starts trying to figure out who is trying to ruin his business and possibly kill Robin. So he investigates two old criminals that he sent to prison, as well as his old scumbag junkie stepfather.
But that’s just the case. You see, most of the story revolves around the relationship between Robin and Strike. Robin is set to be married, only to hit stormy seas with her kind of douchebag account fiancee. And this puts a rift between Strike and Robin and totally embraces and envelopes the story. The investigation and the interactions wonderfully complement one another as the story progresses. I figured out the killer, but I didn’t figure out the killer. And Galbraith does a fine job of playing off the red herrings. You know you’re being lead down the garden path, but then you start to wonder, or am I just supposed to THINK I’m being lead down the garden path. That’s the best efforts of a mystery writer.
And on the particular note as this story ends, I feverishly await the next Strike novel. Crank those fuckers forever, Jo.