When a troubled model falls to her death from a snow-covered Mayfair balcony, it is assumed that she has committed suicide. However, her brother has his doubts, and calls in private investigator Cormoran Strike to look into the case. A war veteran, wounded both physically and psychologically, Strike’s life is in disarray. The case gives him a financial lifeline, but it comes at a personal cost: the more he delves into the young model’s complex world, the darker things get – and the closer he gets to terrible danger . . .
I think everyone at this point knows this was written by JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame. Now I love JK Rowling but when it first emerged that Robert Galbraith was in fact a psydenom I didn’t rush out and buy it. I had picked up the Casual Vacancy and quickly put it back down again. I actually have that book with a passion. It’s one of the few books I have ever abandoned. I didn’t want to be disappointed again by Rowlings forays outside of Harry Potter. I didn’t pick this book up until I happened to see it on special offer in the bookshop and even then it sat on my shelf for over a year. However when looking through my physical books for something to read by the pool on my holidays I figured a bit of crime fiction would be just the ticket. I was bang on.
I don’t want to say too much about the plot or indeed the characters beyond what is stated above in the synopsis as I fear to do so would be difficult without giving something away. Both the characters and the plot are familiar, no doubt particularly to those who are regular readers of crime fiction (I’m not). This has always been Rowlings style, presenting us with characters and plots which are familiar yet with her own spin on. Personally the plot had me gripped and guessing right up to the end, despite the fact when the murderer was revealed and I reflected back on it I immediately went, “Well that was hardly surprising”. Strike and Robin too are extremely familiar. The typical male-female crime fighting duo with the underlying sexual tension. They are also likeable and no doubt as the series progresses will become beloved characters.
Would I recommend it? If you are an avid reader of crime fiction then probably not as no doubt you’ll have read numerous books similar before. If you are a JK Rowling fan? Maybe but don’t go in expecting Harry Potter. This is Rowling for grown-ups. If you are looking for a good holiday read as I was? Then yes absolutely. It’s well written, gripping and not too taxing, ticking all the boxes for a pool side read while you work on that tan (or avoid getting burnt which was all I could aspire to).