When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced. When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before.
This is Rowling’s second foray into crime thrillers under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith, and is very much in line with the first. For the Harry Potter fans its important to remember that this is not anything like Harry Potter. Go in expecting it to be and you will be disappointed. Really its best to think of Galbraith as an entirely different author.
In The Cuckoo’s Calling Galbraith was very much setting up the series and introducing us to the characters, particularly Strike. This time around he had more time to begin to develop the characters, mainly Robin. While we were introduced to Robin in the first book we really learn her backstory.
Beyond this there is little that I can say….at least not without giving away the story. It follows the same general structure of The Cuckoo’s Calling, and indeed most crime thrillers. A crime is committed and we are presented with a host of potential suspects. What makes one crime book stand out from another is how well the plot is laid out, can we tell straight away who the perpetrator is, and how likable the main characters are. I certainly didn’t guess right until the end who the perpetrator was, and while the whole male – female crime fighting duo is a bit of a cliche, it works.
I picked this up having enjoyed the previous book, which I would term an enjoyable holiday read, and in need of a light read. It may not be world class literature, but it was certainly exactly what I needed at the time. If you are looking for some pool side reading this summer I would definitely rate the Cormoran Strike series.