JK Rowling’s second outing as Robert Galbraith with her private detective Cormoran Strike is a darker affair than her first, The Cuckoo’s Calling (review here). When a once successful author goes missing, his wife hires the ex-military man to find him. Find him he does, but the discovery of his eviscerated body turns his investigation into a hunt for the murderer. The police suspect the wife, but there are number of prime suspects who had motive to kill the author who was about to publish a controversial novel which poked fun at those around him (his agent, his publisher, his mistress, an old friend and rival author) in disgusting ways.
Much of what I said of The Cuckoo’s Calling can be said of this one. Strike is a good lead character, if a little formulaic, but I expected to see his character further developed in this book which in fact just re-hashes the details about his private life you’ve already learnt in book one (he has recently split from his beautiful on-off partner, he is the illegitimate son of a famous ageing rock star etc). The pacing is good, the plot reasonably original and again I didn’t guess the ‘whodunnit’ (my baby-brain or cleverly disguised?!). Galbraith/ Rowling obviously had fun concocting the novel within the novel written by the victim which sounds truly bizarre, to misquote The Wizard of Oz, readers we’re not in Hogwarts any more, that’s for sure!
4 stars (I’m feeling generous)