Last year, when The Cuckoo’s Calling book came out, I was hearing good things. And then news broke that Robert Galbraith was actually JK Rowling, which made it even more interesting. This year, she was back with a second installment of the Cormoran Strike novels, and I much prefer this one to the first.
Snarky (and lascivious) novelist Owen Quine goes missing – which is nothing new. This time, though, he has just had a (very public) disagreement with his agent over Quine’s new novel, which could easily be considered libelous. Quine’s wife wants detective Cormoran Strike to find him and bring him home. Nothing seems particularly out of the ordinary during this missing person’s case, until Strike find Quine murdered – in a rather gruesome way. The game is afoot! (Or something.)
One of the things that enthralled me in this particular mystery was that – until the killer was revealed – I had no idea. There were hints of it throughout, as Strike begins to string it together about 2/3 of the way through. But, Galbraith gives nothing up through the novel (or I just didn’t see it).
The characters are what make this series. While Quine (and many of his fellow writer/publisher colleagues) are not likeable, the two main characters – Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott – are likeable, real characters. They aren’t perfect – by any means – but they are real and caring and want to get the job done. Plus, they both have shady pasts that are just starting to be revealed through small snippets of their lives being lived as they chase down criminals.
Highly recommended (way better than Casual Vacancy and faster paced than Cuckoo’s Calling), though with the trigger warning of unfaithful spouses and gruesome murders described.