Mulholland Books, 2015, 492 pages
When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman's severed leg.
Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past whom he thinks could be responsible - and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.
With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them....
Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.
Book three of the Cormoran Strike series. This time there’s a serial killer running around London, acting the part of a modern day Jack the Ripper. The police are slow to catch on, but Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellacott, are among the first since the killer mailed Robin the leg of one of his victims.
Strike immediately deduces that the killer is someone who has a grudge against him. (No, really?) The problem is, he knows of at least three men who hate him enough and are crazy enough to kill a woman and send her body parts to his office.
Most of the book consists of Strike and Robin investigating each of the three suspects, including Strike’s former stepfather. This makes the case more personal and reflects Robin and Cormoran being drawn more closely into one another’s personal lives.
Robin, of course, is still engaged to boring pratt Matthew the banker, who’s been hanging around sniffing in insecure disdain at Cormoran Strike and Robin’s low-paying job as his assistant since book one. We’ve seen Cormoran and Robin dance around whatever unspoken feelings they might have for one another, while maintaining strictly professional boundaries the entire time.
In typical JK Rowling fashion, this book ends in a very telling, if inconclusive fashion. It’s obvious Robin and Cormoran’s story is not over yet.
Career of Evil is probably the darkest of Rowling’s books yet. While the second book revolved around a truly grisly murder, this one involves a serial killer who kills prostitutes (among others) and keeps trophies, and Rowling proves she can write sex, violence, and lurid details about rape and sex trafficking that would have given Potter readers nightmares.
There is still the careful seeding of plot devices and development of relationships that is Rowling’s hallmark, as well as perhaps a few overused literary tropes. But I continue to enjoy this series and look forward to the next one.
Also by Robert Galbraith: My review of The Cuckoo's Calling and The Silkworm.
My complete list of book reviews.