She is a skilled story-teller and talented writer. With the two types of reactions most people have when they hear her name, it’s easy to see why she wanted her name kept far from her works as Robert Galbraith. Unfortunately, this didn’t happen, but this was a bonus for those of us who would never have discovered them.
On one side, you have those with visceral negative reactions to her and her writing. (A lot of the time by those who’ve never read her books.) And on the other side, you have the people who adore them solely because it’s J.K. Rowling; Obviously. Thankfully, I’m somewhere in the middle. I can both appreciate her as an evolving writer and find fault in her skills as a story-teller, especially in her post Harry Potter novels. (I’m still waiting for the, hmm Harry Potter isn’t as wondrous as I first thought it was moment, but it still hasn’t happened.)
Similar to The Cuckoo’s Calling , Rowling throws minor characters at the reader as if we need to meet every person to ever have anything to do with the missing writer Owen Quine. This works great because Rowling is a fantastic minor character writer and because it gives so many people on which to cast aspersions I, for once, wasn’t 100% sure who to blame at the end of the novel.
I was glad to see Robin begin to reach her stride, even if I did want to smack her occasionally for being such a whiny brat! Seriously, it could easily have reached Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix proportions, but thankfully it didn’t. Strike continued to remain aloof to me and although I like him more, Rowling is slowly revealing his character, I’m still not sure I like him as a person. There is most definitely more to come concerning his story, and even Robin’s! Rowling isn’t subtle with her foreshadowing.
There were two things I had issues with, one was outside of Rowling’s hands and the other wasn’t, but could be blamed on the first. As you can see, to the right, I received a copy of the large print edition from my local library. I’d been on the waiting list for as long as it was open (I was still somewhere between the 75th and 100th patron on the list), so I didn’t care too much which version it was I just wanted to read it!
Where this ran into trouble for me was in knowing where I was in the story. With a physical book you can feel exactly how many pages are left and gauge when you think the “reveal” will be and whether there will be an additional twist or what not, but with this book I couldn’t! I’m not sure if this contributed to the second issue I had, but if it did then I will try my best to steer clear of large print books in the future.
The second issue I had with the novel, was that the reveal came so late and the entire wrap-up and afterword happened so quickly, I didn’t have time to really contemplate the ending. Perhaps Rowling made this choice for style, leave the reader hanging. Perhaps it was a result of the large print, my thinking I had a lot more to read. Or perhaps it was just a poor ending.
Recommendation: I would definitely recommend this series to anyone who loves mysteries or thrillers. The modern-day sleuth and crime genre is alive and well with Rowling’s contributions. I’d even go so far as to recommend this to people who don’t like Rowling (Harry Potter or The Casual Vacancy), because these are completely different and I’ve enjoyed them in a different way than either of her previous works.
Opening Line: “Somebody bloody famous,” said the hoarse voice on the end of the line, ‘better’ve died Strike.'”
Closing Line: “Then, with a grin and a wave, he was gone.” (Whited out.)