Warning: If you have not read “Career of Evil” by Robert Galbraith a.k.a J.K. Rowling, please avoid reading this review due to the spoilers in it. However, if you have already read the book or you don’t mind spoilers, feel free to read.
I’m back with, once again, another book review! This time it’s “Career of Evil” by Robert Galbraith, also known as J.K. Rowling. Here’s the summary so we all have an idea of what it’s about:
“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 who 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 series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A mystery and also a story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.”
What I really liked were the character dynamics between Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott. Both were obviously trying to keep it formal between them, but the two eventually realized how much the situation hit them both on a personal level and that they needed someone to talk to—namely each other. We learn a lot about both Cormoran and Robin’s backgrounds and exactly how horrible their past experiences are and how these events affected them. It really helped to shape and give depth to both characters, and explain a bit of why they might act in particular ways.
The plot felt a little slow at first, but it eventually reached a steady and understandable pace. I found that the plotline lagged at times, though it might have been because there were frequent flashbacks in the book. Otherwise I thought it was okay overall.
What I disliked most about the book was Robin’s decision to return to Matthew and wed him. I don’t quite understand it, and I share the same frustration with Cormoran about this. Matthew obviously seems to look down on Robin because she doesn’t happen to have finished university like he did, and it’s also revealed that he had an affair after Robin dropped out from university and kept it a secret for all those years. It also didn’t help that Matthew was making ultimatums about their relationship such as “if you sleep with Cormoran this relationship is completely over,” making him a hypocrite considering that he was the one that had the affair and not Robin. Also, Matthew’s constant texting of her after they broke their engagement initially made me actually think that he might be the guy going and knifing all the women, because the way he framed those texts may have sounded sincere, but also felt increasingly abusive towards her. Robin obviously knew better than to return to him, and yet she did it anyway. Then again, given how shaky that all the events that happened to her were in the novel, I can see that she needs someone to be an emotional anchor for her for all the bad stuff that happened to her. I thought she would see it in Cormoran, who was practically like a friend to her by the time of this book (as there are two books with these two before this one), so I was disappointed when she went back to Matthew.
What I also don’t understand was the last part of the book, where Cormoran essentially interrupt’s Robin’s wedding to Matthew. Why was Robin smiling when she said “I do” at the end? The ending implies it was because Cormoran happened to be there for her and not because she was marrying her new husband, but she’s still marrying Matthew anyway. That part just left me a little lost and confused.
Overall, I have to give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars, mainly because of the last two points I mentioned, as well as the slightly-lagging plotline. The book does mention some very heavy content, such as rape, murder (lots of it) and other content that I’m not going to mention lest I end up spoiling the entire book. If you have a sensitivity to such material, I’d recommend that you might not want to read this one. Otherwise, this was definitely a gripping read and if you’re looking for a good mystery novel, this is the one you might want to consider picking up, though it helps if you read the first two books before this one.