Tag Archives: Robert Glenister

Book Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (5/5)

31 Jul

I waited a long time to read this. I’ll continue to tell myself it’s so I wouldn’t have to wait too long for the fourth book to come out, but in reality, it’s because I didn’t want to bother with an audiobook on CD. It bugs me to have one just in the car. I have a short commute to work and I do most of my listening while running which means CD audiobooks take me a very long time to get through. I was finally ready to enjoy this one, though. And I’m so glad I did.

Cover image via Goodreads

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

Other books by Galbraith reviewed on this blog:

The Cuckoo’s Calling
The Silkworm
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Harry Potter y el orden del fenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y el misterio del principe by J.K. Rowling
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

Summary from Goodreads:

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…

I felt the last book was really building to some relationship drama between Strike and Robin and this book did not disappoint! The killer involved was a great mystery as well. I was guessing the whole time who the guy could be and I was even questioning men like Wardle because I knew it would be someone we’d already met and I wanted to be ahead of Strike for once. I’d written the real killer off a long time before for similar reasons to Robin, but I really enjoyed figuring out what was going on.

The one thing that confuses me in the whole book is Robin and Matthew’s relationship. I don’t get why she keeps going back to him. Honestly, I don’t know if I could if my husband was as terrible as Matthew. Other than that, I loved the characters even more than in the last book and I can’t wait to see what Galbraith does with them from here. It’s going to be a very different dynamic in their relationship now.

I adore Robin. I love her even more now that she’s talked about his history a little more. She’s a very strong character and I feel like she’s finally learning how to be strong on her own because of her job with Strike. Again, if she hadn’t stuck with Matthew, I think I’d like her more, but I can see how she’d want to continue with the relationship. In all honesty, it was the easier decision. I hope that’s not why she did it, though.

I related to Robin more than I’d like to admit, but in a way that I think most married people can. I got cold feet for a bit during my engagement. There, I said it! I was 23 and getting married to someone I’d known since I was 14. I don’t think it’s unusual to second guess a life-changing decision for a minute before you make it and I know my husband and I had a few conversations that helped me feel reassured we were making the right decision. Though we had nothing as big as Robin and Matthew’s trust issues to deal with, yikes!

J.K. Rowling
Image via The Telegraph

The investigation of the three men was great, but I really enjoyed the chapters from the killer’s point of view. It helped me guess along which was fun. One of the complaints I’ve had with this series is that you can’t try to figure out the murderer along with Strike because some things are kept from the reader. Having the chapters from his view helped me feel closer to the answer and once it was revealed, I felt like I should have figured it out! Not from Strike’s evidence but from something in one of those chapters. I thought this was a good addition to the book structure.

I’m repeating this a lot, but Robin staying with Matthew kind of bothered me. She’s strong and gutsy in work, but it doesn’t carry over into her personal life and it frustrates me. I wonder if this will start to develop going forward in the series. She seems a bit committed at this point, though!

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Robert Glenister, the same man who narrated the first two books in the series. I think he does a great job with the books. He easily slips into an American accent when needed and I think (though I’m no expert) he does different accents for the British characters depending on where they’re from. None of it seems oddly forced and I really enjoyed listening to him read this book!

Robin’s revelation about her past was a big part of her character development in this book. I liked what Galbraith was saying about Robin being seen as more than the victim of her circumstances. Knowing that Rowling is a feminist and rather outspoken, this was a consistent message with what I know of her. Robin didn’t talk about what happened to her because she was seen as a victim and some saw her as inviting what happened to her. I think that happens a lot with rape victims and I think Rowling addressed what Robin went through well.

Writer’s Takeaway: I can’t get over how much I liked the chapters from the killer’s point of view! It added just enough dramatic irony that I stayed more engaged than I otherwise would have. For these hard-to-solve mysteries, it was great. Especially because the clue that gave it all away was something I, as an American, would never have picked up on.

I enjoyed this story a lot and I’m now eagerly anticipating the fourth installment. Five out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Career of Evil by Rober Galbraith | A Captivating Thriller or a Huge Disappointment | Whimsy Pages
“Career of Evil – Cormoran Strike #3” by Robert Galbraith | Mike Finn’s Fiction

Book Review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (4/5)

15 Oct

I’ll admit I’m one of those people who jumped on the Robert Galbraith series once I found out this was a pen name for J.K. Rowling. I’m not normally a mystery fan, but I enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling and wanted to eventually get my hands on this second installment. Eventually came, as it often does for me, in an audiobook.

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Cover image via Goodreads.com

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith

Summary from Goodreads:

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…

Another great hit with Cormoran Strike. I’m not a big mystery person, but this was a good book for me. I liked learning more and more about Quine as we went. But, like in the first book, my complaint is what was kept from the reader that made it hard to figure out the killer. Strike is a genius and sees the small things but he doesn’t make his revelations obvious to the reader and then we’re left with a bit of shadow as we try to figure out what he’s scheming at. I liked seeing Robin’s relationship with Matthew change. I think that’s a strong running story element in the series.

One of the characteristics of Rowling’s writing that I admire is her ability to create memorable side characters. Leonora and Orlando Quine, for example, will be hard to forget soon. Pippa was great, too. The characters were very flushed out, no matter how briefly they showed their faces in the story. She does a wonderful job of giving them all a personality and back story that are very unique.

Robin is still my favorite character in the series. She’s very strong when it’s hard to be. Her fiance is a very dominating man and very manipulative, but Robin finds ways to work things out with him and make him see her side of them. She’s also rather fearless when it comes to detective work. I’d be terrified to pull off some of the things Strike asks her to do, especially the stunt she pulls in the final scenes.

I related most to Robin, mostly because of her engagement to Matthew. My wedding was two years ago and I had to endure the awkward merging of the families and endurance of in-laws that she seems to go through. I’ve had the thoughts that I’m sure many engaged people have that my parents and family are awesome and my significant other somehow crawled out of a family of really strange people to become the person I love. Of course, this becomes easier with time, but I could remember those feelings when Robin was describing coming home for her mother-in-law’s funeral.

J.K. Rowling Image via The Telegraph

J.K. Rowling
Image via The Telegraph

I thought Katherine Kent and Pippa Midgley made a great sub-plot to the story. I read a bit into Rowling’s feelings on self-publishing and the publishing industry in general with these scenes. As a writer myself, I liked having her insight on the publishing industry and using these two characters as a criticism of self-publishing was a bit of lighthearted fun for me and hopefully other writers.

It made me angry to read how Strike treated Nina. I felt bad for her. She was trying to help someone out and he used her. He didn’t even do it subconsciously, he did it knowingly and purposefully dumped her unceremoniously when she wasn’t useful anymore. Any attempt she made to be nice he thwarted and ran away from. It made me dislike the character for the first time.

The audiobook I listened to was from Overdrive and narrated by Robert Glenister. This is the same narrator from The Cuckoo’s Calling. I like when narrators are consistent across a series so I was glad to hear him again. I thought he did a good job yet again, bringing in accents for each of the characters dependent on where in the UK they were from. I’m not very good at the different British accents as an American, but I could recognize the differences and remembered talking about dialectal differences while I studied in the UK. In the same way I wouldn’t want to hear a character from New York City with a Southern Drawl, I’m glad this narrator tried to make the character’s speech patterns consistent.

Owen Quine was a very vain person. A lot of the things we learn about him concerned his need for attention and how everyone found him self-centered and at times hard to talk to. Yet they tolerated him because he’d written one (maybe two) good books. His vanity and determination of his own genius led to his downfall (not saying how!). I see this story as a warning against vanity and asking those who create art and who are involved in art to realize a single person can think highly of himself and how dangerous that can be. Especially those pesky writer types. Geeze.

Writer’s Takeaway: I don’t think I have much to add from the last Galbraith novel I read. Side characters are still important. Suspense makes a reader keep going. Though I think I would add that not giving your reader everything is a hard place to balance. You have to give them enough to make them keep reading and know they’re getting close to a solution but keep enough hidden for a big reveal. I thought this book balanced a bit too much on the ‘hiding’ side of this balance. I wish I’d been able to detective along with Strike.

Enjoyable and entertaining. Four out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith | Alastair Savage
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith | The Next Book on the Shelf
Review: ‘The Silkworm’ by Robert Galbraith | The Life of a Thinker
The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith | Track of Words