Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

img_0957A package is delivered by courier to Robin, the assistant of private detective Cormonon Strike. It contains not the wedding-related paraphernalia that Robin had been expecting, but a human leg.

When the police arrive they ask Strike whether he can think of anyone who would want to send him a human leg. No, answers Strike, I can think of three.

And so begins the third of the adventures of Strike and Robin, the protagonists of JK Rowling’s superb “Robert Galbraith” authored detective series. Strike and Robin remain compelling characters with their evolving friendship and work relationships as intriguing as the crimes they are investigating. But this particular investigation gets rather too close to home for comfort, stirring up elements of their personal histories that still haunt them.

It is at times a frightening and grizzly affair. In a series of chapters that intersperse the main narrative Rowling attempts the distasteful task of getting into the mind of a misogynistic serial killer. It is a brave and unsettling thing to do, and also, necessarily, deeply unpleasant. I was at times tempted to skip these chapters because of that. But they are important inclusions as Rowling seems determined that this book should not be simply a hugely entertaining procedural, but also one that does not allow the reader to lose sight of what disgusting things violence and misogyny are. In this there is a strong echo of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy, though with a much less overt political agenda to Larsson.

Overall a great addition to a series that I hope will run and run.

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