Rating: 4 Stars
First of all, I don’t know why I didn’t read this book earlier, considering I have had this one since it came out in 2015. My excuse is that I made the mistake of reading reviews which said that it ended on a cliffhanger, and that it would be years before the next one came out. So, me being me, thought that I’d wait till the next one is released before tackling such a huge tome. Big mistake. If reading one thick book is daunting, committing to reading two, that too back to back, seems like a herculean task!
Fortunately, I was able to push myself to finish this one in a little more than 2 days, and now after really thinking about it, I’m ready to write a review.
Contrary to popular opinion, I actually liked this book. Yes, it’s slow, and yes, it leaves off at a strange turn, but these are not reason enough to not read it. When it comes to detective stories, I can be really patient. One of my most favorite detective series, written by P.D James, consists of huge books, with long, long narratives, describing things to death.
Career of Evil takes its own sweet time to come to the point, but the mystery is interesting, and Robert Galbraith never shies away from giving gory details of seemingly unimaginable cruelty. There are so many suspects, each with a plausible motive, which combined with Cormoran Strike’s own prejudices, makes for an interesting read. There is such a feeling of danger lurking around every corner that you keep expecting things to go wrong all the time. Which, of course, they do. With Robin Ellacott around to stir things up, it is but expected that things will become interesting.
One of the reasons for the heft of this book is that it has a parallel thread running through it. That of Robin’s back story. When I had read The Silkworm, I was really irritated with Robin, for it seemed like the woman who was not afraid to face danger head on, was a coward and a loser in her personal life. These two seemingly opposite traits made her an annoying character for me. This book tries to somewhat redress the balance in Robin’s favour.
It has been clear from the beginning that no one in Robin’s family takes her ambition to become a detective very seriously. It is therefore natural for them to be against her taking a very low paying job which comes with its own perils and dangers. She has stood up to these pressures till now, and continued to excel in her job. What is it then, that makes it impossible for her to stand up for herself in her personal life? What seemed like a contradiction, becomes clear in this book and you are better able to understand Robin’s behaviour.
Still, Strike and Robin come across as so clueless and stupid in some instances, that I wanted to club them on their heads with something. As far as the “cliffhanger” is concerned, Galbraith has done it before as well, though this time the exact point where the book left off was very irritating. Even then, the slow burn of the story and all the blood and gore are so typical Galbraith that even though I don’t love this book as much as The Silkworm, I still consider it pretty decent in this series and particularly in this genre.