Author: Robert Galbraith (a.k.a J.K Rowling)
Published: Out now
Summary: 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...
Review: This was Rowling's novel to have fun with, and boy did she! There was no pressure of a first novel, and no fear of entering into a new territory. Like The Cuckoo's Calling I didn't feel like this was a J.K Rowling book, and in reading I've almost come to merge the persons of Galbraith and Strike so that they are one and the same. This I feel added to the presence of the voice, not only in the book, but in the genre itself, to which Galbraith is a welcome addition that I can't help but be grateful for the unveiling that brought him (her) (back) into my life.
What set's this apart from a lot of the other crime I've read is a reality to the people and places that were extremely vivid in my mind as I was reading. Strike isn't a construction, he's a person, I could see him walking down the street, I almost half expect to see him next time I'm down central London! The non-traditional private detective also adds a different perspective to the mix, so whilst all the elements you expect from a crime novel are present, they come from a different part of the spectrum, that in itself has its own problems to keep the book flowing at a good pace.
As with any crime novel, it is not only the central characters, but the development of the web of characters and situations that slot together throughout the story that make it what it is. Rowling has a strength in writing personality and the characters all spoke for themselves in different ways, especially for me, Leonora and Orlando who their blunt forward characterisations, were characters I was constantly aware of and wanted to read more about.
As to the plot having worked in Publishing, it was interesting to watch (well read) a parody of the environment, that in fact was more reality than fantasy. It was also enjoyable to read the development of a novel within a novel, and this is where I feel Rowling really had fun! Whether she was just parodying the erotic genre, letting her imagination run wild or just showing us that this wasn't an area she was planning to next venture into under any other pseudonym it was a dark and twisted tale, but a simple and effective way to spread lies and deceit. In this there was less punch than say a normal crime novel, which tends to end in high climax scenes of a life threatening nature. But again this is what set the novel apart because it doesn't need that, it didn't fit the feel of the book and to have done so would have been an injustice.
Strike and Robin, have firmly established themselves in London's crime scene, and I hope to be following their adventures for a long time to come, prosthesis permitting.