Book Review: “Career of Evil”

Today, something new from me — a book review! Recently, “Robert Galbraith” released a new novel entitled Career of Evil. In case you’re wondering why I placed quotation marks around this author’s name, Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym of J.K. Rowling. A couple of years ago, she was unmasked as Galbraith, an identity she had assumed to publish her work without the massive attention that she usually gets for new writing. Even without the Rowling name, her first Galbraith novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, received praise. Now that she’s been revealed, though, as the mastermind behind these novels, the books are even more popular.

Career of Evil is the third novel in Rowling/Galbraith’s “Cormoran Strike” series, which follows London detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacot. In previous installments, Strike has found the killer of a supermodel and a famous author. In the first story, the police thought the supermodel’s murder was actually a suicide, and Strike proved them wrong. In the second novel, the author’s murder was quite grisly, and Strike’s detective work earned him further acclaim. This time around, Strike is a bit more personally involved in the case, which begins when someone sends Robin a severed leg through the mail.

Soon after the leg shows up, Strike already has four potential suspects in mind. All four of them are violent men from his past, and all four of them have reasons to discredit and harass Strike. The novel follows Strike as he investigates these potential murderers. We also follow Robin, who is gearing up for her wedding while being pursued by the man who sent her a severed leg.

In the acknowledgements that Rowling included in this novel, she said that she has likely never had as much fun writing something as she had while writing this. That sense of joy and wild writing abandon certainly comes off in the reading of this novel. I was pulled into the novel fairly easily, having already fallen in love with Rowling’s writing style. But it was the fast-paced, suspenseful plot that really kept me reading. Halfway through the book, I was literally having trouble concentrating at work because I was so preoccupied by the plot! The resolution was very satisfying, and it included a great twist that I definitely didn’t see coming.

If you were a fan of Harry Potter, but were disillusioned by Rowling’s Casual Vacancy, I would recommend checking out the Cormoran Strike novels. Here, Rowling is building another interesting world just like her Potter-verse (but with less magic, of course), with interesting characters and crackling plots.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan