Galbraith, Robert. 2015. Career of Evil. Boston: Mulholland Book Books.
I didn’t get very far in my first attempt to read the third title in this series by Robert Galbraith, the pseudonym for J.K. Rowling. I loved the first book, Cuckoo’s Calling, and the curmudgeonly private detective, Cormoran Strike, along with his savvy and determined assistant, Robin. The second title, Silworm, was a lot darker, with a ritualistic killing that was hard to stomach. I wanted to give the third title a chance, but the evil thoughts of the serial killer in the first few chapters were too dark and disturbing, so I decided to give it a pass. Subsequent to a discussion with a colleague who informed me that the book got better, I decided to try again, once the library holds on the book diminished.
I did end up enjoying the mystery, the interactions between Cormoran and Robin, and the various characters they encounter in their investigation of an unusual mystery: Robin receives a severed leg delivered by motorcycle courier at their office. Cormoran believes that the leg was sent by one of four enemies he has made, his step-father or one of three criminals he investigated when he was in the army. The novel alternates chapters conveying the thoughts and actions of the unknown killer, Cormoran and Robin. I, obviously, preferred the latter chapters to the former and had to skim some of the darker chapters. Maybe it’s my age, but I find I have less patience reading descriptions of evil and cruelty, and I feel that many authors feel they need to keep raising the “shock” value of their novels as we become increasingly desensitized to dark crimes.
I will continue to give Ms. Rowling a chance with this series, and, as she left a bit of a cliff-hanger in Career of Evil, I will be eagerly looking forward to learning more about the main characters in the next book.