J.K. Rowling’s latest novel Career of Evil – which was written under the pen name Robert Galbraith – will leave you saying, “I don’t think we’re in Hogwarts anymore,” as you attempt a wide-eyed Judy Garland impression. In fact, the third book in the Cormoran Strike series has the Independent calling Rowling the “new queen of crime.”
Career of Evil follows detective duo Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott, who are dealing with a serial killer and some very gruesome situations. Example: the novel begins when Robin receives a package containing a severed limb and a message that quotes rock group Blue Oyster Cult. With that being said, Blue Oyster Cult makes several appearances. The band – which wrote the song “Career of Evil” and inspired Rowling’s latest title – is quoted at the beginning of many chapters, solidifying the fact that this is not going to be a tale about a quirky boy wizard.
As for the reviews, they are mostly positive. “Rowling’s writing is velvety and fluid, making the book pure pleasure,” writes NPR’s Annalisa Quinn. USA Today’s Jocelyn McClurg proclaims it the best book in the author’s crime series. “This perfectly paced mystery is packed with surprises, all of which play out with flawless crime-fiction logic,” she writes. But she also warns, “it’s not a book for the squeamish.”
The New York Times review is more mixed calling out some of the scenes as “contrived and sensationalistic,” while still praising Rowling’s “instinctive sense of storytelling.”
“This is one of the many gifts Ms. Rowling brought to the Harry Potter novels — an ability to delve more and more deeply into her characters’ back stories (and the emotional fallout of past events), even as she pushed her larger narratives forward,” writes Times critic Michiko Kakutani.
Many reviewers proclaim that the novel’s characters are the main attraction. Strike is a war veteran who became a private investigator after being in the military police’s Special Investigation Branch. He had a rough childhood and may even have a connection to the serial killer. Robin, on the other hand, is his resourceful assistant. Her main worries revolve around proving her worth as Strike’s partner and about getting married to a man named Matthew (who is not the greatest guy). When you put these two people together, you have readers hoping that they realize they’re perfect for one another.
There’s no question we’re adding this book to our reading lists. As we read Career of Evil‘s 497 pages, we have a feeling that Rowling’s unparalleled prose will captivate us as it has in the past. Plus, we also want to see what “Robert Galbraith’s” latest novel has to offer the literary world.
(Image via Little Brown, Shutterstock)