With this latest installation, Career of Evil, J.K. Rowling, writing as Robert Galbraith, is now on book 3 of the Cormoran Strike mystery novels. Before we dive into the scene, for those of you who haven’t committed to reading the series yet but are considering it, go read books one and two. You can check out our reviews for The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm here and here if you like. While Career of Evil is a very entertaining story in itself, however, much like book 3 of the Harry Potter series, there is now a distinct undercurrent of a multi-novel plot flowing in the Strike series. And given the phenomenal execution of master story thread weaving displayed by Rowling in the Harry Potter series, I am convinced that you will not want to miss this new tableau. So go ahead and schedule these for some holiday reading. TV fans should also be excited to hear that the series has been picked up by the BBC.
For those of you that are already with us on book 3, you are in for an exciting ride with Career of Evil. We were concerned with the superficiality of the characters in book 1, mollified to see them display more dimensionality in book 2, and now here’s where it gets good. Really good. And personal. The main characters of Strike, Robin, and her fiancé Matt have developed into a shifting triangle vacillating between obtuse and acute and back to obtuse as the intellectual synergies of Strike and Robin’s working interactions grow ever more threatening to Matt and Robin’s personal relationship. This is a mature version of Harry-Hermione-Ron with all the adult introspections Rowling can bring to bear on the situation.
The mystery too thrusts deep into the realm of the personal for Strike and Robin. Robin is mailed a severed human leg, with a note quoting Blue Öyster Cult lyrics from the song “Mistress of the Salmon Salt (Quicklime Girl).” The link to Strike is that his mother had this same obscure heavy metal song tattooed above her pubis. He immediately suspects his ex-stepfather who was also a BÖC fan. “Stepfather” might be a bit of a stretch in terminology, however, one of his flighty mother’s diversions might be more accurate. Robin, though, locates nude pictures of Strike’s mother online clearly showing the tattoo, which opens the field of suspects to include a several extremely nasty characters bearing grudges against Strike from his CID investigator days.
We’ve lauded Rowling’s writing skills plenty of times here on Pop Mythology and we have nothing to add or subtract from that opinion with her latest novel. The complete J.K. Rowling package is all there in Career of Evil. We couldn’t be more excited that this series is developing into a larger saga carefully plotted (as confirmed by the author) with her precise and impeccable skills. We’ll even forgive the early 80’s heavy metal earworms generated by the ubiquitous BÖC lyric quotes sprinkled throughout the book. In fact, we’ll even go so far as to say, “We want more cowbell, J. K. Rowling!” 🙂