Please, someone, edit these books! 3.5/5 stars.
The blurb: When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.
Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.
With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…
I’m pleased to report that there are a couple of ways in which Career of Evil is an improvement on its predecessors. With the first two books, I was irritated that the mysteries were impenetrable right until the end when we finally get some idea of what the heck is going on. This isn’t any fun for the reader because it feels like we’re being shut out rather than carried along as part of the investigative team. Thankfully, Career of Evil is much more inclusive of its readers because it begins with Strike setting out his four clear suspects and then working to eliminate/incriminate each of them. This made motive and connections between events and suspects clearer. I actually managed to figure out bits of what was going on this time!
We also get more Robin, which can never be a bad thing. And, in general, making this case personal to Strike and Robin was a good move. After 2 books we now care enough about them to be invested in their personal safety and so putting them in jeopardy is great for building tension.
But my largest issue still remains. Once again, the book is far too long. In fact, I think this book had more unnecessary length than the first two. There were whole sections I thought could have been cut to move things along more quickly without losing anything crucial in terms of plot, characterisation or drama.
So, if the next book is a snappy 400 pages or less, I think I’ll stick with the series. If only because I’m now so invested in Robin’s happiness I want to know what happens next for her. Personally, I’m still hoping Matthew – the devious little weasel – has an unfortunate accident!
Overall: this series continues to entertain and is becoming increasingly involving and inclusive of its readers. I’d still say to get them from your library though… just in case they’re not for you!
Claire Huston / Art and Soul