After being thrust into the headlines by their prior notorious capture of a serial killer, Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott are struggling to regain their footing. The fame has brought in much business but it has also strained their relationship. Everyone is on edge, when an unwashed, terrified and possibly psychotic young man storms into their office twitching away and muttering loudly about a child having been murdered and buried, wrapped in a pink blanket many years ago. Could this be connected to the new case of blackmail of the Minister of Culture, which they are being asked to investigate? As Robin and Strike are thrown back into this case, their private lives become somewhat entwined and the suspense, as always, sustains you until the very last word.
What is truly magical about the writing of this novel is that while an incredibly intricate plot is unfolding, the characters who are acting in this story are vulnerable and human and so real the reader might reach out and touch them. The pain of Cormoran Strike’s stump of his amputated leg is so palpable that each time he is forced by circumstance to go back out to follow another suspect, the reader can almost feel pain in their own leg in empathy. And when Robin becomes angry at her new husband, who is quite the “arsehole” as is demonstrated in this story time and again, we want to slay him ourselves on her behalf. Because they are so kind, we almost feel we have a personal stake in their success and that they are more than fictional characters from the mind of an author.
These are completely absorbing works of great suspense and highly recommend the whole series – and to read them in order is definitely worthwhile. First, you’ll have the opportunity to read them all, and one is better than the next, but also they build on each other, with references to prior cases and prior history in their respective lives.
Highly, highly recommend these books! You won’t regret them!
Well, JK Rowling seems to have done it again. We meet Harry once again, now as an adult with 3 children. His middle son, Albus, seems to have inherited Harry’s knack for being awkward but charming, and his only friend is, shockingly, Scorpius, the son of – you guessed it! – Draco Malfoy. This unlikely pair get themselves into a mess of misunderstandings and potential unleashing of evil in the world, and Albus, just as his father did before him, shows his own form of bravery and a love that conquers all.
It is important to remember that this is a script of a play and not the rich, descriptive prose of a novel. More is left to the imagination, and the story is left more to dialogue and direction. That said, the plot is still full of twists and turns and catches the reader off guard as always. There are still allusions to prior books and it builds on a knowledge of the world of Hogwarts and its history. And it still remains as a testament to love overcoming evil, as all the Harry Potter books seek to do.
Having experienced the book release parties at midnight this past weekend and reveled in the enthralling enthusiasm among people of all ages over this book – A BOOK!! – I am still just overwhelmed by the gift of this author. She has succeeded in revitalizing, almost single-handedly, a love of reading across generations. She has given the world a gift unlike any other in history – and we must be thankful for this.
If you have not read the Harry Potter books, do it now. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Anyone can relate to them as they are fantastical but completely relatable. They are brilliant and imaginative and just plain fun!
Thank you, Ms. Rowling – thank you!
Once again, JK Rowling hits it out of the park with this somewhat creepy, very suspenseful and fun murder mystery. Our detective, Cormoran Strike (introduced in the first book in this series, The Cuckoo’s Calling) is approached by the wife of an eccentric author because her husband, who is known to go missing for a few days at a time, has now been missing for about 10 days. This is problematic, mainly because their daughter, who has special needs, requires constant care and she is having trouble managing without her husband. Even while everyone surrounding the author feels as though his absence is routine, Strike is suspicious and in spite of himself cares what happens to the wife, even as odd as she is herself.
The detective and hero of the story, Strike, is a completely fallible and endearing character whose complicated past keeps him very real, even as he solves a very tangled web of a murder. His assistant, Robin, also becomes a more prominent character in this book and their relationship is quite tender even as it is innocent. As always, Rowling manages to write an intricate plot even as she develops wonderful characters. You can’t help caring deeply about what happens because they become your friends!
I can’t wait for the next one!
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
This long-awaited adult novel by J.K. Rowling was given negative reviews in the press, but I actually disagree. I actually found this book very engaging and emotional. The story is a gritty view of a small town and the many, varied characters who were affected by the death of one of its own, a man named Barry Fairbrother. Fairbrother, well-liked by many and who had been fighting to keep open a controversial methadone clinic, left a “casual vacancy,” a seat in the town council. Three men vie for this office, each with a very different motive for doing so. Undermining them are their teenage children, who are involved in a complicated small-town drama of their own. At the center of this drama, is a very troubled youth named Krystal, the daughter of a drug addict whose success for any degree of recovery hinges on this very methadone clinic. It is Krystal who turns out to be the character with the most heart and, in my opinion, is the most beloved in the book.
In addition to creating characters that are interesting, complex and engaging, the author weaves a story that depicts themes of prejudice, stereotypes and class differences. Prejudices that the parents have are thrust on their children and this either permeates their children’s behavior or it backfires in a dramatic way. And the teens have prejudices of their own and both the leaders and the followers are punished for them in different ways. Sadly, too, there are innocent victims and this is where the book is very real.
This book differs starkly from the Harry Potter books. There, magic helps to save the heroes. Here there is no magic — it’s real life.