When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.
But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.
When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…
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I bought the kindle edition upon the book’s release, but every time I saw it sitting there on my digital bookshelf I just kind of sighed and thought, “Yeah, but’s it’s not the audiobook, is it?” So, eventually, I gave in and bought the audiobook to experience the sequel just as I had the first book in the series.
As with The Cuckoo’s Calling, I felt it was rather a long time before you, as reader, got a real idea of the case. It’s slow to get going and the body isn’t discovered for what feels like an age. This is because I found a lot of the story, and not just in the beginning but throughout the book, is taken up with domesticities and histories of Strike and sometimes Robin, too. I can see that this would more than likely annoy a regular murder mystery reader, where the whodunnit? formula is well known and rigid, but personally, I loved it. I find I’m reading these books to spend more time with Strike, whether he’s on a case or sitting back in a cozy pub with a pint of Doonbar.
I did also find, though, that around the three quarter mark I was becoming a little impatient to be getting on with solving the case. After one too many lengthy suspect interrogations, the story seemed to be swirling off in several different (and seemingly unrelated) directions. But the second it was just Strike and Robin alone and arguing in a roadside Burger King, my interest was back! This section of the book aside, I generally liked the pacing. The case became more involved and the relationships, motives, and accusations became more and more intricate and interesting with it. And, of course, there’s always something about a writer writing about the literary world, isn’t there?
I love Strike and Robin and I hear Galbraith/Rowling will be writing more of these tales than even Harry Potter books, which is only good news to me.