By: Robert Galbraith
Published Year: 2018
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): “I seen a kid killed…He strangled it, up by the horse.”
When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.
Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott—once his assistant, now a partner in the agency—set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.
And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been—Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.
Holy cow this thing is a brick! I didn’t realize that the 4th Cormoran Strike book was coming out until just before it was released, but I was looking forward to it. I enjoy the characters and a new novel hasn’t been out since 2015, so I was excited.
What I thought
I mean, obviously I had to have enjoyed it to commit to finish at 600+ page book! If you haven’t read the previous novels, this review will contain spoilers.
This story picks up where the 3rd left off. Cormoran has just caught the serial killer that attacked Robin and Robin is getting married to Matthew. It then jumps forward a year to Robin continuing to work with Strike, working through her marriage issues as well as issues with being attacked, and the agency handling high profile cases. The story is split into two parts, but I won’t go into much detail in hopes of not spoiling anything.
Just getting some criticism out of the way, this book definitely could have been shorter. I appreciated that it was 5 stories in one, but some of them could’ve been eliminated. There was a lot at the beginning about the Olympics and how they’re impacting London, but while it help to set up a character or two, there’s no need for the level of detail it is given. There’s also a storyline with Strike’s nephew that looks like it’s going somewhere, and then about halfway through the book he never shows up again. I enjoy stories that have a lot of details because I feel like you really get into the world and the characters, but at over 600 pages this book could have easily been shortened.
Because of the length, this was definitely not a page turner for me. I think it says a lot for the writing that I was constantly interested and did want to continue the book and was intrigued to find out what came next. However, I definitely read it slowly while taking breaks in between to read bits of a lighter book.
As a novel in a series, this one is pretty solid. It wasn’t predictable, but for all the storylines, I don’t feel like it did much to grow relationships for future stories. The majority of the movement in this book focused on the case.
I liked the twists and turns that the story had. It kept me interested and I was never quite sure where it was going. Even when they started giving clues as to the solution, I was still confused until they laid out the explanation completely.