I read the first Cormoran Strike book last year The Cuckoo’s Calling and really enjoyed it. Of course, I’ve read all the Harry Potter books multiple times, trudged by way through The Casual Vacancy, but I was really excited about the Strike books, not just because JK Rowling wrote them, but because I love a good mystery series. I’m very picky about mystery books as well. The genre is jam packed full of options, but the writing can be so mediocre and predictable. I expected these to be better than most. And while Cuckoo was better, I was a bit disappointed with this one. This book fits as my “next book in a series you started” category in the 2018 book challenge.
As much as I like Cormoran as a character and the the plot itself, I was a bit bummed by the writing this time around. One thing I have noticed in mysteries is the need to make certain things happen, but the author has no idea how to get to that point. For example, in this book, Cormoran is being followed by a mystery person. And Rowling needs to get Cormoran to notice that he’s being followed, so he inexplicably looks into a window to see the mystery person’s reflection. I know it sounds picky of me, but it just felt like having him look into the window with zero explanation was a forced situation to get him to see the reflection. It didn’t seem like a natural flow of plot. I see this all the time and now that I notice it, it just drives me bonkers.
The picky writing stuff aside, I thought the book was great. Cormoran and his partner-in-training, Robin make a great team and the plot is always creative. This one had a few too many characters in it, and I admit that because I read so quickly, I didn’t keep all the characters straight, but that’s my own failing. I would still recommend these books (reading the third one later this year) for anyone who enjoys mystery books.