This is the third book of JK Rowling aka Robert Galbriath I read. I have not read Harry potter series but I had an opportunity to see some of the scenes in movies. JK Rowling has reiterated it so many times in the press that this book had so much evil and one of the most dangerous books that she has written so much so that she got scared while writing it. Arguably, this is one of the toughest cases that Cormoran Strike has handled as it targeted him and Robin personally.
Book starts with the usual fanfare where Robin and Strike are reveling in his new found success after solving the second high profile murder (read book silkworm; book review). Robin takes a parcel from a courier who sends a women’s leg as a gift addressed to Robin. Immediately, Strike gets deep down into past to see who can commit such a grotesque act. Noel Brockbank, Donald Laing and Whittaker are the three characters he can remember who are passionate about hurting Strike any way they can. First two are his colleagues in the army while latter is his stepfather who Strike hates from his guts. Though Met is all over their cramped office, they make little headway in tracking down the sender of that leg. Strike and Robin do their own thing in tracking down each and every one of those suspected by Strike. Wardle (representing the Met!) is trying to do everything in his capacity to locate the sender. Meanwhile, women die – mostly prostitutes – anywhere and everywhere. It happens so regularly that media bestows him with a name ‘the shacklewell ripper’ – named after the famous and gory murderer ‘Jack the ripper’. Noel has disappeared, Laing is ill and handicapped and Whittaker is too old to plan and implement this murder. All seem as evil as they were earlier and all had scores to settle with Strike. In addition to this main plot, sub plots include Robin’s partner Mathew confesses that he has slept with his best friend Sarah Shadlock and hence, Robin removes her engagement ring only to melt away with Mathew’s serious regret over his actions. During this lean phase, Robin gulps 3 bottles of wine and confesses about her own evil past to Strike. Logically , Rowling concludes on who could be the possible killer and readers are in for a surprise when in the end, truth is revealed.
I had been harping about how good their (Robin and Strike!) chemistry seemed and there should be more of it. This book is full of chats between Robin and Strike – thinking about each other, confessing with each other, discussing about personal lives, angry with each other and mostly discussing about the case. Story dwells in their past and brings about every dark character and situation that could go possibly wrong in anyone’s life. Everyone they meet or investigate happens to have a regretful past – either they were molested, had neighbour bludgeoned to death, beats up his wife, person concerned is a pedophile. Strike and Robin take in all this information with aplomb as if this is what they hear of every day. Interaction between the two is a bit too much and everything bad about everyone’s life is not the best way to entertain readers. Probably, satan worshippers might be happy reading the book but normal everyday readers would not. I would still recommend this book to people who love detective series. I rate it a 4/5. happy Reading. Cheers!!