First I have to say…nine hundred and forty four pages. I decided a couple days before the end of the year that I was going to read this book before the New Year. Have you read a 944 page hardcover book? It’s damn heavy! And here I am, lugging it everywhere, to the bath, to bed, to the reading chair, to the kitchen table. Thank the book gods that I got a bath caddy for Christmas that holds books or I’d have sunk.
Now, I realize that perhaps I should tell you about the first four books before I dive into this one. And then I think of all the other books I read before 2020 that I should tell you about and then swoooooooosh! Down the rabbit hole we go. I should remind you that I took some time off this fall and I read a few books. I lost count to be totally honest with you, and I’m not sure I have enough pretty words in my head to tell you about all of them in print. So, I’ve decided that I am just going to tell you about this book, and then later, as I go back through past years, you’ll hear about the other four. If you’ve been reading my reviews you’ll know that I never give anything away, so it will be fine. Right? Right.
We once again get to spend some time, considerable time depending on how fast you read, with our main characters, the gruff and surly Cormoran Strike and his partner in crime, solving crime that is, the ever wild and risk taking Robin Ellacott. The private detectives are taken back in time to puzzle out a 40 year old cold case while maneuvering through their own family troubles, break ups, crazy ex’s, nosy press, selfish absent fathers and fame-crazed fans in the streets of London and in their respective hometowns on either side. All the while, battling demons and loss just like in real life.
I have to admit, no matter how many books I read set in London, Cornwall, Yorkshire and so on, every single time the characters go into a good ole English pub and have a pint and plate of fish and chips, I’m drooling and wish I could travel. There’s no shortage of pubs and chips and curry takeaways, not to mention cigarettes and mugs of tea, but don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a cozy whodunit, it’s a complicated mystery with twists and turns, dodgy figures, clouded memories and multiple suspects spread across decades of time.
True to Galbraith’s or rather, J.K. Rowling’s intense plot crafting ability and way with words and descriptions that conjure perfect images before your eyes, no magic was necessary in this book. All you have to do is a few wrist exercises and make sure you get up once in a while to stop your rear from falling completely asleep and the rest of the work is done for you. You just need to read, man. Just read. And just like the last four (don’t worry, we’ll get there), this book will leave you needing more.