Career of Evil, by Robert Galbraith

Third Cormoran Strike novel. This was published just after I finished the second one and so I had resigned myself to a long-ish wait, but put a request in at the library and the audiobook turned up about six months later.

In this one, Robin opens a package that's addressed to her at the office, to find inside a human leg. This gets them involved in trying to hunt down the murderer, who Strike thinks is one of three men from his past. But the publicity around the incident, and the time that Robin and Strike need to devote to this investigation, means that the business suffers.

The story here provides quite a bit of opportunity to find out more about the past of both Strike (personal and work life) and Robin (who, it turns out, was raped when she was at university, which has left unresolved tensions in her relationship with her fiance Matthew.

In fact though, I found this rather hard going. It was much too long (16 CDs), and could have done with being edited not just for size but for quality: there was a fair aount of inelegant writing here. In particular, there were lots of infelicities like these (maybe not direct quotes but as best I can remember):

She held her nerve..and waited for him to speak, although the silence unnerved her.
He moved through road after road of quiet houses, cursing the place for its leafy quiet
where the same word is used twice in a sentence, and just felt like a first draft that had not been proof-read.

I didn't really keep interest in the plot, whose structure felt a bit like early (and maybe late) Val McDermid, with a loony serial killer who had a chapter to himself every so often where he'd talk loony thoughts about what he thought he was doing. As in previous books, it was more interesting to find out what would happen between Robin and Strike, although there was so much waffle that this didn't really grab my attention either. Quite often I was just switching to the radio to listen to something else instead.

The title of the book is apparently a Blue Oyster Cult song, and every chapter (and they weren't fantastically long chapters) started with a line from a BOC song, none of which seemed relevant. At the end of the book there was 15 minutes where the narrator read out copyright acknowledgements for the quoted lyrics (I was in the car driving at the time, so left it going from some perverse curiosity to find out how long it would go on).

I suppose I'd read another one but really this was pretty poor and you couldn't help conclude that JK Rowling's being indulged here.

Completed : 19-June-2016 (audiobook)

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