I live in Bristol UK literary fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run
The third in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith ( JK Rowling) and easily the best and from what I have read the authors favourite as well. When a severed leg turns up at Strikes office addressed to his secretary Robin Ellacott the pair are confronted with an evil from Strikes past and someone who will stop at nothing to cause havoc and retribution.
Although the story itself is excellent, ending with a spell bounding cliffhanger, it is the information and attention to detail that sets this novel above a simple police procedural. For me I would describe the writing as Agatha Christie for the modern audience, with a list of possible perpetrators and the final unveiling cleverly hidden by an accomplished author. The real issue debated at some length concerns a group of people who are probably best referred to as "amputee wannabes" who chop off their own limbs to feel normal. Individuals who are willing to take drastic measures to mutilate themselves because they aspire to be disabled. This condition is known as BIID body integrity identity disorder and it gives people a fierce desire to rob themselves of healthy limbs. Of course there is a neat little association to Strike as he lost his right leg below the knee when in Afghanistan an IED exploded under a vehicle he was travelling in. Strike is convinced that one of three associates from the past, is not only seeking revenge but feeding his warped desires as he preys on defenseless young women before cutting and mutilating them in the most horrific fashion.
This is a much more blood thirsty tale than books one and two in the series and adds a real gritty dialogue to some exceptional observations...."A vast unfocused rage rose in her, against men who considered displays of emotion a delicious open door; men who ogled your breasts under the pretence of scanning the wine shelves; men for whom your mere physical presence constituted a lubricious invitation."...."He would never understand what rape did to your feelings about your own body; to find yourself reduced to a thing, an object a piece of fu**able meat".....For me Strike is an antihero, not a conventional detective but almost a freak who has to hobble around London on a prosthetic surviving on little sleep constantly fuelling his broken body with foods of convenience and copious amounts of his favourite tipple Doom Bar. The son of an absentee rock star; Jonny Rokeby, and a drug addicted mum Leda he spent his childhood moving between squats in Whitechapel and Brixton. "Career of Evil" has a 572 page count and never once did I find my attention waning so engrossed was I in this bloody yet brilliant third outing for a private detective battling against his own inner demons and physical infirmities. The fact that he is attracted to his glamorous partner Robin (and she to him) only adds to the fun and I am sure this relationship will be explored in greater detail as the series progresses....Highly Recommended.