This book is very similar to Galbraith/Rowling’s first book in the series. There is a mysterious death, the police blunder around and Comoran Strike steps in to solve the case and get the police off the hook, with the occasional spot of help from his assistant, Robin.
These are very standard, quite readable crime thrillers. I think Galbraith/Rowling is proficient at writing in this genre, but not exceptional. When reading both I have guessed the killer, in both I think the important clues are quite glaring and the red herrings are easy to dismiss. However, it’s probably more satisfying to have a crime novel with enough clues to guess the villain rather than one where the the final reveal comes totally out of the blue.
Spoiler alert! In this book as soon as Strike ponders something along the lines of ‘How would you dispose of a human’s intestines’, I said out loud ‘Feed them to my dog’ and from that moment I knew who had done it. There was only one character with a dog and that dog had been shown being sick at the beginning of the book. Obvious really.
For me the crime elements of Galbraith/Rowling’s plots work better than the secondary storylines of Strike and Robin’s personal life. Particularly the plotline about Strike’s ex Charlotte. She’s not an interesting character and is not in the slightest bit fully-rounded, whenever she is mentioned my eyes glaze over, I hope Galbraith/Rowling leaves her out of the next book. Robin’s boyfriend Matthew is also pretty repetitive and dull. I’m still trying to figure out whether Galbraith/Rowling is paving the way for Robin and Strike to get together in the future, they don’t seem like they would be very well suited.
Also, I don’t believe Strike as a 35 year old, he sounds so much older. I’m 35 and don’t feel any empathy with his voice. If Galbriath/Rowling didn’t tell us his age I would assume he was in his fifties.
I expect I will continue to read this series, but I won’t be running out to buy the books on their release date as I did with the Harry Potter series, these books aren’t nearly as compelling, but they are a pleasant enough was to pass some time.