Like the rest of the world I knew this was a J.K. Rowling novel before I started reading. Whilst not her greatest fan, I’ve enjoyed her Harry Potter novels and adult novel, The Casual Vacancy. She has her critics who can’t understand her success and who bemoan a lack of originality in her work. I’ve often thought some of the comments unfair and she does know how to create an enjoyable page turner of a novel. So I wanted to see how she was going to tackle the crime genre. She didn’t do half bad at all.
As with all of her novels it was a touch over long. She could have shaved off at least a hundred pages. Cormoran Strike is an interesting character with a fantastic name. Two things frustrated me about the novel: Stike’s relationship with his temporary secretary, Robin, has far too much time devoted to it. It felt like they were going to be lovers and, frankly, it was unnecessary and detracted from the plot. My second frustration was Rowling’s occasional lapses into overly descriptive prose, for these brief moments, it didn’t feel like a crime novel at all. Strike’s observations were also, periodically, annoyingly out of character.
Negatives aside she did a decent job overall and it was a fun read, with a satisfactory conclusion. My four stars represent how much I enjoyed the novel overall, the negatives I’ve pointed out were a minor irritation at best. She’s clearly finding her feet in the genre.