I very much enjoyed the first book in the series, so had no hesitation in seeking this one out.
We again follow private detective Cormoran Strike, with the help of Robin, his secretary, who is rapidly turning into his sidekick/partner. Again we’re given a mystery that appears to be one thing, but is in fact something else.
From a technical standpoint, I do admire these sorts of stories. There’s a large pool of potential suspects, all of whom need a backstory, motivation and who must appear as plausible perpetrators without making any of them stand out until the great reveal at the end.
This book takes place in the literary world. It seems to be a theme that has been done to death (no pun intended), and perhaps that’s why I found this less engaging than the previous book. It also felt drawn out, padded and bloated to the point that it dragged along.
There are various elements that appear in the story but have no direct impact on it. If they were there to fill out an otherwise short text, to provide punctuation, then they could be overlooked, but there’s already more than enough and some just seem to be thrown in for no real reason.
It’s a good enough story, but perhaps the lack of urgency that was present in the first book (Cormoran’s impending financial collapse) removed some of the drama. Added to the drawn out story (not the first time I’ve leveled this at Rowling), it felt a little stodgy.
Robert Glenister once again does a very good job of delivering the text.
So, not a bad book, but it lacked that extra sparkle that made the first book shine.