Number of pages: 650
The fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series is a lot longer than the previous three - it seems that J.K. Rowling (writing here as Robert Galbraith) likes to start writing a lot more when she reaches the fourth book in any series, if this and the Harry Potter series are anything to go by.
Unlike previous books in the series, this one opens right where the last title left off, resolving the loose plot threads in a chapter that took me almost half an hour to read. The whole book took me just over three weeks.
The main storyline begins with a young man called Billy showing up at Strike's detective agency and insisting he saw a boy being strangled. However, Billy is mentally ill and seems like an unreliable witness.
This is followed by Strike starting an investigation into a blackmail case involving Jasper Chiswell, a Tory MP. I noticed that Labour supporter J.K. Rowling made her hatred of the Tories self-evident by making Chiswell into a stereotype by having him appear as an obnoxious fatcat type character.
There is also a murder, but it doesn't take place until almost half way through the book; thus, I won't give away here who ends up getting killed; suffice to say, it was one of the book's three biggest plot twists that came out of nowhere.
I loved this book for two reasons: First of all, it went into a lot of detail about Robin's relationship with both Strike and the obnoxious Matthew; I am still wondering if J.K. intends to make Strike and Robin into a couple at some point, with the suggest "will they or won't they?" friendship that they have.
Secondly, Robin just kept getting better and better in this book, and felt more like the central character than Strike did at times, as the book has her doing undercover work in an attempt to find out about who the blackmailer is. When J.K. finishes writing Strike novels, she would probably be well advised to write a prequel series about Robin, and her life before she met Strike.
I noticed that this book ended up set in 2012, the year that the London Olympics took place, giving J.K. Rowling a lot of chances to make references to events that happened during the olympics.
Personally, I think this is the best book in the Strike series so far; although this one did not end on a cliffhanger like Career of Evil, I'm looking forward to finding out what is in store for Strike and Robin in the next instalment, and seeing this book adapted on the TV.
Next book: A Damsel in Distress by P.G. Wodehouse