“Even if the world is the seedy underbelly of contemporary London and not Magical Hogwarts, cracking the cover of a Galbraith novel is like stepping through a portal. You’re immersed all at once.”


Cormoran Strike comes out of exile at last, or so it seems to many of us readers who waited for the next instalment. Now, I’m sure we all know who the writer is behind the Galbraith novels and I’m sure I’m not the only one who was getting fed up with the wait. So why has this one taken so long then? Well, here’s my theory: Rowling got too wrapped up with all the Pottermore add-ons leaving our hero amputee investigator in limbo and it seems she finished this new strike novel in a bit of rush.

I have to be honest to say that that this is going against her own words when she said there will no more HP novels. Why not give the fans what they really want, a follow-up to Deathly Hallows and be done with it and stop doing the all the other add-ons. And just think of all the extra dosh JK, useful for Lumos perhaps? Anyway, back to Cormoran 4 …

The title is not about drugs as I thought, but about horsey things that I know nowt about at all. I prefer my horse in burgers or sausages or cooked in a red wine sauce … … … The story line for this novel is about a blackmail attempt on a tory government minister that causes Strike to be hired to find out who is behind it. We learn that as well as the blackmail there is fraud and corruption, well, what else could it be, she is writing about tories eh! A mentally ill man tells Strike he saw a murder and burial. There’s a murder, dressed up to look like a suicide followed by more fraud coming to light.
The story itself is good and well told, but why do I feel so frustrated with it? First point then; why did she place this story in 2012? To do so she has pushed the previous three novels back at least two, maybe three years. She is the copyright owner so can do what she wants with it, but surely she has a responsibility not to confuse here readers; which brings me to the next point …

Do you by any chance know what ‘androgynous child’ is? What about, ‘palimpsest’, or ‘benison’? If not, have a good dic’n’ary beside you while read this one. One more then, I don’t believe that no matter how clever Strike is, I don’t think he would use a word like ‘conflated’ while talking about a case!

For me there are number of errors in it. First then, the smoking ban. Strikes enters a pub sits down and lights a ciggie; beg pardon? The story is set in 2012, five years after the smoking ban came into force. Next error; in one paragraph we read, ‘What theory?’ said Robin … a few words later in the same paragraph Strike replies. Perhaps there’s a rule in English that I don’t know about (you can let me know if so), but as far as I know, two characters should not speak in the same paragraph. Thirty odd pages later Strike leaves a house carrying a rifle, but four pages later he comes back with revolver hmmm …

Rowling is an accomplished writer so it’s a surprise to find so many errors in one novel. That is why I think this one was a bit of rush job. Or perhaps her editor/proof reader didn’t pick them up? Whatever, to quote her words on page 603, ‘Just a few little careless mistakes.’ Although they won’t prevent me from reading more Strikes novels, I just hope that she does better next time.


Reviewed by:

Ron Clark

Added 6th November 2018

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Ron Clark