Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike Novels)

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike Novels)

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.
Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.
With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…
Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.


  • Series: Cormoran Strike Novels (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 497 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books (October 20, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316349933
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316349932
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2,541 customer reviews)
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  1. Another good addition to the series. There’s a lot to like about Career of Evil but, unfortunately, a few major shortcomings. Without spoiling anything, this time out our hero is trying to nab a serial killer with a taste for dismemberment. It might be one of three suspects Strike has a history with, or perhaps another unknown killer. The plot has been detailed by others at length, so I’ll just offer some thoughts about the pluses and minuses:

    The Good:
    – Robin, one of the most interesting and likable characters JKR has ever created, co-stars in the novel and her identity is superbly defined
    – Strike’s backstory is addressed in more detail, and it’s very compelling
    – The settings are vividly depicted, with excellent descriptions of sites all over seedy and posh London and Northern England
    – Heavy topics like rape, child abuse, and mental illness are thoughtfully considered and woven into the narrative without being overly preachy
    – The relationship between Robin and Strike continues to develop in a complex, unpredictable way
    – The dialog is consistently excellent and realistic
    – Much less emphasis on Strike’s disability, which plagued the last novel
    – The reveal, unlike the first two novels, is not an endless explanatory monologue — it’s thankfully short and sweet
    **These positives far outweigh the following negatives, definitely making Career of Evil a worthwhile read. Nevertheless…

    The Bad:
    – Many of the characters are one-dimensional. While Strike and Robin are increasingly depicted as complicated, multifaceted protagonists, most others are portrayed without any significant depth. The bad guys are REALLY bad; the victims are hopelessly innocent, others just occupy space.Read more ›

  2. Robert Galbraith (AKA, J.K. Rowling) has done it again with this third book in her excellent Cormoran Strike series. This time, the story ensues when Cormoran’s assistant and detective-in-training, Robin Ellacott receives the severed leg of an unknown woman in a package delivered to the office. Cormoran and Robin begin their hunt for the killer, but it’s hard to know at times who is the hunter and who the hunted. A ruthless killer is out there, and Cormoran’s life is not the only one on the line.

    This story is wonderful blend of suspense, humor, and intrigue as Cormoran and Robin continue their subtle dance as detective and assistant; and perhaps something more. At the same time, tension between Cormoran and the police investigating the crime continues as, unfortunately, his past successes in solving crimes have highlighted their failures.

    The best thing about every one of these books is that Rowling brings her great gift of storytelling to a new realm of fiction. The characters are vivid, the plots intricate and believable. The worlds Rowling builds are so well woven, you feel yourself pulled into the story. You become one of the characters. To me, it seems the “Harry Potter” series was just the opening act for one of the most gifted writers of my generation..

  3. I do not like slasher-psycho-thrillers, and that is absolutely what this book is. Robin is constantly in danger of falling prey to a machete-wielding psychopath. Enough severed body parts figure in the story to keep the reader constantly on edge. Had I known that this book would be such a departure from the first two books in this series, I never would have purchased it.

    The plot is convoluted in the extreme, the several unseen suspects are hard to keep straight, and Robin’s continuing subservience to the odious Matthew (her fiancé) is tiresome and out of sync with what we otherwise know of her character. I put the book down in either boredom or disgust several times. It took me weeks to finish it, which I eventually did more out of curiosity about where the author was going with it, than out of any feeling of being compelled by interest in the plot or the characters.

    On the positive side, the plot reveals some important information about Robin’s history that helps to explain her otherwise inexplicable devotion to Matthew. These developments open up the possibility that Robin will resolve her frustrating relationship with Matthew, but, sadly, the story does not deliver on that promise.

    The clue that finally provides the key to the slasher’s identity is so obscure that only a specialist in the flora of Cornwall could reasonably be expected to have noticed it. The mystery is solved by an out-of-the-blue brainstorm, rather than developing from any careful detective work. This is dangerously close to the dreaded “Deus ex machina” and is distinctly unsatisfying to this reader, who likes his mysteries to be solved by means of investigative skills.Read more ›

  4. Although my interest never waned while reading Career of Evil, ultimately 3 stars is all I can give this book. I appreciated Ms. Rowling’s decision to write about the ubiquitous phenomenon of male violence against girls and women and the ancillary industries of pornography and prostitution that spring up around it. Her description of the devastating aftereffects of rape is well drawn. But her understanding of why women sometimes stay with abusers and participate in their own abuse goes unexplored. Given the numerous descriptions of abuse in the book, that’s a failing.

    Having read the first two books in the series, I felt this latest installment was denser, darker and more detailed. Sometimes this works, sometimes the moment-to-moment approach is a waste of time and paper. It’s a detective procedural. Why do I need to know every time someone goes to the bathroom, smokes a cigarette or drinks a cup of tea? Editor, where art thou?

    The good news: The Strike/Robin relationship is evolving unpredictably, which is a plus. I like having my expectations defied. An interesting subplot involves the bizarre topic of BIID– body integrity identity disorder – which Rowling weaves into the story in a fascinating, if seedy way. The eventual resolution of the mystery was excellent. Rowling brings to bear the same fertile imagination that worked so well in the Harry Potter series. The numerous characters and interweavings of the plot are handled very well.

    But overall, my 3-star rating reflects the tedious and overly long arc of the story, too many extraneous details, almost no humor, and worst of all, a degree of graphic violence that is gratuitous and truly excessive, especially if part of Rowling’s mission was to highlight the horrors of violence against women.Read more ›

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