Three Books and One Man

Last month I promised myself that I would start reading at least 3 books in a month. I wanted to make it 5, but who am I kidding? The few bloggers I follow regularly (one in particular) are such ardent bibliophile that my hopeless procrastinating nature becomes more evident when I read their book reviews.
I mentioned earlier that I had finished reading The Cuckoo’s Calling and was halfway through The Silkworm. Upon finishing The Silkworm I plunged headfirst into Career of Evil, the third and the latest Cormoran Strike book by Robert Galbraith.

source: google images

Murders get gorier with each adventure (?) of Strike and his partner Robin. The Cuckoo’s Calling is about the mysterious death of a model that fell from the balcony of her apartment. The Silkworm unravels the mystery behind the arcane ritualistic murder of a writer – medieval, gory and bizarre. Career of Evil is all about cat and mouse chase between Strike and his nemesis, an unknown psychopath serial killer who has chosen a strangely violent way to strip Strike of his reputation. If The Cuckoo’s Calling was a bit predictable in nature, both The Silkworm and Career of Evil left me reeling from their complexity, the sub-plots. As the book progresses the stories within the story peel themselves like a big, juicy onion.

Ex-SIB investigator Strike is a war veteran, missing one leg that he lost during his tenure in Afghanistan. I said before that in the beginning I had a mixed feelings towards Strike. He is like no other detective. He is tall, but barely handsome. He is struggling to make ends meet through his staggering business and the first thought that comes into his mind while fixing an appointment with anyone related to a case is, do I have to pay for lunch? He is definitely not one of the characters that live in comfort and chase murderers in order to excite the little grey cells of the brain. Strike rather earns his livelihood by keeping tabs on estranged stalking father, shady girlfriends on behalf of his rich clients. He loves women, but he is no James Bond. Not even Hercule Poirot. He is a tall, fat, hairy man sans half of his right leg. He smokes like a chimney and gobbles on junk food. He has a troubled past and as a result he lives an isolated life. And like any socially awkward, introverted person, he functions better in his solitary state – a lone wolf. I started reading The Silkworm with a tinge of animosity in my heart for Strike. How could one be so grumpy all the time? But halfway through the book, I could sense that something was changing. And I was beginning to feel a strange connection with this strange, big man.

If Strike is the main protagonist of the story, then the second most crucial character would be London itself. Rowling has mixed London with her story in such manner that one can literally smell it through the pages. The tube, the dark alleyways, the office parking lot, the pubs and the strip clubs – Rowling gives a virtual tour of the ancient city through her writing. And Strike limps across London from high class parties to shady massage parlour in search of truth, sometimes with Robin by his side, sometimes alone. Robin herself is a different character altogether. Her prudence, her compassion, her identity crisis make her likeable to the reader instantaneously. Rowling has created Robin right from her heart and she emanates an affable vibe all the time. The chemistry between Robin and Strike is like a roller coaster ride – an equally intriguing sub-plot that I could not take my mind off. I don’t remember any other author has ever put so much emphasis in building the chemistry between the detective and his assistant.

Rowling created her alter-ego Robert Galbraith with the intention to avoid hype. She wanted to channel her 'inner bloke' through Galbraith. The short biography of the author at the end of The Cuckoo's Calling reads, ROBERT GALBRAITH spent several years with the Royal Military Police before being attached to the SIB (Special Investigative Branch), the plainclothes branch of the RMP. He left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry. The idea for Cormoran Strike grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who returned to the civilian world. "Robert Galbraith" is a pseudonym.
However soon after the release of the first book, the true identity of Galbraith was leaked by one of Rowling's lawyers.

I know I'm supposed to be reading the latest Harry Potter book like everyone else. But I have always had trouble with doing what everyone else is doing. And god, even people like Sonam Kapoor is going gaga over her Potter mania. So there is no way in hell I'm even touching that book now, not until all the hoopla created by the stupid celebrities and the social media are gone.

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