Robert Galbraith skewers an author who skewers the people in his life—and gets killed for it—in this C.B. Strike mystery. Of course, Galbraith is actually J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym. And she’s published many books and sold zillions of copies. There’s some irony in her descriptions of indubitably flawed and possibly villainous publishers, agents, and editors. Not to mention the author’s wife and girlfriend!

The dead author is strung up in gruesome fashion, quite similar to the final scenes of his latest novel. Perhaps he staged his own death as a publicity stunt, albeit an over-the-top dramatic one. Or maybe one of the many people he’s pissed off have finally taken revenge. The police have one theory, and Cormoran Strike is determined to prove them wrong and save his client.

Poor Strike. Once again he’s all over London, often fighting the dysfunction of his lower leg prosthesis, tracking down clues and killers. As the second book in the series, Galbraith shows us more about Strike’s life, as well as his lovely young assistant Robin Ellacot.

My conclusions

As with the first book in the series, Galbraith creates fully drawn characters. And I don’t just mean Strike and Robin, but each villain and the poor dead author. We also get to know Strike’s friends, his ex-fiancée, and even one of the police inspectors.

I’m glad to say, I like both main characters as well. Sometimes authors make the second chair investigator just a cutout. Not so in Robin’s case. We learn more about her fiancé and family too. And cheers to Galbraith for creating the perfect amount of tension between them. Thank goodness she has an engagement ring on her finger. Otherwise Strike would be making moves, and it wouldn’t be the mystery/thriller it should be. At least that’s how he rolls for now.

I thought the mystery was sufficiently complex and ingenious. The solution wasn’t obvious, primarily because so many people hated the poor dead author. He was the least likable character of all, even in his ghastly demise.

Unfortunately, I have some other reading commitments right now. If not for them, I’d be diving into book three straightaway.