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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of the Cormoran Strike series books 1-4 by Robert Galbraith

The Cormoran Strike-Robin Ellacott Saga

I've been listening to the fifth installment in this series, Troubled Blood, and during my many glorious hours listening to the audiobook version of the 944-page book so far, I've had time to reflect upon the fact that I haven't yet posted reviews of the other books in the series on Bossy Bookworm. Which brings us to...this post!

These are generally deep dives into mysterious, often creepy situations. This isn't a fast-paced series, yet I've consistently felt hooked on how the cases build--and on the will-they-won't-they tension between the opposites-attract duo of Strike and Robin. Plus, I find the supporting cast of imperfect, oddball, lovely characters absolutely irresistible.


01 The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

First of all, I don't want to talk about this cover, or about movie or television tie-in covers in general. I haven't watched any adaptation of these books and I am afeared of feeling disappointed about them. Thank you for your support regarding this delicate matter.

Here's the basic premise of The Cuckoo's Calling: Cormoran Strike spent a couple of years at Oxford before enlisting in the British Army, Special Investigation Branch, Royal Military Police. After he lost his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, he returned to London, where he's cobbled together a career as a private investigator.

When new client John Bristow asks him to investigate the circumstances of the death of his famous sister, the supermodel Lula Landry, Strike must sift through the sordid details of the ultrarich, famous, depraved, and desperate circles that surrounded Lula.

Meanwhile, the newly engaged Robin Ellacott has started work as a temporary secretary to Strike, and she brings her own emotional baggage, her natural ability for investigation, and her power as a source of begrudging personal fascination for the grumpy, closed-off Strike.

I really enjoyed this. It's a slowly built, character-driven whodunit. Galbraith's pacing pulls you along without cheap twists, and the writing is precise and wonderful, with great dialogue and character development. The ending felt set up for a sequel, which it was.


02 The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

In The Silkworm, Cormoran Strike is asked to investigate the disappearance of novelist Owen Quine. But the short getaway his wife suspects he was seeking turns out to be something else entirely.

Quine had recently finished a new, damaging manuscript which excoriated almost everyone he knew and could have upended the lives of many people around him. Which meant there were lots of people who might want Quine to stay quiet.

Quine is found brutally murdered, and Strike must rush to determine what has happened and who was behind the killings.

Meanwhile, the Cormoran Strike-Robin Ellacott bond is strengthening; her fiance is insufferable; his ex-girlfriend is emotionally unbalanced; and it's all very intriguing.

I do love me some Cormoran Strike.

I confused a few of the players a little bit there in the middle of this one. I was glad that the potential work romance between Strike and Robin was hinted at but not consummated.


03 Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

In the third mystery of the Cormoran Strike series, Career of Evil, Robin is horrified to receive a disturbing package...containing a severed leg. It seems to be a message for Cormoran, and he must work to determine which of four potential people from his past are responsible.

Strike thinks the police are on the wrong track, so he and Robin dive into the pasts of the other three suspects--but more upsetting events unfold.

I didn't often listen to audiobooks back when I read this one, and Career of Evil was a compelling story to take in this way--if a little tough because there was no read-skimming the gory details of the serial killer procedures and destruction. Eeeee!

I love the characters of Cormoran, Robin, and Shanker, and reading this third book cemented the fact that I'm in for this series as long as it goes.

I like that the books are long enough to delve into various twist and turns and to slowly develop the characters and their relationships without rushing or jumping into things in an unlikely rush.


04 Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

At the start of Lethal White, a young man named Billy comes to Cormoran Strike's detective office asking for help. He believes he witnessed a crime when he was a little boy, and while Billy can't recall many of the details, he's clearly been shaped by this trauma ever since its occurrence.

You might guess that Strike and Robin--now Strike's equal business partner and an indispensable member of the detective agency--can't resist trying to help Billy and working against the formidable challenge of time to uncover the truth of what occurred many years earlier. Well, you'd be correct. They take the job, which leads them through dark elements of society, government, society, and the underbelly of London.

Meanwhile, the tensions between Robin and Strike continue to bubble. They're such excellent partners, they couldn't ever jeopardize the career setup so important to each of them by becoming romantically involved--could they?

Lethal White is another solid installment in the Cormoran Strike series of twists and turns and double-crossing and disguises...all with the endearing undercurrent of true affection between Cormoran and Robin. This also felt less gruesome than it might’ve been, which I deeply appreciated. I didn’t see the denouement coming, but I didn’t feel manipulated either. Well done, again!

I'm currently listening to the fifth book in this series, Troubled Blood. Stay tuned for my review of that book.


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