Review of The Ink Black Heart (Cormoran Strike #6) by Robert Galbraith
The mystery's investigative work involves the somewhat tedious examination of online messages, and the Cormoran-Robin romantic tension continues to build.
I listened to The Ink Black Heart, the sixth installment in the Robert Gabraith (J.K. Rowling) Cormoran Strike series. I ran the audiobook at 1.75x speed, which significantly shortened the 32-hour, 42-minute audiobook listening time, but as the print book is over a thousand pages, it was still looooong.
In The Ink Black Heart, Robin and Corm are approached by Edie Sitwell, a frantic potential client and the cocreator of a popular cartoon. She's looking to uncover the identity of Anime, an online figure who is cruelly and relentlessly harassing her.
The agency doesn't take the case, but when Edie turns up dead soon afterward, Cormoran and Robin can't resist diving in--to figure out who Anime is...and to figure out who killed Edie.
The book includes many detailed accounts of tracking online tweets and online message board messages, and also involved frequent shifts from one private chat room to another and the use of various online user names, all of which felt somewhat tedious. But this online focus does highlight the casual, destructive callousness and powerful mob mentality that can persist online in real life as well as in the mystery.
The Cormoran-Robin emotional tension without culmination is in full force. This extended will-they, won't-they push and pull is epic in its longevity as an inconvenient-attraction, opposites-attract, workplace-romance saga.
As in prior books, Strike has hair that's described as having a pubic texture, and he's overweight, a frequent smoker, and has a prosthetic leg that bothers him (yet he resists seeing medical professionals except in an emergency). He persists in determinedly unhealthy eating and drinking habits, has a gruff manner, and repeatedly displays his stunted emotional state when given the opportunity. Yet he is presented yet again as extremely desirable to beautiful women. His weaknesses and issues felt at the forefront in The Ink Black Heart, so the dichotomy felt particularly highlighted.
The women who are of romantic interest in Cormoran's life are, as in prior books in the series, emotionally damaged and gorgeous. His main interest, Robin, is strong and savvy, yet even she is coping with trauma and the aftermath of a long-term, unhealthy relationship.
There's an extremely disturbing scene as a climax to the mystery. But the building of the mystery is satisfying, and having spent five prior books with the main characters made me feel invested in their personal situations.
Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?
Check out my Bossy review of Troubled Blood, book five in the series.