In what's possibly my favorite book yet of the seven in the Cormoran Strike series, we see some emotional growth, potentially game-changing revelations and resolutions, and a fascinating plot that revolves around taking down a cult from the inside.
"It’s dangerous to make a cult of your own unhappiness. Hard to get out, once you’ve been in there too long. You forget how."
I listened to The Running Grave, the newest in the mystery series by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling's pen name, which she uses for the Cormoran Strike books).
In the newest doorstop of a book (960 pages; the audiobook is 34 hours and 14 minutes) in the series, Cormoran Strike is cursorily on a health kick, he and Robin remain drawn to each other but continue to keep up emotional barriers to a deeper connection, and the agency is focused on trying to take down the fictional religious cult Universal Humanitarian Church (UHC)--from the inside.
So here stood Cormoran Strike, slimmer, fitter, clearer of lung, alone in his attic, poking broccoli angrily with a wooden spoon, thinking about not thinking about Robin Ellacott.
It's satisfying that Robin gets the majority of page time as she bravely infiltrates the UHC and works to uncover the truth of rumored brainwashing, cruel punishments, sexual abuse, and suspicious deaths.
Robin and cop Ryan Murphy are testing out a new relationship. She shows more and more chutzpah and becomes more clear about what she does and doesn't want in her personal and professional life--particularly concerning eliminating others' say in her activities.
"...you didn’t put me anywhere. I’m not a bloody pot plant, I wanted the job, I volunteered for the job, and I seem to remember getting there by minibus, not being carried there by you."
We see that Robin and Strike have differing recollections of the pivotal almost-kiss from a prior book, and each willfully believes that the other is disinterested in romantic notions regarding the other--despite almost-reveals by Ilsa and other clues.
Strike hasn't magically matured emotionally, but he does become somewhat more thoughtful and deliberate in his life choices as the book progresses, ultimately (briefly) showing a potentially game-changing vulnerability that I loved.
I found the witness and suspect interviews and Strike and Robin's methods of extracting information particularly interesting. The side plot of a rival detective agency and the links between the UHC and Strike's personal past were intriguing.
Certain elements of Strike's past, his family history, and his volatile relationships are resolved in The Running Grave.
This was quite possibly my favorite Cormoran Strike novel so far.
Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?