[Review] Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

11:50 Cilla P 2 Comments

Title: Career of Evil
Author: Robert Galbraith
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Source: Borrowed
Synopsis: When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

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“Strike knew how deeply ingrained was the belief that the evil conceal their dangerous predilections for violence and domination. When they wear them like bangles for all to see, the gullible populace laughs, calls it a pose, or finds it strangely attractive.” 

I'll be honest - if this book wasn't written by J.K. Rowling, I probably would never have gone near it. While I've learned to stomach Bones, a plot that involves severed body parts is usually too much for me. This time it is no different, but I found myself sucked in anyway.

Cormoran's cases seem to grow increasingly darker with each book. I didn't think it was possible after The Silkworm, but I was very wrong. Whereas the violence in The Silkworm could be somewhat brushed aside as an act of madness, the violence in Career of Evil feels real. The violence is made even more chilling by the fact that we get glimpses from the killer's point of view. It's not surprising to me that the woman who brought us Voldemort and Umbridge would be able to paint terrible characters vividly. Stripped of magic, her villains are even more disturbing. For a while after I read this book and had to go home after dark, I walked very fast.

Speaking of characters though, I loved the developments that we get to see in our main pair. Robin's past comes to light, and I both rooted for her and felt sick to my stomach every time it was explored. Strike visits his own past and struggles with his feelings for Robin, which collides terribly with her need to prove herself. Terribly for them, that is; for this reader, it was great. I love the chemistry between them; their partnership is about fifty-percent of the reason I soldier through the horrible things Cormoran Strike mysteries revolve around. (Also, I might have read that ending with a "But what does that mean?!!" cry.)

All in all, Career of Evil wasn't an easy read, but it was a good one. If you're hoping for the next Harry Potter, it's not here. What this is is a compelling web of mystery, a story of evil with a vividly drawn cast of characters. This can be very disturbing, however, and I walked away with it feeling rather ill. Consider the trigger warnings before you read this one.

Reading this book contributes to the following challenges:

  • Goodreads Challenge
  • Around the World 2016


  1. This was my favourite of the Cormoran Strike books so far (because of the character stuff) but I know what you mean, it was pretty disturbing. Hopefully they can't get any darker!

    1. Yesss, there's a lot of fantastic character-oriented things going on! I can't imagine it getting any darker than being in the mind of a misogynist serial killer, so I hope so too! Thanks, Catherine!


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