J.K. Rowling, whom we all know as the creator of Harry Potter, has also made a name for herself in the crime genre for her excellent ongoing detective series—or, rather a name for her pseudonym Robert Galbraith. If you’re not already reading and always impatiently awaiting the next in the series, you very much should be. The Cormoran Strike series hits many notes for detective fiction fans: a struggling P.I., an interesting partnership, an equal focus on personal lives along with the ins and outs of solving the cases, and mysteries that twist and turn throughout the book until the final “aha!” Bonus, the series has the same audiobook narrator—English actor Robert Glenister—throughout, and there is even a television series for adaptation fans! But enough general gushing, let’s check out the four books in the series so far:
The first book introduces us to our P.I., Cormoran Strike: an Afghanistan war vet with a prosthetic leg, living in his office, who is struggling to keep his business afloat. But like all great detective novels, in walks a client with a case that may finally solve Strike’s money and business problems. A brother who refuses to believe his famous sister died by suicide and wants to hire Strike to prove it. We’re also introduced to Robin Ellacott, who starts her temp job as Strike’s secretary—Gal Friday?—and you’ll find yourself quickly rooting for them to be a crime-solving team.
Which is where book two comes in! This time, we have a missing author and a wife who hires Strike to find him and bring him back—as a wife does, apparently, when her man has run off. Except it turns out the missing author has just finished a manuscript that reveals things about everyone he knows, things that no one would want to be published so clearly he has plenty of enemies that would want to harm him… We also get to see more of grouchy Strike and opposite in every way Ellacott and her personal life with her fiancé.
The third book in the series hits close to home for our P.I., as Ellacott opens a package to find a severed leg—I know! Strike thinks that four people from his past could be responsible. That’s a lot of horrible people to know, my dude. Anyhoo, with the police convinced they know who is responsible, Strike isn’t so sure, so he and Ellacott, of course, do their own sleuthing! It’s dark and twisted… I mean writing it gave Rowling nightmares—literally!
P.I. work is difficult enough without the client, who appears mentally distressed, running out in the middle of hiring a P.I. So Strike and Ellacott not only have to try and figure out what crime their client witnessed as a child, but that’s made even more difficult for Strike now that he’s a “celebrity” P.I. I mean, sleuthing involves a lot of being able to be invisible, so good luck with that, man. Also, get your relationships in order! Yeah, I’m being vague—you’ll just have to read the series to see why.
Strike has never tackled a cold case before, let alone one forty years old. But despite the slim chance of success, he is intrigued and takes it on; adding to the long list of cases that he and his partner in the agency, Robin Ellacott, are currently working on. And Robin herself is also juggling a messy divorce and unwanted male attention, as well as battling her own feelings about Strike.
As Strike and Robin investigate Margot’s disappearance, they come up against a fiendishly complex case with leads that include tarot cards, a psychopathic serial killer and witnesses who cannot all be trusted. And they learn that even cases decades old can prove to be deadly . . .
The Cormoran Strike series is a modern P.I. series perfect for fans of the detective genre—new and old—who want a great series to sink into, with leads to root for, and plenty of dark mysteries to solve. And now to wait for the next novel in the series!
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Jamie Canavés is a Book Riot contributing editor and Tailored Book Recommendations coordinator who always has a book in one hand. She writes the Unusual Suspects mystery newsletter, never says no to chocolate or ‘80s nostalgia, and spends way too much time asking her goat-dog “What’s in your mouth?!” Tweets: @Oh_Dinky.