Third time lucky
Not that I’m saying the first two Robert Galbraith books were properly terrible, but neither of them drew me in. The celeb world of the first one left me cold, and the obnoxious, repulsive victim of the second made me not care who had killed him.
‘A Career of Evil’ is darker and more disturbing, and while I usually avoid things with child abuse in them, there is some justice and vengeance here, and a twist at the end that makes satisfying sense when all is revealed. There’s also a look into the world of people who wish they were disabled and go abroad to have healthy limbs amputated. And a wedding going on, and lots of murders, it’s pretty jam-packed.
I wonder if Rowling needed to warm up a bit as a crime writer? Practise novels are a common thing for most writers, I have a few myself that will never go near another human’s eyes. Maybe Rowling is a the master of magic, and small town politics, but needed a couple of run-ups when it comes to murder. I am reminded of this article by Ros Barber about how self publishing isn’t always a good idea, especially as for many writers their first novel is maybe actually their fourth, seventh or tenth, and the rejection of traditional publishing that forces writers back to the drawing board can vastly improve their ability, as opposed to just uploading their ebook one afternoon. Not that Rowling self published this, but it does seem she’s getting better with each one.
However, never have a I known a male pen name who is so obviously not be a man. That was said by many reviewers of the other books, too. And sure, it’s not a problem, but it is funny. There is one scene in Waitrose where Robin the sidekick is walking about mindlessly trying to think of what to cook for dinner, and feeling pasta is the cop out of the exhausted woman, but that she’ll end up with it anyway, and feel guilty. I’m sure standing in a supermarket aisle at the end of a busy day thinking ‘Oh god, I don’t know’ when it comes to cooking is not purely female territory, and that castigating yourself for lazy pasta purchasing is something a few men out there might do (although I’ve never met one) but for a man to write about that experience, and think others would be interested in it, seems highly unlikely. The same with the descriptions of shoes and the wrinkle placement of elderly ladies and the size of their ankles. But I was interested, I pull some of my most lost and nihilistic faces when trying to chose between healthy and quick food, and I will be an old lady (hopefully) so I like it when they pop up (especially if they’re wearing pop socks.)
And so in conclusion, if you’ve ever thought about reading a Robert Galbraith, skip the first two and go straight to this one, as it’s not crap.