The Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 28)

And so I circle back and reread the book I read just over a month ago.

This has been a most enjoyable experience, reading through the whole series. Rereading this one so soon was an excellent opportunity to see if I could spot any clues that I missed the first time (certainly one or two).

The apparent logical jumps the characters make at the climax made more sense this time, so that was good.

Excellent stuff. I look forward to the next one.


Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 27)

For some reason this is the one whose title never sticks in my mind. When I try to think of the books in the series I always seem to have a hard time bringing this one to mind.

Which is by no means because of the story, which is excellent. Strike and Robin take on a cold case, 40 years old. When I wrote about this before I said I thought there was too much time spent on the other cases. That didn’t seem so this time.

Also back then, I was recovering from being sick. This time I was just starting to be. And indeed, I was reading a section where Strike gets flu and tries desperately to convince himself that he can’t be getting it; to no avail, of course. I was reading that and thinking, ‘Yes, I’m definitely getting it.’ And not flu.


Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 26)

The rereading continues. It’s actually now a couple of weeks since I read this, this time. what with forgetting, and then coming down with Covid, and what have you.

Politics is the background for this one, with Robin going undercover at the House of Commons to try to find out who’s blackmailing a government minister — or rather, why? The blackmailers are know, but nobody outside of the minister’s family knows what it is they have on him.

All good stuff, as ever. I had totally forgotten who was behind it all (where ‘it’ is the murder that follows the blackmail), which just goes to show you can easily enjoy a whodunit a second time.


Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 25)

This is, by far, the most gruesome book in the Strike series. The crimes, the killings are, that is to say.

It also gives Robin the most action she’s had, as well as the most danger.

And I still, since reading it seven years ago, haven’t investigated Blue Öyster Cult. Oh well.


The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 24)

A satire of literary London wrapped in a murder mystery. Robin gets more to do than in the first one.

Which comment makes it mildly amusing to me that I wrote seven years ago that there isn’t enough of her.


The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 23)

So we move into a(nother) period of rereading. Reading the new Strike novel immediately made me want to go back to the start. Mainly, I think, because I wanted to stay with these characters. As I type I’ve just finished the second in the series.

The characters, though, are very different back here. Well, Strike not so much. Robin is new-minted, still unformed, and doesn’t get nearly as much pagetime as she deservedly does in later books.

Good stuff, this tale of a famous model who dies in a fall from a balcony. The police have written it off as suicide, but Strike, when asked to investigate, has other ideas.

Keeping the whodunit alive, I had completely forgotten who actually was the guilty party. Or rather, I remembered it as being someone other than it was. So I was surprised by it, which you don’t really expect on a rereading.


The Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith (Books 2022, 22)

This may be the best so far of the Strike books. My favourite so far, anyway.

Despite being set in 2015 (time flows differently in Galbraith world) it’s very much of now. People being bullied online, right-wing terrorist organisations. Crossrail still being built. Oh wait, they finished that. If the novels ever catch up with reality, Cormoran and Robin won’t have to pick their way past roadworks around Denmark Street.

And The Tottenham pub won’t be there any more. What will Strike do then? Well, OK, he’ll just complain about it being renamed The Flying Horse, I imagine. I think I was in The Tottenham once, years and years ago, and didn’t think too much of it. But who knows.

Anyway, the book! Yes, it is excellent. I loved it. The only thing I didn’t like was the sheer physical size. It’s over 1000 pages, and when it’s not breaking your wrists, it feels like it’s breaking its own spine.

The titular Ink-Black Heart (it should, of course, be hyphenated, as an adjectival phrase) is a cartoon series, initially on YouTube, moved to Netflix. Having read the description, I really want to see it.

It spawns a fan-created game, and therein lies the problem. Fans, you know? They can be troublesome types. Even dangerous.

Parts of the book are presented as in-game chat threads, with up to three streams running in parallel down the pages. It could get very confusing. It doesn’t, it’s fine.

Read.


Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (Books 2018, 26)

JK Rowling does it again: Robin and Strike are back, and the pages turn like lighting, as I’ve said before. Too fast, really. A week or so after finishing this, it’s already faded quite far from my mind.

But, as you’d expect, mysteries are solved, Doom Bar is drunk, and Strike doesn’t take proper care of his leg. And — it’s maybe a spoiler to say this, but not much of one — a scene happens that I’ve been waiting for since the first book.

If you’re a fan you’re already on board, and if not, never mind.


Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (Books 2015, 9)

The pages, how they turn. I'm sure I've said that before of JK Rowling's work, but not in public, it seems. Amusing to note that The Silkworm was my number 10 last year.

Plenty of Robin in this one, and it’s probably the best of the three. Certainly better than the last one.

Strangest thing about it is the music. By which I mean: the title is taken from a song by Blue Öyster Cult, and quotes from them precede most of the chapters (some chapters have titles, and those are the titles of BÖC songs).

Now, I had no idea that Patti Smith wrote some lyrics for BÖC, but apparently she did1

Still on a musical note, in passing, one of the ancillary characters roadies for a band who are called Death Cult. Since JK Rowling is about the same age as me, and since she obviously pays attention to music, I would expect her to know that The Cult used to be known as Death Cult, and before that as Southern Death Cult. But perhaps you had to read the music papers in the 80s to know about that kind of stuff.2

Anyway, the Death Cult here have nothing to do with either the famous Cult, nor the Blue Öyster one.

The ending is a tad unsatisfying, as it leaves a number of things unresolved – which is fine, as there will no doubt be more books – and doesn’t really give us enough time post-denoument to decompress with the characters.

Still, highly recommended, as long as you’re not put off by gruesome scenes.


  1. We went to see her at the Roundhouse the other day, incidentally, on the 40th anniversary tour for Horses; but I digress. ↩︎

  2. And it turns out not to be quite as I remember, as according to Wikipedia, the only connection between SDC and Death Cult/The Cult is Ian Astbury. ↩︎