I had first known about the Cormoran Strike series when the controversy broke out about J K Rowling writing under a man’s pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. I’m not sure if her social experiment of using the pseudonym worked. She wanted to see if readers go gaga over the novel written by an unknown author called Robert Galbraith. Since the name ‘Rowling’ has been associated with Harry Potter, she wanted to be accepted as a good crime writer, for adults. It’s not surprising that an author of such a popular stature as her would be insecure about being accepted as a crime writer. It happens to the best and arguably, she’s one of the best in last two decades. I guess, the fact about the pseudonym was leaked even before ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ (2013) could reach a lot of readers for the survey based on its quality. Post that, all hell broke loose and the book rode its success on the cause célèbre.
The first striking fact about this unusual detective called Cormoran Strike is his physical disability. There probably hasn’t been a popular detective in literature with a prosthetic leg, facing hundreds of hurdles everyday, trying to get over his girlfriend of sixteen years and setting up a detective agency with minimal capital. Strike was in the army and lost his leg in an explosion in Afghanistan. Strike is an odd bloke, originally from Cornwall, brought up sporadically in London and with almost no family. I like the way he handles life. He’s not perfect, barely scraping through, he’s not a successful happy-go-lucky-rich guy with amazing relationships. He’s candid about the fact that he has met his biological father only twice in life. He’s tender about his now-dead-mother, an addict and an irresponsible adult who couldn’t take proper care of his children. And yet, Strike doesn’t hate her. After all these years, still doesn’t hate when others would. He feels an indistinct tenderness for his mother, rarely though, in parts, mostly because he feels that she could have had a better life.
I love Strike, but I probably love his secretary-turned-business partner Robin Ellacott more. Robin is one of my favourite women in contemporary fiction. She seems vulnerable when the series began; engaged to her high school sweetheart and with a dark past that Strike didn’t know about. You almost tend to feel sorry for her when she joins Strike as a temporary office staff in the first novel. And yet, she’s not a weakling. I love the ways in which she redeems her life and rises from the ashes. From being an emotional wreck to liking her job and excelling at it, from threading together her relationships to finally standing up for herself against deceit – Robin has done it all and emerged as a very strong woman who can kick a few arses.
I have read the previous four books in the series and am now reading the latest ‘Troubled Blood’. Strike and Robin have come a long way since they had began their journey and there’s a promise of another stellar, layered and epically huge novel of 944 pages. I’m looking forward to read and find out the mystery behind the disappearance of Dr. Margot Bamborough in 1974 that Strike and Robin are investigating at present.
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