Firstly: 650 pages is too long. I know you’re J.K. Rowling, but sometimes you still need an editor!
That said, I enjoyed this book and stayed up late to finish it. If you like the others in this series, you will probably like this one! Convoluted mystery: check. So many characters: check. Plenty of red herrings: check. Strike – Robin relationship tension: check.
The book picks up with Robin’s wedding to Matthew. For those of you who have read the previous books, don’t worry: Matthew is still a jerk. I know a lot of other reviews complained that there was too much Matthew because they didn’t like his character–but I think that was kind of the point. I thought she did a good job of showing an example of why/how people stay in terrible relationships, and how confusing they can be. That said, Matthew is still, and remains throughout the book, a jerk.
Anyway! So a year after the wedding, Robin’s back with Strike, and professionally things are going great. The mystery in this book is convoluted, so let’s just summarize: a disturbed man gives Strike a lead that sounds like it’s might be gibberish, if the man weren’t so confident in it: “I seen a kid killed…He strangled it, up by the horse.” Following this “lead” brings Strike and Robin through the upper echelons of Parliament–via some real seedy side streets–and then eventually to a country manor house where (spoiler) a lot of very rich people are being terrible to each other.
Despite the length, this is a page-turner. With each book I like Robin more, and I was glad we got to spend a lot of time with her and in her head in this book. I felt she got the best writing of the lot. The mystery here was unexpected and convoluted, which was fun. But I was feeling a bit over it by the time it finally tied up all the loose ends, and after the nth iteration of “Strike’s leg was hurting again…”
Tl;dr: If you liked the other books in this series, you’ll probably like this one. But I hope the next one is just a little more restrained.