The Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith: A review

Let me get my main complaint about this book off my chest up front: The book is quite long and the reason it's so long is that it spends so many pages transcribing online chat transcripts. I don't need that! Just describe and summarize for me, please.

As for the story itself, it was engrossing. Robert Galbraith, aka J.K. Rowling, is quite adept at coming up with good ideas for a novel, developing a storyline, and peopling it with interesting characters. 

The story here involves a popular cartoon called "The Ink Black Heart." One of the co-creators of that cartoon, Edie Ledwell, turns up at the offices of detectives Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott where she meets Robin and begs for her help in identifying a mysterious online figure who calls himself (herself?) Anomie. 

Anomie has been persecuting Edie and making her life miserable. Robin, however, does not think the agency, which has a full load of cases, can help in this particular instance and she turns Edie down.

A few days later, Robin reads the news that Edie and the co-creator of the series have been attacked in Highgate Cemetery, the location where the cartoon is set. Edie had been tasered and then murdered. Consequently, Robin and Cormoran feel compelled to investigate and discover Anomie's true identity and whether it is related to Edie's murder.

There are a lot of characters in this book and a lot of extraneous plotlines that don't seem to lead anywhere. The plot is stinking with red herrings but I guess if you are the editor of a book by a fabulously successful author like Galbraith/Rowling you are very hesitant about second-guessing her and suggesting eliminating or shortening passages or removing characters. And, truthfully, once I got into the story, I could hardly bear to put it down, so perhaps the writer and her editors knew what they were doing.

Comments

  1. I haven't read any of Rowling's Galbraith mysteries. I'm glad you enjoyed this one...even with the too-long bits.

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    1. I think you might enjoy them, Lark. The characters of Strike and Robin are compelling and the plots are always intriguing.

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  2. I really enjoyed the the first two or three books but got irritated by the insane length and gave up on them.

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    1. They do tend to be long, but that doesn't overly concern me.

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  3. Totally new to me. Enjoyed your post

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  4. Other than an aborted attempt at reading the first Harry Potter novel, I've never read anything from Rowling. I have a copy of what I think is her first "Galbraith" novel but it's been boxed up somewhere forever. Seems as if she's very successfully made the transition from Potter to Galbraith-penned books, so I need to find that old book and give it a shot.

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    1. Cormoran Strike is an interesting character. I suspect you would like him.

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  5. Thank you for your lovely review! I have yet to read anything written by J. K Rowling/Robert Galbraith. Although this novel sounds like a good one, I think I'll start with one of the author's other novels 1st.

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    1. I would definitely recommend reading them in order as each tends to build on the last one.

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    2. Thanks for the FYI!! Happy reading, Dorothy!!

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  6. Whoa online chat transcripts yikes. Yeah I've read the series before and I like the two main characters ... but I do think she needs to be edited more. Still I'm glad you found it hard to put down.

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