Owen Quine, a novelist, has not been home for a few days now. His wife immediately calls Strike to find out if he can help her find out where he is. Quine is known to have gone missing for many days from his home, but has always returned. However, Strike finds out that this time this is not the case. The novelist is in some kind of trouble which his wife is not aware of. After much research, Cormoran finds out that Owen has written a novel which reveals dark secrets about the people that he knows. This could damage their reputation if the book is published. The novelist is soon found brutally murdered. Strike is determined to find out who this killer is, and realizes that this killer is probably the worst he has ever dealt with.
First look at the title and the cover and an air of mystery shrouds the whole book. The title is far from cheeky or catchy and the cover image of a man walking down a dark small lane adds to the whole effect behind the book. The blurb talks about a writer and his mysterious disappearance and how it's going to become one of the most talked cases of the town. The blurb evidently and rightly so doesn't lets out any secrets which can act as a spoiler for the readers.
The story is based in London and revolves around a writer Owen Quine who suddenly goes missing from his home. His wife approaches Detective Cormoran preceded by his sudden shot to fame after unearthing the Lula Landry case. Cormoran finds himself in a fix as there are no leads and nothing to work on in the case. But gradually as he starts to wander about in the streets of London it becomes more and more dark and mysterious. So will Cormoran Strike be able to put a leash to the never ending saga along with his charming but intelligent secretary Robin? How will Cormoran go about this case? Will he taste defeat at the hands of the other forces? What happened to Owen Quine and where he disappeared suddenly? That's what the story is all about.
Once you set an image of the blurb in your mind the book starts shaping up. The wide exploration of London through the eyes of Detective Cormoran Strike, his uncanny and pokey ways of unearthing hidden facts and to add to that his over-enthusiastic but love torn secretary Robin makes it a entertainment cum mind boggling thriller. There's hardly been a foot wrong once the whole plot unwinds as the momentum has been kept from brisk to frustrating which adds to the murder mystery and curiosity of the readers. The rejoicing factors such as excitement till the end and a never ending list of suspects makes it a thorough and a complete package for thriller fanatics. The story engaging and the set up compelling all the while. The characters all important with added elements of mystery, goofiness, sadism and slapstick but professional aura. The narration well oiled like a machine and facts spread out to be savoured till the end.
There are no downsides in the story. It's very hard to find mistakes or loopholes in the book.
All in all from the outset the author ensures complete drama and action of different sorts. There are verbal volleys instead of combats, counter measures, accusations, jealousy,love and above all a clouded conspiracy which is like a cherry on the top. It engages the reader thoroughly and leaves no margin for error. It works over time and charts it's course with precision and pin-point accuracy. A novel balanced up with all the elements of a murder mystery and the thrills of it giving goosebumps till the end. A book which will not only unsettle the minds but make it look all very simple yet alluring in the end. A reader's delight and a paradise to an altogether different type of a story.
5 OUT OF 5