The Running Grave
October 12, 2023

Book Review

The Running Grave

Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike series has kept me highly intrigued over the last month. This is another outstanding novel in which Galbraith envelops the reader in a controversial milieu and pushes all the right buttons to resonate with the general public. While Galbraith is but a pseudonym, the author’s true persona shines through, differing greatly from the young adult writing that many might expect.

Seeking assistance with a controversial church that has allegedly brainwashed their son, a family reaches out to Cormoran Strike and his business partner, Robin Ellacott. The private investigators do all they can, which includes delving deep into the core of the organisation. While things don’t go exactly as Strike had planned, he identifies vulnerabilities and hopes to act on them before anyone else goes missing or crimes escalate. Galbraith captivates and impresses once more with a book that is both hefty and impactful.

While the Universal Humanitarian Church (UHC) appears benevolent and serene on the surface, there are some who have left its fold feeling manipulated, confounded, and worried for those left behind. Such is the story that Cormoran Strike hears when potential new clients reach out to him for assistance. Their son has been drawn into the group and persuaded to leave his family behind. Although Strike finds the prospect of challenging an organized religious group daunting, he’s never been one to shy away from a challenge.

After consulting with his partner, Robin Ellacott, Strike agrees to take the case. Together, they start formulating a plan to help extract Will, the man in question. This mission will involve more than simply knocking on the door and asking for his release, though Strike is still figuring out the specifics. Robin agrees to go undercover in hopes of locating Will and learning more about the group. Their approach must be methodical to avoid arousing suspicion.

Inside the UHC, Robin encounters a troubling lifestyle of mass orgies, fluid love, and a leader venerated above all else. Assuming a new identity, Robin must report back to Strike discreetly, as she uncovers numerous hidden crimes. It becomes a race not only for answers but for Strike to gather enough evidence to involve the police, all while ensuring Robin’s safety from the group’s indoctrination and its iron-handed leadership. It’s a chilling narrative, certain to captivate readers as they explore Galbraith’s intentions with this installment.

I committed to this series over the summer and found myself unable to put the books down once I started. Galbraith crafts compelling stories, delving into controversial topics with deft narrative and robust character development. Loyal series fans will appreciate the intricate narrative layers that sustain momentum. This is crucial, as Galbraith often opts for an extended, winding path to reach the story’s heart. The direction is clear, but it demands a patient reader.

The series boasts well-rounded characters, and this seventh book is no exception. Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott remain front and center, with their personal lives and burgeoning romance always in the backdrop. However, Galbraith doesn’t rush their relationship development, much to the chagrin of dedicated readers who are left yearning for more. Strong writing introduces pivotal characters and ensures consistent growth, which is vital for maintaining reader engagement in a lengthy tale.

Engaging plots unfold effortlessly. I couldn’t help but hope that Strike would confront many of the personal demons he’s been suppressing, especially as he grapples with past traumas. Instead, the narrative primarily focuses on the myriad twists and turns within the UHC and its leadership. The book has its high points, and I trust readers will endure some of the more tedious preachy moments inherent in any portrayal of cult-like behavior.

This addition to the series leaves me with more questions than answers. I’m eager to see what Robert Galbraith offers next.

Kudos, Mr. Galbraith, for keeping your readers enthralled and eager to discover how Strike and Ellacott continue to collaborate as a dynamic duo.

The Running Grave is available at:

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