"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling has a new book, and it's not about a boy wizard. "Career of Evil," written under Rowling's pen name Robert Galbraith, was getting a mixed reception Tuesday as the third installment in the Cormoran Strike series -- and the darkest one yet, according to reviews. It prompted the Independent, a British newspaper, to crown Rowling "the new queen of crime" but failed to impress others.
"Career of Evil" follows Galbraith's 2013 debut, "The Cuckoo's Calling," and its 2014 sequel, "The Silkworm." Both involve the ornery English detective Cormoran Strike and his persistent partner Robin Ellacott solving high-profile crimes: one about the death of a famous model and the other about the disappearance of a writer.
"'Career of Evil' is the third – and best – novel" in the series yet, according to USA Today. It begins with Ellacott receiving a severed leg in the mail, accompanied by lyrics from the 1970s rock band Blue Öyster Cult. Strike and Ellacott launch an investigation into three suspects who dislike Strike, and it "soon snowballs into a London-wide hunt for a serial killer billed in the tabloids as a '21st-century Jack the Ripper,'" the New York Times reported. Along the way, they encounter pedophilia and body integrity identity disorder, the latter of which involves people who fantasize about cutting off their limbs, the Telegraph reported.
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USA Today gave the book four out of four stars, and the Chicago Tribune wrote that it shows Rowling "has taken full command of the new turf." But the New York Times was so impressed. "Strike and Robin are just as magnetic as ever in 'Career of Evil,' but Ms. Rowling, alas, has plopped them into a story line that feels like a halfhearted recycling of episodes from 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit' and 'CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,'" it wrote, adding that the novel was largely predictable. The Telegraph appeared to agree, calling the killer's thoughts "a bit cheesy" and the language melodramatic.
You can decide for yourself -- Amazon carries the book for $17.18. And if you're more of a "Potter" person, don't despair -- Rowling remains hard at work on the screenplay for "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," a film that takes place in her famous magical world.