This is the second book in the mystery series that begins with The Cuckoo's Calling. Private detective Cormoran Strike - an Army veteran who lost a leg in the Afghanistan war - is hired to find eccentric writer Owen Quine. Quine walked out after a dispute with his agent and hasn't been home for two weeks. Before long Strike finds Quine's rotting body - trussed, disemboweled, and burnt with acid.
Quine was an unpopular guy who had recently written a book maligning almost everyone in his orbit: his wife, agent, editor, publisher, mistress, fellow writers, and so on. Thus there are plenty of suspects in this mystery, which is essentially a cozy.
The cozy atmosphere is bumped up, however, by Strike's bum leg and the bad weather. Strike repeatedly injures his bad knee and is forced to hobble around on his prosthesis or crutches, often in freezing temperatures with snow incessantly falling. The author's descriptions are so vivid that I could almost feel the icy weather myself.
As in the first book in the series, Strike's secretary and assistant Robin Ellacott - who longs to be a detective herself - is ready and anxious to lend a hand in the investigation. Some characters from the first book are on hand, including Strike's loving sister Lucy; his wealthy (almost high-society) half-brother Al; and Robin's resentful, jealous fiancé Matthew (when will Robin realize he's not right for her?).
Strike's constant financial woes make it necessary for him to work on other cases while looking for Quine's killer and these investigations - which generally involve getting evidence on cheating spouses or lovers - are entertaining additions to the main story.
For me the resolution of the mystery didn't quite ring true and wasn't completely satisfying. However I enjoyed the book and would read more adventures involving Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott.
Rating: 3.5 stars