Career of Evil is perhaps the best Cormoran Strike mystery yet. There’s a serial killer on the loose and Strike’s assistant/partner Robin receives a severed leg in the mail. Strike suspects three men from his past. J.K. Rowling (as Robert Galbraith) knows how to keep the suspense going and the characterization is far better than in the first two books. The pace picks up too. And the ending comes as a surprise. Looking forward to the fourth book.
If it was anybody else, I would have given up long ago. But there’s something mesmerizing about a man left behind on Mars with just enough food and oxygen left for him to stare death in the face. What I disliked about Andy Weir’s The Martian were its science-heavy bits, but without them I suppose astronaut Mark Watney’s survival wouldn’t have been credible. Now to watch the movie adaptation.
Jane Re is a honhyol (half-Korean, half-American) orphan growing up in Queens and doesn’t quite fit in. In this modern-day retelling of Jane Eyre, our heroine becomes the au pair for the Mazer-Farleys. I loved the first half with the author setting the stage for a coming-of-age novel that explores race, identity and class. But Ed Farley is no Edward Rochester. And after Jane moves to Seoul following her grandfather’s death, the novel seems to unravel. Will Jane find a balance between her two cultures? I would say “Re Jane” is a good read, but don’t throw away your well-thumbed edition of “Jane Eyre” just yet.
There is too little happiness in Alice Munro’s “Too Much Happiness”. This collection of short stories by a Nobel Prize-winning author deals with pretty serious stuff — murder, violence, cruelty, self-mutilation and adultery. And yet, there are signs of hope in each tragedy. Munro is a skilled writer who paints her characters with consummate ease. My only quibble is that the last story, the titular one, is a work of historical fiction estranged from the otherwise plebeian lives of small-town Canada.