Back in 2013, Robert Galbraith came on the scene with a book called The Cuckoo's Calling. It was the first in what would become a series of books about a London-based private investigator named Cormoran Strike.
Except that Robert Galbraith wasn't a real person.
Robert Galbraith was actually JK Rowling, the world-famous author of the Harry Potter series.
The Cormoran Strike Books in Order
The Cormoran Strike mystery novels are set in London, beginning with the year 2010. Cormoran Strike is relatively new to owning his own detective agency, but he has a military background with history as a Royal Military Police Special Investigation Branch investigator. He's also an Oxford-dropout and the estranged, illegitimate son of rock star Johnny Rokeby (thanks to his late mother, famed groupie Leda Strike).
His assistant Robin begins the series as a temp worker sent over by an agency he forgot to cancel with. She's a newly-engaged college dropout with a traumatic past and a seriously unpleasant fiancé.
Both are tremendously competent, and the series follows the two as they solve tough cases and develop a close friendship.
At present, there are five books in the series, and a sixth is expected to come out sometime in 2021 or 2022.
Do I Need to Read the Cormoran Strike Novels in Order?
Though not absolutely necessary, we definitely recommend reading the Cormoran Strike books in order. Each book has a self-contained mystery, but unlike some mysteries where the books are almost entirely about the case, the Cormoran Strike novels also include quite a bit about the personal lives of Strike, Robin, and some of the side characters.
The mysteries will still make perfect sense if you read them out of order, but you'll feel a bit lost in terms of character development and relationships. You'll be able to piece most of it together, but it won't be nearly as satisfying.
Cormoran Strike Book 1: Cuckoo's Calling
On a cold winter night, a troubled young model, Lula Landry, falls off her balcony to her death. Police deem it suicide, but her brother's doubts lead him to hire Cormoran Strike to investigate.
Cormoran Strike Book 2: The Silkworm
In The Silkworm, Strike is approached by the wife of novelist Owen Quine. He's gone missing again, and she needs him to place a call and help track him down. Unfortunately, this disappearance isn't as simple as all the others.
Cormoran Strike Book 3: Career of Evil
Robin is settling into her job and planning a wedding until one horrifying day when someone sends her a severed leg. Together, she and Strike rush to figure out why they were targeted – before the bad press scares off all their clients.
Cormoran Strike Book 4: Lethal White
As the book opens, a mentally ill man named Billy visits Cormoran's office seeking help with a murder he thinks he witnessed as a child. As Cormoran and Robin investigate, it draws the attention of a PI hired by a member of Parliament who's being blackmailed. Before too long, the two of them are in the middle of a high-profile investigation with ties to both grassroots activists and some of the country's most prominent politicians.
Cormoran Strike Book 5: Troubled Blood
While visiting family in Cornwall, Cormoran is approached by a woman seeking answers about her mother's disappearance 40 years prior. Though he knows it will be tough, he and Robin decide to tackle the puzzling cold case.
Cormoran Strike Book 6: Coming Soon, No Title Announced
Funny you should ask. I'm with him right now in a crowded London bar. But we're also in 2015. https://t.co/6gzc1rleCY
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) April 25, 2020
Few details have emerged about the sixth novel in the series, but we know it's coming. More importantly, we know JK Rowling has been working on it for some time now, so there's a small chance it may come a little faster than some of the previous books.
On April 25th last year, she tweeted that she was “with him right now in a crowded London bar”. Since the series is always set several years in the past, Cormoran and Robin have a while before they encounter the mess than was 2020.
In November 2020, she spoke with Graham Norton about The Ickabog, but they also chatted a bit about the Cormoran Strike books (7:27 mark). She confirms that she's still working on the sixth novel, and that – lockdown permitting – Troubled Blood will be adapted and filmed for television. You can listen to the full interview HERE, but the Strike part is incredibly brief. She just confirms the details we mentioned here.
Get it: Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Audio Book | Bookshop.org (support independent bookshops)
The Cormoran Strike TV Series: Strike (UK) or CB Strike (US)
If you enjoy the books, don't miss the TV series. Tom Burke and Holliday Grainger are exquisitely cast in the roles, and while we strongly feel every book should have been adapted into a six-episode series, they're still very enjoyable in their shorter adaptations.
In the UK, the episodes have aired on BBC One. If you missed their original air dates and you can't find them on iPlayer or another streaming service, you can pick up the DVDs below:
In the US, HBO Max is now the exclusive streaming outlet for the series. You can also purchase a streaming copy of the season HERE (check the SD price rather than the default HD if you're on a tight budget).
Lethal White has only just premiered in the US at time of writing (February 2021), but we expect it will eventually make it to DVD.
What's Your Favourite Cormoran Strike Novel?
If you've read the series, let us know what you think! Which book was your favourite? For us, it's definitely Troubled Blood. Aside from offering a long and fascinating case, we loved the personal side of the story. The next entry in the series can't come soon enough!
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