The Running Grave to be Published in September

According to Amazon and numerous other booksellers, the official release date in September 26th.  Page count is 832, which may feel like a novella compared to the last two.

Five months to go!  (or, depending on when you are reading this, less.  Click link below to be exact.)

Countdown to The Running Grave

New Twitter Header from London’s Chinatown: #3 Rupert Court

A new and presumably The Running Grave header popped up yesterday.  As usual, our friends at were quick to identify it as from London’s Rupert Court in the Soho area, near China Town. For fans of the TV series, it is the place where Robin laid flowers for Kara Wolfson.

What could it mean?  Possibilities abound.

  1. A hat-tip to Ron Weasley actor Rupert Grint?
  2. A connection to the mystery of the series, and particularly to the I Ching connection, given the location?
  3. As other Strike Fans on twitter have noted, the round sign on the right has the initials, “C & R” at the top.  The business itself is apparently a Malaysian restaurant.  Could one or both of our favorite detective duo take note of the suggestive letters if they pass by, or, better yet, stop for a bite to eat?
  4. Or, perhaps our heroes tail a suspect to the historic The Blue Posts pub?
  5. The business on the left is a reflexology establishment, a traditional Asian healing practice. Could we get an echo of Career of Evil’s visit to the Thai massage parlor, in search of a clue?  Although, with her two feet, Robin might be a more convincing client than Strike for this one.
  6. Though apparently upscale and respectable now, the area has a seedy history, with sex clubs and illegal gambling establishments predominating in the 1960’s.  Could some of these less-than savory establishments lingered into the 1970’s and have been part of Leda’s, as well as Kara’s, checkered past, perhaps even connecting somehow to the Norfolk commune?
  7. Or, if the TV clip was a preview/hint,  maybe this heralds a return of Kara Wolfson’s presumptive killers, the Ricci’s?

I’m going out on a limb and guessing reflexology, but any of those would be fun.  Or maybe we’ll just enjoy a few more helpings of takeaway Singapore noodles. In any case, here’s another potential stop on the Serious Strikers London tour.

Ink Black Horcruxes

Much work has been done tracing the parallels between The Ink Black Heart and The Half Blood Prince. One of more intriguing ones is the plot point of horcruxes and the search for them. Anomie’s sock puppet Twitter accounts were first identified (I think) by Sandy, here in the comments, just a few weeks after the book was published:

– The sock puppet accounts seem to parallel horcruxes, especially when both are designed to bully and torture perceived enemies

Sandy in the Hogwarts Professor Comments

Is this a viable parallel or a reach to far? Find out what the top parallel-pundits think after the jump!

[Read more…]

Laurie Halse Anderson Wins Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

I have written and presented lots about psychology within the Harry Potter and Cormoran Strike series, both at fan events and scholarly conferences.  However, neither J.K. Rowling or Robert Galbraith ever turned up in the audience to hear my talk. However, in 2018, at the UNLV Summit on Young Adult Literature, I was privileged to give a talk on PTSD in Harry Potter, The Hunger Games and in the works of Laurie Halse Anderson, one of the conference keynote authors. I was both honored and frankly terrified to see Ms. Anderson herself turn up as part of the relatively small audience for my talk, but it turned out to be one of the highlights of my professional life. Ms. Anderson was very gracious and appreciative of what I said, and quite supportive of the work I was doing on YAL and empathy.

Ms. Anderson has just been awarded one of the top prizes in children’s literature, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.  I am very excited to see this news and offer my heartiest congratulations.  If any Hogpro readers would like to start a discussion of Speak, Wintergirls or The Impossible Knife of Memory, please chime it!

Louise Freeman — Strike Series Ranking

I decided to do my Strike book rankings in a Dance Moms-style pyramid, because, for me, there is one clear favorite, two great second tiers, and then the rest. I choose the books by which ones I actually enjoyed reading, and re-reading, most.

The favorite: 1. Lethal White. Its position as the midway story turn of our presumed seven series, Potter-parallel series gives this volume a place of its own.  After the high body count and gruesome killings and woman-directed violence of Career of Evil, Lethal White was a like a breath of fresh air. I also have a personal fondness for this book, having predicted years in advance that the London Olympics would form the background, and having speculated on the pre-book predictions podcast that Robin would get to don her Green Dress again for a Yule Ball type event. My chance googling of the name Rattenbury was one of the luckiest “strikes” I ever made in the world of literary sleuthing. And, this book, with its dozens of connections to Goblet of Fire, this book was proof positive of the parallels with Harry Potter.

Other high points: the addition of Barclay to the team, Robin’s undercover action as both Venetia Hall and Bobbi Cunliffe, Strike being there for his critically ill nephew Jack and Robin being there for him, the recurrent white horse motif, the connection to Ibsen’s Rosmersholm, Robin’s A Doll’s House-like dumping of the Flobberworm, and Strike first comforting her on the verge, then buying her a mini-champagne to toast her newfound freedom. Overall, this book was a ideal balance of mystery, action, romance and humor. (“Maybe you should put that on your next employee satisfaction review. ‘Not as f*cking annoying as the woman who shagged my husband.’ I’ll have it framed.”) I think it’s the audiobook  I’ve re-listened to more than any other.

I debated considerably over the next two slots, but I finally decided on 2. The Ink Black Heart and 3. Troubled Blood. These two volumes have a lot in common, starting with their length. It is clear Robert Galbraith was given full freedom to tell the tale he wanted to tell, with minimal editorial interference. The sheer complexity of the cases and the numbers of potential suspects set these two volumes off from the rest of the series. I also like the complexity of the ring composition, with both books having multiple connections to both The Silkworm and Career of Evil, enough to trigger the 5-6 flip hypothesis.

In many ways, I like the content of Troubled Blood better. The cold case was intriguing, it was great to delve more into Strike’s Cornish life and share the heartbreak of Joan’s death and the loss of Ilsa’s baby. Pat was a great addition to the team. Seeing Strike mentally out-duel Creed in the psychiatric hospital was the best good versus evil showdown since Harry and Voldemort circled each other in the Great Hall. And, the whiskey-fueled, best friends talk is right up there with the talk on the verge in terms of Strike-Robin moments to savor. This moment, followed by Barclay’s hilariously ill-timed interruption and Robin’s final disposal of the loathsome Saul Morris to create a trio of satisfying scenes. I also love the trip to Skegness, the bonding over fish and chips and the way Strike follows it up with the balloon donkey.

But, there is plenty to love about The Ink Black Heart as well. I think this book takes the prize for the most Easter eggs to be found upon re-reading. Unlike a lot of readers, I liked the chat room format; I thought the audio-book reveal of the Anomie-Paperwhite connection was particularly well done. The fact that the killer was Anomie and that he was confident enough in his anonymous persona to confess to the murder online multiple times makes his eventual unmasking all the more satisfying. I love that both Robin and Pat got moments to shine in emergency situations, that both Strike and Robin have officially acknowledged their feelings for each other, and that Strike gave Charlotte what may finally be the final heave-ho, after realizing she is not capable of genuine love or compassion, not even for her own children. Contrast that to Robin’s approach to vulnerable characters like Zoe, Flavia and Rachel, and you can see why Strike finally opened his eyes. I don’t think its coincidence that the long-awaited pelican Christ-symbol/ sacrificial mother love representation finally appeared in this book, as a favorite Highgate headstone of foster child Edie Ledwell.  “Morehouse” is certainly one of the more tragic figures of the series. Strike’s sleepover at Robin’s and their subsequent trip to the seaside were all great reads. But what I think I like most is Strike’s own self-improvement efforts: in addition to shrugging off Charlotte, he is giving up smoking, losing weight and trying to care for his leg properly. I share John’s hope that Strike will continue this path in the next book with an upgrade to a better prosthesis.

Why did IBH edge out TB?  Find out after the jump. [Read more…]