Evan Willis: Running Grave Review

I received my digital copies (Kindle and audiobook) of The Running Grave on Tuesday morning, and started reading through as fast as I could, eager to get to the story. I finished reading late on Thursday. Except perhaps out of a care to avoid recency bias, I would say that it is my favorite Strike book yet. It is brilliantly complex in plotting, its structural and motivic ties to the other books are well constructed and deeply fun to find, and Rowling has surpassed herself in the depth of depiction of her characters. I was also interested in seeing how various theories of mine were stacking up to our large new data-set. I will begin with my favorite new piece of parallel series connection, the degree to which Rowling made sure that there was a parallel to the “Tale of the Three Brothers” as centerpiece of The Running Grave. Back in July, I proposed a theory that the series was structured as a Pythagorean Tetractys (the number 10 represented in triangular form) in parallel with the ten books of the Potter novels, IckabogCasual Vacancy, and Christmas Pig. I think the main structure of my theory holds up, but half of the justification for it needed to be rejected. I conclude with a few miscellaneous notes. Spoilers for the entire book follow.

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