Runes, Nazis, Trolls, Bullies: JK Rowling Strikes Back!

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Runes, Nazis, Trolls, Bullying
JK Rowling Strikes Back!

By Thomas Badke

When Nazi terror meets homophobic cyberbullying, it’s no easy feat. But when this comes from the mind of JK Rowling, who has her successful private detective Cormoran Strike investigate in all directions, it promises suspense, humor and characters with depth.

The strike is back! And that is good. The Cormoran Strike is not a man, he is an apparition. A person you will never forget once you meet him. On the one hand, this is due to his appearance: he lost a leg in the war, has Ludwig von Beethoven’s haircut and also his features, only that a boxer’s nose is decorated in the middle, dating back to Strike’s college days at Oxford. . 6 feet tall, overweight, a Benson & Hedges smoker through and through, a fast food aficionado and a passionate pub-goer. But there is also his inner self: humorous, direct, pointed. Professionally determined and ambitious, personally a teddy bear type to cuddle.


The Blackfathom Heart: A Case for Cormoran Strike (The Cormoran Strike Series Book 6)


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Speaking of which, if Strike had his way, he’d love to cuddle up with Robin Ellacott. It started with him five years ago, coming from an employment agency. Meanwhile, the career changer has become his detective agency partner and the detective agency is known beyond the London city limits. Sometimes a divorce case here, sometimes a little fraud case there. But time and again, a monster suitcase comes around the corner and knocks on the glass office door of the detective agency Strike & Ellacott. Same this time.

The internet never forgets

Ellacott is in the office when a human wreck wants to enlist the services of the detective agency: Edie Ladwell, co-creator of the surprisingly successful animated series “The Deep Black Heart”. Ladwell is being bullied. For years. Low, low below the belt. One of the reasons is the success of the former underground series, which has now landed on Netflix via YouTube and will now be seen on the big screen. The fans of the series are outraged, especially the users of an online game created by fans of the series. Like the series, it is set in Highgate Cemetery.

And there Ladwell is murdered shortly after the visit to the detective agency. A stranger stabs her with a machete and seriously injures her ex-partner and co-developer. Who is behind the cowardly attack? Ladwell’s family and the Hollywood film company hire Strike and Ellacott to find the killer and the background. And the detective agency pulls out all the stops.

Strike and Ellacott shed light on Ladwell’s family, current and former friends, and fired employees. But they always end up in the online game, where one of the protagonists brags that he killed Ladwell. It’s called anomie. But no one knows who is behind the username. The other moderators of the game are also groping in the dark or at least pretending.

Nazi runes and fascist trolls

There are rumors that a right-wing terrorist group, a hallmark of tattooed runes, has infiltrated the game and is using the chat rooms there to plan attacks. Did Ladwell catch them? Was that why she had to die? Or did a former employee take revenge on her, who has now become a YouTube star herself, on the basis of macabre jokes and racist statements? Strike keeps an eye on him.

Ellacott gains access to the game as a user and tries to learn more through various chats. But then the detective agency is bombed, the office is destroyed and Strike survives only by luck. So are the two private detectives on the right track? Is she getting hotter? Or is the killer more likely to be found in an artistic commune founded by a cranky Dutch millionaire and where Ladwell sometimes lived, loved and worked?

Audiobook of the Year!

Strike and Ellacott pull the strings until they find the thread that leads to the solution of the case, to Ladwell’s killer, and to Anomie’s true identity. The audiobook published by Randomhouse Audio, read by “007” dubbing voice Dietmar Wunder, is captivating for over 30 hours. The playing time is an announcement! It may also turn off some listeners. But let me tell you, “The Deep Black Heart” is worth every hour, every minute, every second!

It is the sixth case in the private detective series involving Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott. From the mind of “Harry Potter” inventor JK Rowling, who writes here under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Anyone who picks up “The Deep Black Heart” can therefore rely on absolute literary expertise on the one hand and one of the most well-known audiobook voices in Germany on the other. A perfect package considering the plot, clear dialogues and character depths of the protagonists and supporting cast. You just love to listen, from the first minute. You are immediately drawn into the material and captivated by the way the story is told.

As a writer, Rowling, and therefore also Galbraith, is an absolute people-catcher who is always aware of socially relevant topics that burn people under their fingernails. Although “The Cold Heart” is set in 2015, the themes of cyberbullying, right-wing terrorist cells, fake news in social networks, internet trolls, online game consumption, the sale of ideals, greed and a lack of morality are still more pressing. In other words, Rowling/Galbraith has tackled a social hot topic and implemented it on a page turner that is extremely readable (book published by Blancalet). As an audiobook “Das eiskalte Herz” is even better, thanks to the German voice of Daniel Craig.

The figures of the two protagonists Strike and Ellacott also act as people catchers. They act – despite or because of their rough edges – as the perfect sympathizers. The fact that there is always crackling and sometimes chatter between the two opens up a second interesting level: will the two get along? If so, when and how and completely? Saying too much here would be like naming the killer and revealing Anomie’s identity after just five minutes of the audiobook. In short: to call this a spoiler would be an understatement. But what can be revealed is this: Strike will be back with the seventh case at some point.

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