Private Detective Cormoran Strike is contacted by a worried father whose son, Will, has gone to join a religious cult in the depths of the Norfolk countryside.
The Universal Humanitarian Church is, on the surface, a peaceable organization that campaigns for a better world. Yet Strike discovers that beneath the surface there are deeply sinister undertones, and unexplained deaths.
In order to try to rescue Will, Strike’s business partner, Robin Ellacott, decides to infiltrate the cult, and she travels to Norfolk to live incognito among its members. But in doing so, she is unprepared for the dangers that await her there or for the toll it will take on her…
The Running Grave is another brilliant release in the Strike series, which is one of my favourite ever Detective series. Clocking in at over 900 pages (so not as long as the last release, The Ink Black Heart, which was 1,391 pages!) it’s a chunky book, but I loved every single page.
As I often say, this series is like returning to old friends. We’re back with Strike, Robin and the agency. And this time, the main case is a very intriguing one, because it revolves around a cult called ‘The Universal Humanitarian Church (UHC)’. The agency is hired to try to find out more about it and get their wealthy client’s son out – and to do so, Robin goes undercover into the Church to try and find out what secrets it’s keeping.
There is SO much tension in this book – far more than any of the others – because Robin is in such a precarious situation for a large chunk of the story. The cult elements are absolutely fascinating – I’ve always found literature and films about cults very interesting and this is no exception (even though, yes, I know the UHC isn’t actually real!). There are some truly dark themes in this book, but it adds to the tension – it certainly doesn’t shy away from addressing them.
Of course, we also have Strike and Robin’s feelings for each other still playing a big part in how they interact, and some brilliant characters around them who I loved reading about. There’s something about the writing that means, even if the characters are talking about something quite every day, I am utterly absorbed.
I couldn’t put this book down and, despite it being three times the size of the average book I’d read, I raced through it, reading it at EVERY opportunity. Every new release in this series is a joy to read and I can’t wait for more to come. Brilliant!
My rating: 5/5