Title: Lethal White
Author: Robert Galbraith
Publication Date: 18th September 2018
Format: Hardback and eBook
About the book:
“I seen a kid killed…He strangled it, up by the horse.”
When Billy, a troubled young man, comes to private eye Cormoran Strike’s office to ask for his help investigating a crime he thinks he witnessed as a child, Strike is left deeply unsettled. While Billy is obviously mentally distressed, and cannot remember many concrete details, there is something sincere about him and his story. But before Strike can question him further, Billy bolts from his office in a panic.
Trying to get to the bottom of Billy’s story, Strike and Robin Ellacott—once his assistant, now a partner in the agency—set off on a twisting trail that leads them through the backstreets of London, into a secretive inner sanctum within Parliament, and to a beautiful but sinister manor house deep in the countryside.
And during this labyrinthine investigation, Strike’s own life is far from straightforward: his newfound fame as a private eye means he can no longer operate behind the scenes as he once did. Plus, his relationship with his former assistant is more fraught than it ever has been—Robin is now invaluable to Strike in the business, but their personal relationship is much, much trickier than that.
What I Thought:
It has taken me both forever and no time at all to read this book. I pre-ordered the hardback and collected it on publication day but barely made it past the prologue before realising that there was no way I was managing this book as a commute read, then I bought the audiobook, and as much as I loved the narration it was just so slow to get through, I only made it through seven or eight more chapters, then ahead of a day where I knew I’d spend a lot of time travelling I saw the ebook reduced to £4.99 and made my third purchase of the book! It seems I finally found the perfect format for me and made my way right through the book in around two days.
Lethal White starts just where Career of Evil left off in the middle of Robin and Matthew’s wedding before jumping forward a month and properly jumping into the plot of this novel when Billy visits Strike’s office and tells him of a young girl he saw being strangled and buried when he was a child. Clearly unwell he runs off when the receptionist calls the police and the story continues as Strike tries to track him down. Before long Cormoran and Robin find themselves stuck in the middle of a political drama as the Minister for Culture hires them to find information on a pair blackmailing him. Soon the case takes a turn that neither of our pair expected!
I found Lethal White slow to start, of course this may be down to me taking a few attempts to buy the book in a format that worked for me but as the plot with Chiswell kicked in I found it increasingly difficult to put down, fortunately all of the travelling I did was solo meaning I wasn’t ignoring anybody for hours on end while I got stuck in. I studied politics at university so generally speaking anything with a political slant tends to interest me, and this was no different, I found the insight into the political underworld and behind the scenes at the Houses of Parliament fascinating! There were definitely a couple of twists I didn’t see coming, and I was impressed with the way everything came together at the end to reach a really satisfying and slightly dramatic conclusion.
As always Cormoran and Robin formed the centre of the book, Cormoran was as always his slightly grumpy stubborn self, but for me the real star of this book was Robin. No spoilers but I really feel that she’s shown such growth across the four books so far, and this book continues that growth, as Robin manages the trauma she suffered at the end of Career Of Evil and becomes more confident in her own abilities.
There were a couple of freelancers that were introduced working for strike in the story, the one who featured most heavily though was Sam Barclay, I found his backstory, the way Strike was originally introduced to him really interesting and I felt he made a really good addition to the story, I hope to see him again in book five! Matthew was particularly odious in Lethal White, there were one or two moments where he definitely deserved a punch in the face. He’s really become a bit of a petulant child and the sooner we see the back of him the better! Strike’s Charlotte also made a return in the story, and I can’t say I liked her any better than originally, I struggled to understand how much of what she said she meant, and how much she was just trying to be manipulative. Of course it’s possible she has convinced herself she genuinely means what she says… I’m not so sure…
Then we reach the cast of characters especially introduced for this story who form the centre of the case. This primarily the Chiswells, The Knight brothers and the Winns. At times I almost felt sorry for the Chiswells – well some of them, it then something else would happen to show that as much as they were troubled by some of the things that happen to them, they were incapable of empathy for anyone that considered beneath them.Geraint Winn showed himself to be one of those people within the House of Commons who seemed to think his position allows him to do pretty much anything he liked. I think this was particularly apt as in the week leading up to me reading this inquiries into both Houses of Parliament concluded and demonstrated the depth of the issues of sexual harassment that takes place in those walls. Jimmy Knight demonstrated just how far being charismatic can get you in life. From a distance, reading his story, he really didn’t seem all that, yet he regularly manages to get women to fall for him and use them to his advantage, it was almost scary to see how much devotion he manages to command from some of the people in his life. Without a doubt the character I felt the most for was Billy Knight, he had a terrible childhood, which clearly continues to affect him into adulthood, yet he was the only one in the case who seemed to act out of a sense of justice, and wanting to know the truth rather than selfish reasons.
This was another great case for Cormoran Strike, and I really enjoyed it from beginning to end. I’ll be keeping my eyes open for anything about book five, I might be sensible and buy the ebook straight away next time! I’m very much looking forward to seeing the TV adaptation of this one, it’s a great story for the cast to get stuck into and I’m looking forward to seeing Tom and Holliday’s take on it.
About The Author
Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym of J.K. Rowling. After Harry Potter, the author chose crime fiction for her next books, a genre she has always loved as a reader. She wanted to write a contemporary whodunit, with a credible back story.
Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike series is classic contemporary crime fiction from a master story-teller, rich in plot, characterisation and detail. Galbraith’s debut into crime fiction garnered acclaim amongst critics and crime fans alike. The first four novels The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013), The Silkworm (2014), Career of Evil (2015) and Lethal White (2018) alltopped the national and international bestseller lists. The first three books in the Strike series have been adapted for television, produced by Brontë Film and Television.
J.K. Rowling’s original intention for writing as Robert Galbraith was for the books to be judged on their own merit, and to establish Galbraith as a well-regarded name in crime in its own right.
Now Robert Galbraith’s true identity is widely known, J.K. Rowling continues to write the crime series under the Galbraith pseudonym to keep the distinction from her other writing and so people will know what to expect from a Cormoran Strike novel
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