Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Book Review: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (Strike Book 4)




Book: Lethal White (Cormoran Strike Book 4)

Author: Robert Galbraith / JK Rowling 

Pages: 656 

Read on: Kindle 

Read in: Over 2 days 

Plot Summary: '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 more tricky than that. 

Things I Liked: 
  • I have a huge liking for cold cases. Piecing together a crime, following up leads that no longer exist- all from recollections of people from over 20-30 years ago! There is something so inherently challenging about cold cases. So, the premise of this book had me at hello, so to speak. 
  • As you know, this is the fourth instalment in the Cormoran Strike-Robin Ellacot series of books and so, JK Rowling spends a fair amount of time focused on the inner and outer lives of her core protagonists. The book is not just about the crime, but also what is going on in Strike and Robin's life, which was nice given you come to care about these characters over the past three books. 
  • Coming to the case, a highly agitated and, clearly, mentally ill young man comes to see Strike to request him to investigate a murder that he witnessed when he was five years old. Billy could not provide any more details of the place or the people or anything. He even wrote down an address where Strike could come find him, but because he gets panicked, he leaves taking the address with him. What I loved is how Strike figures out the broad location of the Billy's place from the impressions in the notebook where he had written his address and from them on the mystery gets really interesting. 
  • The mystery in this book takes us into the House of Commons, to a country house in Oxfordshire, to squatters and addicts' hiding holes in London and to the excitement and, general chaos, that accompanied the Olympics that were held in London in 2012. I liked the different settings where the story takes place. 
  • The events of the past were also nicely deconstructed. I liked how Strike and Robin find different pieces of the puzzle and put together what had happened all those years ago. 
  • There is also a murder whilst the case is going on, which makes the book even more interesting. The term 'lethal white' and its meaning, however, makes it a little easier to guess who the second killer is, but the how and the why was still nicely explained. 

Things I Didn't Like: 
  • Now, while I like getting to know what is going on in the lives of Strike and Robin, I felt that this book had way too many chapters focused on their personal lives. Robin's post-married life struggles, I didn't really mind, but there were some random encounters between Strike and his psycho ex- Charlotte- which, to me, seemed completely unnecessary! 

Rating: 4/5 

This is a good book to read over a long weekend :) 

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