Lethal White – Robert Galbraith

The latest book in the Strike series, Lethal White takes you in and around London with Strike and Robin as they pursue a story shared by an unusual client of debatable credibility. As the private investigators try to dig deep into the case, they are forced to admit the complexity of the circumstances – professional as well as personal . . .

Author: Robert Galbraith

Publisher: Sphere

Genre: Crime 

Book length: 647 pages

Recommended for: Crime book lovers, Readers of all age groups


Insights on the Plot

Private investigator Cormoran Strike’s agency is finally seeming to be on an upward trajectory after the case of the Shacklewell Ripper. Robin is now a salaried partner in his agency along with the addition of a few freelancers that Strike has hired for handling multiple cases. Just when things are seeming to be streamlined, at least on the professional front, Strike is visited by Billy Knight, a young man who tells him that he may have witnessed a murder during his childhood.

Strike does not seem too sure about Billy’s theory at first given the fact that he seemed mentally disturbed but he forages into the case simply because it is more challenging than the mundane cases that he has been receiving. Once in, the case keeps popping up new angles with multiple suspects, each having their own motive behind a sinister murder. To add to his woes, Strike’s relationship with Robin is on a different tangent especially after the events of the past. With the plot thickening with its twists and turns even greater than those of the cobbled streets of London, Strike must keep a clear head and be sharper than he had been until the present.

Understanding the Characters

Cormoran Strike is the protagonist of this highly acclaimed series. Portrayed as a war veteran with half a leg missing and his bulky frame, one would never assume him to steer towards a career in private investigation. However, this fact in itself of having a detective who is not cliched makes his character appealing to readers. It tells us to pursue our ambitions rather than wasting our energy thinking we are not suited for a particular thing.  Strike is not the six-packed, super-smart detective who magically knows the reason behind everything. All the books in the series have made us go through his personal and professional struggles as we turn the pages emphasizing the fact that there is no such thing as being perfect.

Robin Ellacott is your smart and efficient heroine who, despite being aware of her qualities lacks a bit of self-confidence. Being in the investigative business is her dream and this makes her do things like sneaking off from home, displaying a presence of mind and shadowing suspects – things that she wouldn’t have done otherwise. She is another great example of people who face their demons despite being afraid. There is more substance to this young lady from Yorkshire with a pretty face and a humble head. Torn between Matthew Cunliffe and her love for her job, she realizes that Strike has started occupying her thoughts more often then she would have liked to admit. Is it just because of stress or is there something more to the recurrent thoughts?

A Reader’s Take

The latest book starts off from where it left its readers wondering about what Robin would actually do! It then takes a year-long leap and propels us into Cormoran Strike’s office, his current cases and his team of freelancers. Then, of course, comes Billy Knight and his case!

The investigation begins and takes us on a tour of London and its pubs in just the way we loved! The plot has been worked upon so meticulously that it is difficult to spot loopholes or even get bored! Though there are a lot many characters and theories, the resulting complexity will make you keep reading at the edge of your seat rather than get your head all muddled up in a way that you might lose interest in reading. This is a commendable aspect of the book as we do not have many writers who can maintain the integrity of the plot so beautifully without affecting the reader’s sanity!

Strike and Robin have evolved in their professions as they undertake steps that we have never seen them taking before. It all seems quite professional and believable. Their knack of getting people to talk is natural and does not seem forced. The challenges that Strike faces due to his disability are real and honest without much fuss and just reiterates that fact that we are humans beneath our flawless skin and expensive shoes.

Another aspect that fans have been tethered on to in the books was the direction in which Strike and Robin’s friendship was going. Though the book has provided some more clarity on this, fans will have to hold on to their horses!

Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling has admitted that Lethal White was ‘one of the most challenging books I’ve written,’ it sure does seem worth to have waited for such a long time to get my hands on this book. The plot and the characters are well thought of making the book impossible to put down and giving the reader a sense of satisfaction once they are done reading it. The man in Finsbury Park does seem to be a promising part of the next book though. Wonder if he is just a potential client or . . .

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