Lethal White (Cormoran Strike, #4)by Published 18 Sep 2018
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“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.
"Lethal White (Cormoran Strike, #4)" Reviews
K, I'm going to put this down. I read 25%, so I'm going to refrain from giving it a rating, as it's not fair. I didn't read enough. And maybe I'll pick it up again some day, but as of right now, I'm having a hard time stomaching it for its... politics.
It's a true reflection of Rowling's staunchly center-left politics, as she takes sharp digs at far leftists as well as the conservatives. That's fine. What bothered me was the incredible lack of nuance in the Israel-Palestine conversation Rowling seemed to be wanting to have. For a topic so sensitive and so relevant, Rowling took a clear side and seemed to be taking digs at anyone who is critical of Israel's position. And for someone like me who has an opinion on the issue, who does take this conflict rather seriously and personally, I simply don't feel like continuing.
The writing was as good as ever. The characters were still the same characters I grew so attached to, and I would love to read this book another time just to find out what happens with Robin and Cormoran, but... maybe another time.
I'd just like to say that for whatever reason, my review does show up near the top of the page, and I know it's visible and people will disagree with me. But please refrain from attacks in the comments. :)
JK Rowling gives us her trademark intricate, tightly plotted, and complex crime fiction in this, the fourth of her engrossing Cormoran Strike series, set amidst the heady and euphoric background of the surprisingly successful 2012 London Olympics. It begins where Career of Evil left off, at Robin Ellacott's disastrous wedding to the sullen and resentful Matthew, with Robin over the moon at being reinstated at Strike's detective agency as partner. Strike is finding his fame is reducing his opportunities to work out in the field, and is forced into a more administrative and organising role as the agency becomes inundated with work. He brings in other operators with mixed results when a young manic and mentally disturbed young man, Billy, seeks him out to tell of a child murder of long ago in Oxfordshire. Billy is vague about details, and though very young himself, he had been drugged, and uncertain as to the veracity of the memories that have eaten away at his sanity through the years. Strike's interest is aroused, specifically with the detail of the pink blanket that lends an authenticity to the tale, but Billy becomes alarmed and runs away.
The narrative has a running motif of horses, Lethal White Syndrome is where a mare gives birth to a pure white foal that appears to be healthy, but is fatally afflicted with a defective bowel, impeding its ability to pass faeces, doomed to not survive. Strike gains a financially lucrative case that oddly enough has connections to Billy where a prominent politician is being blackmailed and needs to find dirt on the perpetrators. In a story set amidst the intrigue and political machinations within the Houses of Westminister, the close knit circles of the privileged classes and far left politics, Strike and Robin find themselves short on leads. They are on the scene of an apparent suicide, have emotionally fraught personal lives, and visit a dilapidated run down Manor House in Oxfordshire, home to the Chiswell family and their secrets. There are a host of suspects that the detectives have to sift through as they endeavour to connect means and motive in their search for the truth, unaware of just how much danger they are in.
This is a long read and I know this will make many readers unhappy, but for me I liked the length as I was thoroughly absorbed by this novel. A particular highlight is the depth of the wide range of diverse characters, and the state of marriage and relationships. Through the years, I have seen at close hand amidst my circles of family and friends, various permutations of the relationships outlined in Lethal White. Della Wynn, the blind Sports Minister makes the insightful observation "I think marriage is nearly always an unfathomable entity, even to the people inside". We see the soul destroying misery of Robin's marriage, Lorelei faced with an emotionally unavailable Cormoran who sees her little more than a convenience, the dysfunctional and destructive Charlotte Ross's marriage to Jago Ross, Jasper's problematic marriages and affairs, Flick and Jimmy's turbulent relationship, and Della forced to confront the reality of Geraint's behaviour. In personal relationships, emotions and the desire to avoid conflict can make it difficult to draw the necessary red lines, Rowling does a sterling job in exploring the nature of relationships in this book. This is hugely entertaining and intelligent crime fiction, and I look forward to reading the next in the series with eager anticipation. Highly recommended!
confession: there are times when i feel like i am an unreliable rater/reviewer. j.k. rowling practically gave me my childhood, so i feel like the least i could do to thank her is by reading and giving all of her books 5 stars. to say im biased would be an understatement. but in the case of this book, i can say, with good conscience, it deserves all 5 of those stars.
i was worried when JKR first began writing for adults, especially under the crime/mystery genre. but four books of this series have proven that she can write whatever she wants and it will be bloody brilliant. one thing i think she does really well, and with this book in particular, is how complex her stories are. no one could dare call her a lazy writer. the plot for this was so intricately crafted and it was absolutely remarkable how everything was woven together. the book blurb doesnt even scratch the surface of what this story entails - there was just so much, so many layers.
and i think because of that, the book did get to be a little lengthy. 650 pages is massive for a mystery/thriller novel. some parts did seem to drag and there was a lot that i felt could have been omitted. but regardless of length, this book always captured my attention. the last paragraph definitely hinted at the beginning of a new case, so i am very excited to see what robin and strike get up to in the next book. fingers crossed it wont be another three year wait to find out!
↠ 4.5 stars
650 PAGES IS TOO MANY PAGES FOR A MYSTERY NOVEL.
That being said, JKR puts together a damn good mystery and I loved all of the actual mystery parts of this story. She is the *best* at creating great and interesting and fun characters. (More Barclay in the next book, kthnx)
However, I think that JKR is pretty terrible at writing romance (don't @ me) and I very, very, very much do not love the whole Robin/Strike pairing and everything surrounding those parts of the story or anything dealing with Robin and Strike's separate relationships. They are a great partnership and the scenes with them solving crimes together are always fantastic, but I do not enjoy the romantic aspect that is super amped up in this one. (Although I know plenty of other people love them as a pairing so you'll probably enjoy those parts of the story)
TL;DR - Great mystery, but I will scream if the next book in this series is this long.
Roses r Red, Violets r Blue, the Cover's Green just to suite you.💚💚
Strike & Robin are back for their biggest case so far..
..case full of Red Herrings & White Horses.
LETHAL WHITEA Minister getting blackmailed, Riot in the Olympics, Mysterious Murder..Goblet of Fire, 's that you?!
Plus, more unexpected twists into the personal life of Strike & Robin..
Certainly I'll miss picturing Hugh & Emma as I used to since my first read, Oct.2013.
Lethal White is 2 Parts book, 2 Cases.. not totally separate but essentially different to investigate..
The story truly sprawling this time... the cases are very complicated with many things need to accomplished...
The Characters facing much harder times, both in their personal lives...and the professional ones due to the high political rank of the client this time.
The Places are even more important and unexpected to be in...
All in all... it's truly one hell of a story this time...
More on that is being written now...
19 September 2018
For more on the amazing chemistry duos... the pre-reviews 2 years ago in the spoiler below..