Robert Galbraith/ J.K Rowling’s latest Strike novel is the longest and thrilling yet, filled with intricate details that we have come to expect from the author.
There is a noticeable pattern in the Strike novels so far – including Lethal White: the majority focus closely on a element that is important in the author’s life. The Cuckoo’s Calling was very much focused on fame and celebrity, The Silkworm concentrates on the literary world and now the forth instalment Lethal White heads into the world of politics.
Lethal White picks up exactly where Career of Evil left off (Robin’s wedding to Matthew) but soon twists into a story filled with blackmail, corruption, secrets and murder that keeps the reader thoroughly engaged and entertained throughout – particularly as you see Robin and Strike develop and change in their personal lives with each other as well as individually.
The real story begins when Billy, a troubled individual bursts into Strike’s office claiming he witnessed a child being murdered years ago. Despite Billy not remembering any details, Strike sets out to investigate alongside dealing with a case of blackmail right at the heart of government – could the two incidents be related? Along the way both Strike and Robin also have to deal with relationship problems as well as their changing relationship with each other, adding more depth and understanding to their characters than previously seen.
Arguably, the relationships with Robin and Strike’s partners can prove to be a distraction from the main story as well as the overly detailed explanations of daily routines that can become slightly tedious – but for the most part the book is well written and engaging to read.
As always, there are plenty of nasty characters with plenty of motivations to do criminal things whether it is the vulgar political activist Jimmy Knight, the cool but calculating Raphael or the hysterical and snobbish Kinvara – there is nothing redeemable about them but that is in fact why it is so fascinating to read about them, particularly as the story unfolds. It is clear that Galbraith has had a great time creating them and slotting them into the story, weaving their backgrounds effectively into the main plot and giving them a solid purpose.
In Robin and Strike, we have two solid characters who are becoming increasingly likeable with each book as the author highlights each of the key skills as a partnership both professionally and personally. In particular, while Strike is still very much rough around the edges there is a softer side to him that emerges when it comes to Robin. In contrast to this Robin has become a tougher individual and better equipped this time around to handle dangerous situations – despite the panic attacks she now suffers from. It is great to see how each of them have made a mark on each other’s lives in this way.
While elements of the story could have been edited to become slightly sharper and more intense, this is still a thrilling read that is difficult to put down and is perhaps the most enjoyable Strike novel yet.
By Emma Clarendon
Lethal White is available to buy now.