Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Robert Galbraith - Lethal White

“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.
The most epic Robert Galbraith novel yet, Lethal White is both a gripping mystery and a page-turning next installment in the ongoing story of Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott.

Comment: This is installment #4 in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith, a series I have been enjoying lately. It does make me nervous there's only one book after this one to read, which I haven't got yet but looking at how easy it has been to go through the pages, it will be quick to read the 5th when I get it and then the terrible time until the next one will await. Considering the page count increases with each installment, the wait might be painful...

In this book we follow the general events which took place at the end of the previous story into their natural development, meaning, Robin is now married but not happy and Strike has went after her to tell her he wants her to work for him again.

They obviously have a new case, which ends up in their lap a little by chance. They decide to help Billy, a young man who tells them he saw something a long time ago, but Billy isn't the most reliable of witnesses. To investigate further, Robin goes undercover since Strike is now too famous to play the part of a man of no importance, and what they discover makes the mystery even more complex. When an important man is killed and his murder staged a suicide, will Robin and Strike be able to solve things before it's too late?

I believe I've said before, when commenting on the previous books in the series, that my favorite element in these books is how the author balances the crime investigation and all the steps taken for that with the personal development of Robin and Strike's lives and their work relationship. This second subject is quite complex and takes up quite a big part of the novel but I really like it. The problem is that things happen at a very, very believable pace, which is to say - slow! - and most readers are probably frustrated by now that the little clues and the inner monologues each one of them has about the other aren't yet bearing fruits.

Will it happen in the next book, the admittance of what they feel for each other? The wonder and expectation but you know, even if it doesn't, even if it's slow and frustrating, if it ends up being romantic somehow, I'm all for it. The fact we get so much information about them, about their personalities and opinions and of what happened to them, of how they think, is what makes them memorable characters and why I feel like rooting for them, both as professionals trying to solve a mystery and as two people doing the right thing while they sloooowly fall in love. Well, I hope!

As for the crime investigation, there are many interesting steps taken into making it complex and filled with possibilities. At some point, the identity of the killer felt a little obvious but then a red herring happened and I didn't think about that person anymore so when that ends up being the culprit, I was as surprised as someone who might not considered the idea. It might seem the bad guys' motives are sometimes a bit hard to accept but, then again, there are crazy people everywhere in real life, doing things for the silliest of reasons. I was not wowed by the intricacy of the process, but I did enjoy seeing how Strike and Robin investigated and reached their conclusions.

There is some interesting characterization in these books. The other side of the slow pace and lengthy scenes is that we get to know the main characters pretty well, as well as the possible state of mind that leads them to make the decisions they do. I do like the psychology of this. This means that we get to understand why they are this type of person, why they react the way they do, why certain events affect them in this or that manner... Yes, the same elements don't work the same way for everyone, but I can say I was engrossed in reading this and the personal details of the characters lives' made it compelling. I'm really eager to read the next one...

Grade: 8/10

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