Under her Galbraith pseudonym, J.K. Rowling impressively sustains suspense over the course of a lengthy mystery in her fourth outing for London PI Cormoran Strike and his partner, Robin Ellacott. The pair have reunited professionally after the events of 2015's Career of Evil, in which Strike fired Robin for her handling of the Shacklewell Ripper case; their personal relationship remains unsettled in the wake of Robin's marriage to a man who resents her job. The "curious case of a government minister, slashed horses and a body buried in a pink blanket, down in a dell" begins when a man named Billy, "one of those ill and desperate people you saw in the capital who were always somebody else's problem," bursts into Strike's office and claims that he saw a child strangled when he was very young. Billy flees before offering more information, but Strike's curiosity about the possible cold case leads him to try to trace Billy. Soon after, in what seems to be suspicious timing, Strike is retained by Culture Minister Jasper Chiswell to protect him against an extortionist, who turns out to be Billy's brother, Jimmy Knight. Rowling's emotionally intelligent portrayal of her protagonists never overwhelms the whodunit story line. Agent: Neil Blair, the Blair Partnership (U.K.). (Sept.)
When a troubled young man named Billy asks Cormoran Strike to help him investigate a crime he witnessed as a child, the private eye is left deeply troubled. 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 "addictive, murderous fun" for British mystery lovers and crime fiction fans alike (Vox).
"Rowling's wizardry as a writer is on fulsome display in Lethal White ( 3.5/4 stars), a behemoth of a novel that flies by in a flash. This is a crime series deeply rooted in the real world, where brutality and ugliness are leavened by the oh-so-human flaws and virtues of Galbraith's irresistible hero and heroine."USA Today
"At times you might feel as you did when reading the Harry Potter books, particularly later in the series, when they got longer and looser. You love the plot, and you love being in the company of the characters, and you admire the author's voice and insights and ingenuity, and you relish the chance to relax into a book without feeling rushed or puzzled or shortchanged.... Long live the fertile imagination and prodigious output of J.K. Rowling."The New York Times
"If you love the intricate, character-driven mysteries written by Tana French and Kate Atkinson, then chances are good that you'll enjoy the ones by Robert Galbraith. . . . Robert Galbraith knows how to tell a story every bit as deftly as does J.K. Rowling. Cormoran Strike, who lost a leg in Afghanistan, may limp painfully through much of the book, but the tale being told never misses a step."Joyce Sáenz Harris, Dallas Morning News
"Even if the world is the seedy underbelly of contemporary London and not Magical Hogwarts, cracking the cover of a Galbraith novel is like stepping through a portal. You're immersed all at once."Bustle
"Addictive, murderous fun."
"One of contemporary crime fiction's most delightful partnerships."Seattle Times
"Rowling's emotionally intelligent portrayal of her protagonists never overwhelms the whodunit story line."Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"Rowling deftly circumnavigates all of the tropes and constructs that have long since relegated the male-author-dominated thriller genre to a place of ridicule and sheer inanity."
J.K. Rowling returns with her fourth pseudonymous mystery, putting Cormoran Strike and his now-partner in detecting, Robin Ellacott, in the middle of a scheme involving blackmail, murder, and the House of Commons.
Fans have had to wait three years for the latest Galbraith (Career of Evil, 2015, etc.) novel, but the book picks up exactly where the last installment left off, with Strike arriving late to Robin's wedding, just after she says "I do" to her odious fiance, Matthew. Strike had recently fired Robin from her job at his private detective agency, worried about her safety after a serial killer tried to make her his next victim, and Robin is more concerned with whether he's going to hire her back than about making sure the wedding guests are enjoying themselves. Not-really-spoiler-alert: He is. Flash-forward a year, and the agency is prospering when a mentally ill man named Billy shows up with a half-coherent story about having witnessed something terrible when he was a child: "I seen a kid killed…strangled." Soon after, Jasper Chiswell (pronounced "Chizzle," in the obscure way of the English upper class), the Minister for Culture, hires Strike to find dirt on two people he says are blackmailing him: Geraint Winn, whose wife is another government minister, and Jimmy Knight, who, not coincidentally, is the brother of Billy, whose story Strike had been looking into. Robin goes undercover in Chiswell's office, where we meet a variety of the minister's colleagues, friends, and family members. Rowling keeps many balls up in the air—perhaps too many considering the dead body that gets the book off the ground doesn't show up until Page 281. There are still another 366 pages to go, and much of that length is a slog. Robin, who can be a great character, spends way too much time wondering what to do about her personal life—for the fourth book in a row. The mystery itself is complex, which is good, verging on convoluted, which is not. There are pleasures to be had, as in Rowling's jokes on her uber-posh characters: " ‘Steady on, old chap,' said [Chiswell's son-in-law], something that Robin had never thought to hear outside a book." But there's way too much filler in between.
Let's hope Rowling's next book is sharper and shorter.