Book Review: Lethal White (Cormoran Strike #4) by Robert Galbraith

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟  (3 stars)

I looked forward to reading this from the moment I finished the third installment and I have to report that I was thrilled to get into it and a little annoyed that it took me so long to get through it. Perhaps my week was busier than I thought it'd be. I checked and this one definitely clocks in at a heftier page count than the prior three books so that may have had something to do with it too.

I'm a big fan of Cormoran and Robin so I do care about them outside of whatever investigation they undertake and the way this began dropped us right back into the moment we left off: Robin's wedding to the weed, Matthew. After so long, I was swept right back into my wishing she'd storm out on that loser and even enjoying those "aww" moments between Robin and Cormoran. All good so far. But then it's 250 pages in and while there's a bit of an investigation going on and the shape of a mystery or three happening, there's still not one of those grisly murders that Cormoran and Robin are so good at solving. It shows up in fewer than 250 more pages and I was grateful but by then, the story started to feel a bit weighted down.

I love Strike-world but if the central murder/case doesn't get off the ground until nearly halfway into the 600+ page tome... I've got to call shenanigans. In my mystery-loving heart, this needed some diligent editing and paring down to the prior books' page counts. The back third is the tightest part and most focused on the actual mystery at hand and it's worthy. I know Matthew's a complete prat (view spoiler), I don't need fifty more examples of how he's an emotionally manipulative jerk nor do I need one more of Cormoran's totally beautiful and completely personality-free ciphers that are just here to service him while he works out that he's got more than just colleague feelings for Robin. And while I appreciate the slow growth of Robin, it's glacial and repetitive. I feel like that's a good 75 extraneous pages gone right there.

I would recommend this for fans of the series because if you're already in, you'll want to continue. If you've casually picked up this one and haven't read the others, stop. Do not pass the first page. Do go back to the first in the series. I look forward to the next and hope for a bit of a tighter narrative. My three stars here notwithstanding, I can't wait.

“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.

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