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text 2018-10-18 16:14
Reading progress update: I've read 60%.
Lethal White - Robert Galbraith

I'm finally getting back to this after a few days off to do some research for the novel I'm planning to write next month. I'm excited to see where it ends up. I suspect it'll be another occasion of me scratching my head in wonder when the killer is revealed. 

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review 2018-10-16 04:49
Strike and Robin working on another possible staged suicide case
Lethal White - Robert Galbraith

A young mentally disturbed Jimmy charged into Strike office claiming he witnessed a kiling of a child. 


He then disappeared. 


Strike was hired to find out who is trying to blackmail a politician. It was speculated that there was no blackmail but a case of this politician wanting to investigate other politician to find dirt to be use against other politicians. 


In the meantime, Robin is having problem in her marriage. Matthew dislike her working at her job. Plus she has panic attack after the last encounter with a killer. 


Strike got a new girlfriend. A no string attach one. But beginning not to be the case. 


The second part pick up faster when the first dead body was found by Robin.


Strike's agent was hired to find out if it is really suicide or murder. 


That take Strike to interview the family members of the dead person. Some liars were found but not necessary link to the killing. 


A lot of separate, seemingly unrelated clues now click into place. At least in Strike's mind. 


The end goes really fast and pretty intense. Almost make up for dragging the case for so long. 


I like it. It is a bit long,. 


Reading this for Darkest London square. 




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text 2018-10-15 04:06
Reading progress update: I've read 500 out of 656 pages.
Lethal White - Robert Galbraith

500 pages in and we still don't know if it is really suicide or a killing.


The running around bit is a bit much. Detective work is grunt work. Interviewing and see if there is any hole in the story. 


Jasper children want to save the man's name. Raff the young son is arrogant as ever. The stinks of entitlement is heavy with this one. He is angry at Robin for pretending to be someone else while doing undercover work. 


Strike is honest at the beginning of his relation with Lorelei. I don't get what's her problem really. When man said he didn't want more than a friend he could shag, he meant it. And if she accepted this term, it means she treat him as a friend who consent for a shag. That's fair. And if there is any change in term, there need to be a honest negotiation. Instead of changing the term one-sided and blaming the other party for not changing the term as she likes it. That's not fair. 


Anyway, Robin has a breakdown of sort when Winn called and insulted her. She felt pretty useless already after being told many times by her husband, who feel entitled to belittle Robin while shagging with his best friend's fiancee Sarah. Two good looking men with nice background and education feeling entitled. 


Robin and Strike finally have a heart to heart and update each other on what's on with their lives. That's clear the air a little. Not sure why Robin wait so late to tell Strike what's going on with the panic attack. 


Like it because I like both characters. Not liking it to be that long. 


Reading this for Darkest London. Finished this and I would have a bingo. 


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review 2018-10-14 20:01
Lethal White Book Review

When I received my copy of Lethal White last week, it reminded me of Order of Phoenix. I was 16 years old when I read Order of Phoenix and oh man, was I tired after reading all night long. The fourth part of the Cormoran Strike series, Lethal White is also excessively long (JKR did it again) but don't let that put you off as I found it the best of the CS books.



This review contains spoilers. You have been warned.


Picking up directly from where Career of Evil left off, the novel shows Strike and his former assistant turned salaried partner Robin falling into an uneasy rhythm following her marriage. This is abruptly interrupted by the arrival of Billy, a highly disturbed young man who comes bearing tales of child murder, before leaving as quickly and loudly as he came.


The events of Lethal White take place during those Olympics, creating a pleasant double effect of a fictional world, written by Robert Galbraith, operating within the timeframes of a real world that includes authorial alter ego J.K. Rowling.  Galbraith/Rowling revealed the title a year ago; I wondered, idly, if the central crimes of the book would have something to do with drugs, perhaps.  Turns out that they don’t, and “lethal white” means something different.  Does “lethal white” also refer to the United Kingdom’s brutal, race-inflected imperialist history?  A little bit, yes, in a background but ever-present sort of way.


With Billy now disappeared, and no real motive to investigate his claims, Strike takes the case of the foppish politician Jasper Chiswell, nicknamed ‘Chizzle’, who is being blackmailed. Keen to avoid divulging what he is being blackmailed about, the Minister commissions Strike and his agency, which now includes several employees, to obtain information he can use against his blackmailers, who, incidentally, include Billy’s older brother Jimmy.

While the 2012 Olympics takes London by storm, the case quickly descends into almost comical absurdity, with Strike and Robin pursuing multiple lines of enquiry, many of which revolve around Chiswell and his laughably posh family. One of the problems I find with Rowling’s Strike series is that I am always unsure if she realises that she crossed the invisible line between light-hearted satire and full-on ridiculousness which is present in all crime fiction.

After all, her protagonist does, on several occasions, mention how posh and out-of-touch his client and his family are, even at one point referring to them as teletubbies, but the reader remains baffled throughout by the intensity of their otherness and the fact that none of them seem to realise how incredibly self-incriminating they are being.

In this latest outing as in all the previous, Strike remains a mess of contradictions. Although Rowling goes to great pains to make him out to be a mess of a man who she describes on numerous occasions as ‘classless’, he also shown to be more at home in a swanky pub in Mayfair than among normal people. He is often slovenly and unkempt himself, yet he judges a young woman for having painted eyeliner over a piece of sleep in the corner of her eye.

The character also mentally derides his latest temporary secretary for not remembering that he detests milky tea despite the fact that he himself is completely incapable of thinking of the feelings of others, even crashing his colleague’s wedding and taking out her flowers in the prologue. Rowling either drastically underestimates the intelligence of her readers or she is unaware of how characterisation works, but either way, the result is the same; a protagonist with all of the sincerity of a Tory election promise.

Then, of course, there is the question of length. I don’t know if you’ve been to Waterstones lately to check it out, but this book is HUGE. In hardback it is over 600 pages long, although a good 300 of these are completely unnecessary. Rowling gets so bogged-down in the minutiae of surveillance and the day-to-day running of a detective agency that she lets her narrative run away from her, and spends fruitless chapters describing the perfectly mundane. There are also far too many needless characters, leaving the reader struggling to keep up with who’s who and what’s what.

Named after the colloquial term for a horse that is doomed to die due to a genetic condition, the one thing that Lethal White does have going for it is its foreshadowing. Rowling is able to skilfully direct her readers where she wants them to, and at times it is intriguing to realise where a certain detail came into play previously. Each chapter begins with a line from Rosmersholm, a play by Henrik Ibsen, which focuses on a time of political change and the emergence of a new order, a metaphor for the downfall of the Chiswells, whose gilded life is quickly disintegrating as the case develops.

There is also some great skill shown in Rowling’s depictions of her disgustingly upper class characters, particularly Jasper Chiswell. There is one scene, in which he is chewing with his mouth open, and he spits a piece of potato at Strike, which is so vivid that I physically reacted (the poor chap on the train next to me thought I was mental, but there you have it).

These brilliant, emotive stretches of text are interspersed with a lot of waffle, but there is some narrative excellence. Robin and Strike’s relationship is brilliantly handled, and it is great that their strange passion for each other does not overwhelm the main plot.

All in all, Lethal White remains by far the best of the Strike novels, although it is, fundamentally, too bloody long and at times completely absurd. Hard-core Rowling fans will love it; anyone else is better off elsewhere.

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review 2018-10-12 20:13
Overcomplicated Plot
Lethal White - Robert Galbraith

Now let's agree on something at the start of this review, I love the writing of Robert Galbraith. This is the fourth outing for PI Cormoran Strike and his now partner in crime the effervescent Robin Ellacott. At just under 650 pages Lethal White is not for the faint hearted, dip in and out, casual browser, it requires some serious concentration and reading time. It is not really the length of the book that is the problem to me, the first 3 in the series are all around the 600 page mark and the authors style of interactive, descriptive writing lends itself to a heavy page count. The real issue I have with Lethal White is an over complicated plot and a story that at times seems to run around in ever repeating circles (thank goodness for those lighter moments involving Strike, Robin and Mathew) We have a murder, a possible historical murder, blackmail, complicated family structures and a seemingly endless list of well heeled yuppies (upper class twits to you and me) who do not speak in the vernacular but rather their own adapted version of the English Language (think ya instead of yes and you get the idea!) and with an ever flourishing list of gold collar names....Kinvara, Izzy, Fizzy, Venetia, Raff, Torquil, Jasper, Tegan. This scenario creates an endless list of possible perpetrators that would be the envy of a hardened Agatha Christie devotee.


However the real enjoyment from this series is the interplay and relationship, if any, between Robin and Cormoran now that the former has married her childhood sweetheart and controlling boyfriend Matthew. Strike is a damaged Afghanistan war veteran who lost a leg when his vehicle encountered an improvised explosive device (IED) As a PI in modern day London he must perform his job with the additional handicap of a prosthetic lower right leg. We the reader feel the grief and agony as our damaged antihero must battle not only evil, but the constant pain and suffering from an unforgiving and over used body. The best book in the Strike series is No 3 Career of Evil when a gruesome amputated limb is received at the PI's London office. Book 3 is a gritty affair relying a lot more on action and plot rather than endless "upper-class" dialogue the downfall of Lethal White. I accept that the Strike series is not an arena for serial killers but equally it should not be the playground of an Oxford/Cambridge debating society so let's hope for a much more gritty detective in outing No 5. A worthy but essentially disappointing read.

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