Tag Archives: Cormoran Strike

Book Review: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling) (4/5)

19 Mar

I’m loving this series so far. With all the free time I suddenly have, I may have to look into finding the BBC mini series so I can watch it as well. I’ve heard that’s well done. But I like having my own picture of Robin and Strike in my head and I’m not sure I want to change that.

Cover image via Goodreads

Lethal White (Cormoran Strike #4) by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Other books by Galbraith reviewed on this blog:

Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)
The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2)
Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3)

Summary from Goodreads:

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.

I’d been hoping the series would start focusing on Strike and Robin’s lives a little bit more. I think with Robin’s wedding being a large part of the last book, it was finally time and I’m so excited about the change. It was fun to see the characters develop alongside the plot and I’m OK with how long this book was to accommodate so much. Rowling didn’t give up the mystery in favor of the character development. The mystery was still twisted and fun to unravel. I hadn’t seen the end coming until the big reveal. I’d seen glimpses of it but as a whole it took me by surprise. And I loved it.

Robin is a very real character. Her relationship with Matt is so well done. I understood why she fell in love with him and why she married him even when I hated him. Her feelings are very relatable and she’s changed a lot through the books and I like how that personal growth is reflected in her marriage. Strike has been less dynamic but his relationships with women are still interesting and fun to read about.

Strike continues to be a favorite character in this series. He’s constantly underrated and dismissed by people who can’t get past his handicap. But he proves time and time again that he’s more than capable and better than those on staff at the police. I can’t wait to see where his character development goes as I think there’s some more change coming to his character soon.

I felt as clueless as Izzy through the story and I liked her a lot because of it. I didn’t understand how most things were connected or why people were acting certain ways. I was unable to switch my perception of certain characters from what I first knew to a different reality. It made it easy to identify with Izzy and understand why the revelations about her family were so hard to stomach.

J.K. Rowling
Image via The Telegraph

I loved Robin’s plot line as it dealt with Matthew and Sara. That was the only thing I’d guessed before it was revealed. I think Robin was too close to it to see the obvious signs and she was too swept up in the case to look too closely at the clues. I’m glad it wrapped up the way it did and I regained a lot of respect I’d lost for Robin.

The beginning of the novel was frustrating for me. I didn’t like the strained relationship between Strike and Robin. It felt weird that after the wedding, things would be so different between them, but I understood why. After being so close and open for so long, Robin was keeping a big secret. I like that work was able to reconnect them even when Robin continued to keep her persona life to herself. Once that awkwardness went away, I was less stressed out about the book and enjoyed it a lot more.

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Robert Glenister. He’s narrated all of the Strike books so far and I think he does an amazing job. The accents he uses for each character are reflective of their regions (as best as I can tell) and his voices for women don’t seem offensive to me. I liked how he changed Robin’s voice when she was acting under cover. The bored tone he gave the Chiswell’s when they were being pompous jerks was great, too.

Privilege and wealth were very prominent in the Chiswell children. It was a big motivator for all of them. Even Izzy, who seemed immune, seemed drawn to strike because he knew Charlotte and that made him desirable. It was their eventual ruin. With their father’s fortune in shambles and his life falling apart, they didn’t know what to do with themselves and the little they could continue to hold onto. The Lethal White of the title could easily refer the children who looked perfect on the outside but were destined to die.

Writer’s Takeaway: The blend between character development and mystery was great in this book. I loved the details of the case because it kept you guessing. The initial contact with Billy was great because he was so psychotic that you had no idea what to think of what he’d seen. I liked that the book ended with following up on this starting point. It was a good way to bookend the story.

Overall, a really enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to continuing the series. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Book Review – ‘Lethal White’ by Robert Galbraith | BookBloggerish
‘Lethal White’ by Robert Galbraith | papergirl

Book Review: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (5/5)

31 Jul

I waited a long time to read this. I’ll continue to tell myself it’s so I wouldn’t have to wait too long for the fourth book to come out, but in reality, it’s because I didn’t want to bother with an audiobook on CD. It bugs me to have one just in the car. I have a short commute to work and I do most of my listening while running which means CD audiobooks take me a very long time to get through. I was finally ready to enjoy this one, though. And I’m so glad I did.

Cover image via Goodreads

Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

Other books by Galbraith reviewed on this blog:

The Cuckoo’s Calling
The Silkworm
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Harry Potter y el orden del fenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y el misterio del principe by J.K. Rowling
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

Summary from Goodreads:

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

I felt the last book was really building to some relationship drama between Strike and Robin and this book did not disappoint! The killer involved was a great mystery as well. I was guessing the whole time who the guy could be and I was even questioning men like Wardle because I knew it would be someone we’d already met and I wanted to be ahead of Strike for once. I’d written the real killer off a long time before for similar reasons to Robin, but I really enjoyed figuring out what was going on.

The one thing that confuses me in the whole book is Robin and Matthew’s relationship. I don’t get why she keeps going back to him. Honestly, I don’t know if I could if my husband was as terrible as Matthew. Other than that, I loved the characters even more than in the last book and I can’t wait to see what Galbraith does with them from here. It’s going to be a very different dynamic in their relationship now.

I adore Robin. I love her even more now that she’s talked about his history a little more. She’s a very strong character and I feel like she’s finally learning how to be strong on her own because of her job with Strike. Again, if she hadn’t stuck with Matthew, I think I’d like her more, but I can see how she’d want to continue with the relationship. In all honesty, it was the easier decision. I hope that’s not why she did it, though.

I related to Robin more than I’d like to admit, but in a way that I think most married people can. I got cold feet for a bit during my engagement. There, I said it! I was 23 and getting married to someone I’d known since I was 14. I don’t think it’s unusual to second guess a life-changing decision for a minute before you make it and I know my husband and I had a few conversations that helped me feel reassured we were making the right decision. Though we had nothing as big as Robin and Matthew’s trust issues to deal with, yikes!

J.K. Rowling
Image via The Telegraph

The investigation of the three men was great, but I really enjoyed the chapters from the killer’s point of view. It helped me guess along which was fun. One of the complaints I’ve had with this series is that you can’t try to figure out the murderer along with Strike because some things are kept from the reader. Having the chapters from his view helped me feel closer to the answer and once it was revealed, I felt like I should have figured it out! Not from Strike’s evidence but from something in one of those chapters. I thought this was a good addition to the book structure.

I’m repeating this a lot, but Robin staying with Matthew kind of bothered me. She’s strong and gutsy in work, but it doesn’t carry over into her personal life and it frustrates me. I wonder if this will start to develop going forward in the series. She seems a bit committed at this point, though!

The audiobook I listened to was narrated by Robert Glenister, the same man who narrated the first two books in the series. I think he does a great job with the books. He easily slips into an American accent when needed and I think (though I’m no expert) he does different accents for the British characters depending on where they’re from. None of it seems oddly forced and I really enjoyed listening to him read this book!

Robin’s revelation about her past was a big part of her character development in this book. I liked what Galbraith was saying about Robin being seen as more than the victim of her circumstances. Knowing that Rowling is a feminist and rather outspoken, this was a consistent message with what I know of her. Robin didn’t talk about what happened to her because she was seen as a victim and some saw her as inviting what happened to her. I think that happens a lot with rape victims and I think Rowling addressed what Robin went through well.

Writer’s Takeaway: I can’t get over how much I liked the chapters from the killer’s point of view! It added just enough dramatic irony that I stayed more engaged than I otherwise would have. For these hard-to-solve mysteries, it was great. Especially because the clue that gave it all away was something I, as an American, would never have picked up on.

I enjoyed this story a lot and I’m now eagerly anticipating the fourth installment. Five out of Five stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Career of Evil by Rober Galbraith | A Captivating Thriller or a Huge Disappointment | Whimsy Pages
“Career of Evil – Cormoran Strike #3” by Robert Galbraith | Mike Finn’s Fiction

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (4/5). Like Princess Diana’s death, if she was a model in 2010.

24 Apr

I waited five months for this audiobook and I think ‘devoured’ is the proper adjective to describe how quickly I got through it. I’ll admit that I wanted to read this book only once finding out that Robert Galbraith is a pen name for J.K. Rowling. I was semi-impressed by The Casual Vacancy and wanted to see if Rowling could do something else better. I think she succeeded.

Cover image via Goodreads.com

Cover image via Goodreads.com

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

Cormoran Strike is not what one thinks of when the word ‘hero’ is mentioned. Strangely tall, missing a leg and none-too attractive, Cormoran is down on his luck in a floundering private investigation business. To top it all off, he’s just broken up with his long-term girlfriend the same morning that John Bristow walks into his office. John wants Cormoran to re-investigate the death of his sister, super model Lula Landry, whose passing has been ruled a suicide. Thinking he’ll find nothing, Cormoran starts interviewing witnesses and friends and soon finds out that there was a lot more happening in the life of this rich and famous model that anyone originally though. It’s not only Lula’s secrets that Cormoran will uncover by the end of the book but those of most of London’s elite.

Having read all of Harry Potter and also The Casual Vacancy, I wasn’t sure what I should anticipate from this book. I knew it was about a PI, but I guess I didn’t expect it to be a mystery novel. I realized as I typed that how stupid it sounds. I guess you could say I went into this with an open mind. That seems fair.

One criticism I have for Rowling is that she has too many characters. For a seven book series, you can have hundred of characters, but for a stand-alone book like The Casual Vacancy or a book where (one assumes) the characters won’t re-appear in later installments, she tends to create too many. That being said, I love the characters she does create. She created characters that broke their own stereotypes. Ciara Porter is going to read Literature at Oxford, Lady Bristow is smotheringly affectionate, and Lula herself  seems to have a stronger moral compass than any of the characters put together. At the same time, some characters are exactly who you think they are, such as Allison and Cyprian. Rowling has a natural talent for creating characters.

Robin was by far my favorite character. I loved her fight between doing what she enjoyed and what she should. Even though her fiance Matthew tries to get her to take an HR position, she wants to stay with Strike so badly that she avoids telling him about the other position and has to defend her boss to her new fiance on a nightly basis. The decision between exciting detecting work and a better paying repetitive desk job haunts Robin’s time in the novel. I loved this because it mirrors how I feel about writing and books. I work to live. For me, life is about writing and throwing myself int a book and less about [insert what I do for a living here]. I’m jealous that Robin could do something she enjoyed for a living.

My other favorite character was Strike. I loved how he was an unlikely hero with so many layers. His time in the army affected him and in his investigations the father he’d never known defined him. I look forward to more books with Cormoran because I’d love to see where Galbraith goes with him.

I loved the part when Cormoran goes to a club with Ciara to meet Evan. I thought the way Ciara acted was a perfect stereotype of a dumb blonde model and it had me laughing the whole time. I could picture Duffield so perfectly in my head that I knew he was drawing his knees to his chest before it was in the narration. Strike was so out-of-place in the scene that it was overly comical and yet highly emotional, two feelings that played well of each other in Rowling’s appraising eye (can you tell yet I don’t know if I should refer to the author as Rowling or Galbraith?).

The one thing I didn’t like about the book (and I suspect this is personal preference) is that there weren’t many clues that Cormoran was figuring out the mystery until he finally reveals his findings to John in the book’s climactic scene. I would have liked to see Coromoran’s suspicions connecting along the way and the pieces falling into place. I suspected Tony Landry for a lot of the book but I couldn’t figure what about him I found fishy until Cormoran laid it all out. I think solving it a little at a time instead of all at once would have been better for me.

This book seemed a little like Princess Diana’s death to me because of the focus on media influence. Lula’s life was in turmoil because her privacy was constantly invaded by the media; her phone was tapped, they waited outside her flat, her relationship with Evan was public knowledge, and a picture of her dead on the street was front page news. I wonder if Rowling wanted to comment on this because of her new-found fame after the Potter success. I hope that there aren’t paparazzi lurking around her house and taking pictures of her kids after school. I’d feel really bad if they did.

Writer’s Takeaways: I think the one lesson I learned was even if a character is only appearing briefly, that’s no reason not to develop him or her. Rowling develops all of her characters so well when introduced and it’s a really admirable strength. However, if you can’t develop a character, maybe he or she isn’t needed. There is such thing as too many characters.

A really fun read. I greatly enjoyed it. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

Related Posts:
Review | Cormoran Strike: #1 The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (AKA J.K. Rowling) | The Skeptical Reader
Book Review Wednesdays: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling) | so writes rachael
Stephanie on Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith | Russell Books


You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!