Robert Galbraith is a fantastic crime writer. Maybe it’s because he’s a she and she’s JK Rowling. Yes, the very same and yes, Harry Potter. Now that’s over with, and in case you were in any doubt – which frankly you might have been if, like me, you ever tried to read Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy (sleep remedy anyone?) – you should devour not just this book, but all the Robert Galbraith novels. Really, this is modern crime writing at its best and whilst, the series is never going to achieve the incredible fame of the Harry Potter books, they are nonetheless absolutely top-notch.
You could join the series at the point of Lethal White, but I think that you would regret doing so, because then you would only have to go back in time and read the three preceding novels. You see, Cormoran Strike is a very sexy character, in a very damaged way. You might argue that all of these characters have their ‘thing’, but somehow his flaws really work to engage you. Strike, as he is known, is a brute of a man; ex-military, one legged, heart broken, financially distraught, determined and oh, so clever. His ‘partner in crime’ (please excuse the cliche) Robin Ellacott is young, beautiful, fascinated by her work, but also a little brittle.
I’m pretty sure that the first of these books, The Cuckoo’s Calling, in which Strike tries to solve the murder of supermodel Lulu Landry remains my favorite, but I suspect that’s just because it’s where I discovered Strike. Each novel since – and these are lengthy books – has never failed to captivate me. They have that totally ‘unputdownable quality’ of Harry Potter, but are so profoundly different that it’s hard to believe they share an author.
Lethal White sees Strike doing a little better. The business has experienced some success and Strike now has more support and credibility. As a consequence he has taken a job that leads him directly into the heart of Westminster, exploring the working relationships within the Houses of Parliament, and delving into the connections between various parliamentary figures and the murder of a child many years before.
These are winding books, with many characters and plot twists galore, and yet you never get lost. As with Harry Potter, Rowling has a way of writing that simply leads you from page to page; development to development, until you reach the end. Oh the poor family member who strives for your attention during the last fifty or so pages of any of these books! You may never forgive them! So much better than Netflix, especially during a pandemic!