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Archive for April, 2021

Lethal White is the fourth book in the Cormoran Strike series written by J K Rowling under a pseudonym. In this story, Strike and his former assistant turned business partner Robin, are trying to uncover the truth behind a mentally ill man’s assertion that he saw a child being murdered years ago, and how it ties in to the blackmailing of a government minister named Jasper Chiswell, who hires Strike to find out what the blackmailers have on him. The case takes them into the Houses of Parliament, and leads to them becoming involved in Chiswell’s family, who all have plenty of secrets of their own. Inevitably, it puts them into personal danger too, but these two determined investigators will not be put off.

Meanwhile, the fame brought about by their previous investigation (from book three) means that Strike how struggles with undercover work, as he is now publicly known and easily recognisable, while Robin’s personal life is starting to disintegrate.

This book is the longest and most labyrinthine Strike novel yet, but it’s no less enjoyable than the ones before it; in fact I believe this series improves with each instalment (and that’s coming from someone who really enjoyed the first one). There are plenty of twists and turns, but without the sensationalism that some crime/mystery novels have – it really does feel as though they are working the case and finding clues and evidence slowly but surely. I still adore the friendship and working relationship between Strike and Robin, and look forward to seeing how this pans out in future books.

The ending was a surprise, in a good way!

If you are a fan of crime thrillers or mysteries, then I do recommend the Strike series very highly, but would also suggest that it is advisable to read them in order.

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Audiobook narrated by Aoife McMahon. The narration was excellent.

This is not the first Jo Spain book that I have read/listened to, but it is the first in the DCI Tom Reynolds series. I didn’t realise it was part of a series until after I had started listening to it, but it didn’t matter, as I didn’t need to be familiar with the previous books to follow this one.

17 year old Luke Connolly, dies after being pushed out of a third floor window of an abandoned house, and police quickly arrest and charge his friend Daniel Konate with raping Luke and then murdering him. Luke has a group of well-to-do friends with parents in well paid positions of power, but Daniel, being black, openly gay and from a lower socio-economic group, has never fitted in and only Luke himself really liked him.

When DCI Reynolds is asked by a colleague who also happens to be Daniel’s aunt to look into the matter, because she is convinced that her nephew is innocent, Ton agrees to do so and soon comes to the conclusion that the investigation which led to Daniel’s arrest was deeply flawed, and that there is a strong possibility that Daniel is innocent. He starts to investigate Luke’s other friends and as he does so, secrets are revealed.

I really enjoyed the book for the main part – I definitely liked Tom and his wife Louise, his friend and Chief Superintendent Shaun McGuinness (who is about to retire, and who’s position Tom is about to step into), and colleagues Ray and Laura. Luke is dead at the beginning of the story, and despite what happened to him it soon becomes clear that neither him nor his friends were particularly pleasant people. They have grown up with privileged lifestyles and believe that money and influence will allow them to get away with anything – and so far they have been correct.

I do have a slight niggle about the ending – on the one hand, it came as a complete surprise which is always welcome. On the other hand, it seemed very sensational and unbelievable compared to the rest of the book. Nonetheless the rest of the book held my attention and overall I would certainly recommend it to fans of the mystery genre, and I would definitely read/listen to more of the Tom Reynolds series.

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