Possessing the ability to leave you startlingly shellshocked yet completely spellbound during the course of a sentence; J. K. Rowling shall forever be my favourite author. Four novels and five years deep into her Cormoron Strikes series, Rowling – under the moniker of Robert Galbraith – may have just produced her finest art to date, with the compelling, explosive Lethal White.
A web of lies, deceit, and unuttered family secrets: a Tory minister, broken relationships, horses and simultaneous scandals. Lethal White opens with a wedding and closes with the promise of reconciliation and packs a serious, magnetic punch throughout.
In the centre of Rowling’s most ambitious novel to date stands the magnificently sharp Strike and his junior partner, Robin Ellacott, (one of the finest female protagonists floating through the world of fiction.) While tackling the murder of a bleach-soaked sacrificial victim and the Shackwell ripper seemed tough, the unambiguous, spiralling twists of Lethal White make the previous Strike novels a walk in the park.
We are greeted with a peculiar meeting with a tic-suffering boy named Billy who swears he witnessed a girl being murdered in his home-town. Simultaneously, Strike begins investigating and digging up information surrounding the blackmail of a parliamentary figure. As the stories begin to entwine more frequently, with left-wing politics, rally’s, charity balls, grave-digging and adultery being thrown into the mix – a mystery has never been so complex yet easy to follow.
Rowling writes with such vigorous pizzazz, littering her work with pop-culture references, successfully executing emotional flashbacks and managing to keep the mysteries’ cards close to her chest until the big, casual reveal. If you look hard enough, however, the answers were right in front of your nose the entire time. The whodunnit genre was made for Rowling.
Without giving anything away, Lethal White is an absolute labyrinth. Chock-filled with sporadic thoughts, well-developed characters and a story which chips away at your subconscious for all hours of the day – if you read anything in the latter part of 2018, make it Lethal White.