Book Review: Robert Galbraith's Troubled Blood
When did crime novels become more than 900 pages long? Obviously, since Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling) has published its fifth story in the Strike series called Troubled Blood. Suddenly Cormoran Strike‘s investigations transformed into magical adventures of Harry Potter, and the answer to the key question of "who did it?" moved away in light years.
Despite this unexpected book thickness, which doubled its volume since The Cuckoo‘s Calling, the first Cormoran Strike novel, the eagerness (though gradually reducing) to turn the pages and delve into peripetias of both crime investigation and personal relationship between Cormoran and Robin is solid and inexorable. Especially if you have just seen the freshly served TV series of Lethal White (an adaptation of the fourth Cormoran Strike novel) aired on BBC One in the early September. What happened next was awaiting just around the corner on September 15 when Troubled Blood opened up for all fans around the globe.
It‘s the first time that our beloved detectives start investigating a cold case. While visiting his aunt in Cornwall Cormoran Strike is approached by the lady who timidly asks him to find out what happened to her mother Margot forty years ago when she left her general physician‘s practice on Friday night to meet her friend at the pub and disappeared without a trace. The old police investigation was led by a mentally unstable detective who tried to solve the case with a help of astrology and attributed zodiac signs, which led nowhere, and Margot was considered the victim of a serial killer who had been active in the territory at the time, though her body has never been found. Intrigued by the complexity of the case, Strike and Robin agree to take it on and begin interviewing the remaining family members and co-workers in order to detect the possible leads to follow.
However, even more intriguing is the development of a sentimental side of the story. In Lethal White Robin has left her husband and initiated divorce. Is Strike going to make a step forward or will his ex girlfriend Charlotte regain her former position in his heart? Unfortunately, this article is not an awaited spoiler for impatient curiosity cats, though the constant uncertainty what‘s to follow really gets on your nerves. Only this time J. K. Rowling has been annoyingly using tons of verbiage, meanwhile in the particular moments the reader was left without a proper elaboration, like in the very end.
On the other hand, J. K. Rowling is the master of character building. The meticulous descriptions, even with a defined talking manner or accent, make you easily see a persona in flesh and blood before your eyes (despite the fact that some of them have been already visualized in TV series). However, they are really an abundant lot, with introduction of absolutely new ones and abandonment of once important others.
So what happens when a leisure read becomes of a length of Stephen King‘s It? The crime novel lovers definitely know that precious dubious feeling: a wish to desperately get to "who did it?" as soon as possible and a desire to extend a pleasure of reading an engaging page-turner. Sorry, J. K. Rowling, but this time this fragile balance is brutally breached, and that‘s why what‘s left is just a mechanical rustle of pages undermining your whole literary effort.