Lethal White is the latest installment in the Cormoran Strike mystery series by J.K. Rowling. For those who are unaware, she has been writing these books under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith. The series has been very enjoyable as it follows two private detectives who they use their wits to solve mysteries across London and the United Kingdom. I find Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellicott to be deep, fleshed out characters who are more compelling than even the likes of Harry Potter or Albus Dumbledore. Rowling was able to take her experience from writing the Harry Potter series, which when you think about it, are just mystery novels in a fantasy settings, and apply it to a setting in modern day London. She captures that style of easy reading and quippy descriptions that made her previous endeavors so successful.
As with The Goblet of Fire, the fourth installment in the Cormoran Strike adventures may be the landmark novel in the series. The the first two novels, The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm, feel like separate, one off stories which serve to introduce the characters and the modern, London setting. However, the third novel, Career of Evil, and Lethal White really come together and introduce continuous themes that are the result of the relationships and history that the characters have developed. Rowling does a masterful job of challenging her characters with strange situations and keeping readers on their toes.
In many ways, this is the series I think Harry Potter wanted to become, or at least what I wanted it to become. The themes are much darker. Deaths are gruesome and graphic. The reality of danger and terror are much more apparent. And as a result, the trauma the characters go through and the lessons they learn are much more relate-able. If you are looking for a suspenseful, mystery series to get lost in, turning to J.K. Rowling has become a viable option again.