My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book # 5 in the Cormoran Strike series which got released with a tremendous amount of hullabaloo regards JK Rowling’s views about trans people and honestly, if you are like me, hiding away under the rocks and skimming over anything related to the issue in question and have no interest whatsoever in knowing about such views, then Cormoran Strike series is definitely worth a read for mystery lovers. Troubled Blood, however, I would recommend to the fans of series rather than all and sundry coz of the sheer length of the novel.
It can surely be read as a stand-alone coz the author does give a bit of background of past events but like all series, there are incidents in Robin’s and Strike’s life that can be understood only if read in order, like for example, why Strike has trouble in completely cutting off the toxic relationship with his manipulative ex-Charlotte? The crime drama which has captured the heart of millions has so much going for it in this novel, but there are also segments of the story that bored me to death.
The central mystery is a cold case that of a young doctor who simply disappeared after a day of work. 40 yrs. of torment and grief, her daughter Anna is looking for some measure of closure which is why she gives Strike and Robin a year to manage something out of nothing. Consequently, we get to see the events that occur in Robin’s and Strike’s life due the course of a year and there’s more or less a pressure cooker situation in Strike’s life with his aunt’s illness, Charlotte’s machinations, his estranged father and siblings trying to reconnect and Strike has no emotional maturity to handle the compounding problems. Robin, meanwhile, has her own share of worries, majorly handling the responsibility of the firm in the absence of Strike, a delayed divorce with Mathew, unwanted attention from a colleague, and struggling with life decisions at 30 years of age. I loved how Robin is so forthright in acknowledging the fact that with the kind of job that she’s involved in, marriage and children are probably not going to be the priority in her life.
The novel’s basic premise weaving together a missing person case with the butchery of a serial killer is remarkable, even though the pacing is slow and the author does go into detailed descriptions of the personal difficulties faced by Strike and Robin which made for some fascinating reading. What put me off was the descriptive astrology and tarot card study. It is being said the previous cop had a breakdown and was using these as a means to uncover the killer and Strike and Robin try to decipher the hidden madness inside the symbols and diagrams but honestly, I think it could have been achieved without the additional 100 or 200 pages on the subject.
Anyways, the series is definitely growing in strength, my only wish that the mystery element has a little more thrilling aspects added to it in this labyrinthine plot of myriad clues and hidden mirages. I am sure that we haven’t had the last of Charlotte and that it would take another 2 books in the series for any development in the relationship between Strike and Robin.
4 stars for the brilliantly devised and convoluted story which has its threads spread out like a maze and serpentine complexity that boggles the reader’s mind.
Private Detective Cormoran Strike is visiting his family in Cornwall when he is approached by a woman asking for help finding her mother, Margot Bamborough — who went missing in mysterious circumstances in 1974.
Strike has never tackled a cold case before, let alone one forty years old. But despite the slim chance of success, he is intrigued and takes it on; adding to the long list of cases that he and his partner in the agency, Robin Ellacott, are currently working on. And Robin herself is also juggling a messy divorce and unwanted male attention, as well as battling her own feelings about Strike.
As Strike and Robin investigate Margot’s disappearance, they come up against a fiendishly complex case with leads that include tarot cards, a psychopathic serial killer and witnesses who cannot all be trusted. And they learn that even cases decades old can prove to be deadly . . .
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