Troubled Blood

Troubled Blood

Book - 2020
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While visiting his family in Cornwall, Private Detective Cormoran Strike agrees to take on a cold case involving a woman who went missing in mysterious circumstances in 1974, and as Strike and his partner in the agency, Robin Ellacott, investigate the 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.
Publisher: New York : Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company, ©2020.
ISBN: 9780316498937
Characteristics: 933 pages :,illustrations ;,25 cm.

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betsymarzoni
Oct 29, 2020

Cormoran and Robin are back with a beefed-up agency and multiple cases to solve. The primary case is of a woman who disappeared over 40 years ago which requires an exceptional amount of evidence and witness unearthing. This latest installment has both positive and negative aspects.
On the positive side, Cormoran has a car now and we are not constantly hearing about his painful prosthetic leg. There is a lot more plot involving his family and the end result is that we come to know Cormoran on a much more personal basis. He is softening and becoming more relatable and "human" to the reader. The numerous characters that infuse this story are distinctly different and memorable, thanks to Rowling's writing skills. The book moves along and carries the reader right to the end. Robin is beginning to find her own "voice" and proves to be a competent partner for the agency.
On the negative side, this book is simply TOO LONG. There is an entire sub-plot involving tarot cards and astrology that is unnecessary and could have been edited out. There are an abnormally high number of characters to keep track of. Rowling is good about using conversations to remind us who each person is as they fade in and out of the story, but it is still taxing to keep them all straight. Finally, I found the solution of the primary case convoluted and seemingly pulled out of pretty thin air.
Read this as an e-book to save strain on your wrists, as it lands at over 900 pages!!

c
cknightkc
Oct 20, 2020

Although overly long with multiple suspects and red herrings, TROUBLED BLOOD is still a worthy addition to this intelligent crime mystery series. Like the previous 4 installments, this latest by Author Robert Galbraith (aka J. K. Rowling) includes many of the signature ingredients of previous stories. These include strong characterization, a twisty plot, and great storytelling. As a bonus, it also has more than 1 satisfying conclusion. TROUBLED BLOOD is definitely for mystery-lovers who like a challenge. Warning: Some portions of this book are not for the squeamish.

m
MiRiAm12345
Oct 12, 2020

Mild spoiler alerts:

JK Rowling knows how to tell a good story. Our familiar protagonists Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott are both very likeable characters. These are the elements that the book has in its favour. But there were so many things that were not in the book’s favour:

The book was far too long at 900 plus pages. It could have used some serious editing. Specifically, the whole theme about the occult and horoscopes running through the novel was long winded and convoluted. Although this theme seemed important to the two detectives, as a reader I was happier skimming past these sections.

Troubled Blood is a murder mystery. A murder mystery works well if the author leads you astray and you are surprised by the identity of the murderer in the denouement but on reflection you realize that there were enough clever clues, but only in hindsight, to have anticipated the end. I found the ending of this book to be dissatisfying and disjointed. Perhaps there were simply too many characters in this long winded novel to care about how it ended. The means and motive of the murder seemed far-fetched. It was hard for me to figure out how the murder was solved by the protagonists. Having been solved, it was hard to understand why the crime had not been solved 40 years ago when committed as it was amateurish and messy.

The series is not only a murder mystery but also a romance of sorts and the theme of – “Do Robin and Strike really fancy each other? Will they become a couple? is played with again in this 5th instalment at length. This theme and the exploration of Mathew, Robin’s selfish ex, Charlotte- Strike’s insane spoilt ex, Strike’s bad relationship with his absent rock star dad and departed druggie mother, Robin’s struggle with her love of work versus others’ expectations of her, Strike’s PTSD etc. are once again trotted out in this instalment. The author has set herself up to further masticate these aspects in subsequent novels and they are getting tedious and frankly a bit formulaic.

Stylistically, the novel was bogged down in parts with having to figure out key wording when a character had an accent. This may have worked better in an audio book format. In written format some characters seemed somewhat unintelligible.

Finally, some of the descriptions are just too unnecessarily gory for my taste. Not all murder mysteries are so bogged down in such salacious cruelty.

Will I read the next Cormoran Strike book when it comes out, or the next ten books in the series planned for publication? Probably I won't be able to resist the lure of another JK Rowling novel but I will hope that it is a lot better than this 5th instalment in the series.

t
tina43
Oct 03, 2020

I love Strike and Robin. Everyone in this book has a story which is worth reading. Galbraith (aka Rowlings) never ceases to amaze me with her imagination and writing ability. I highly recommend this novel.
Tina43

CMLibrary_khunter Sep 29, 2020

One might have noticed media reports of this book as anti-trans due to containing a cross-dressing serial killer. Documentation of actual serial killers does report cross-dressing as a popular behavior, and a quick Google search will give one plenty of examples (or a friendly librarian would be happy to help!). Without giving plot spoilers, other than having a serial killer who operated in this manner, this book has no further references that can be interpreted as anti-trans, and in execution, there's little mention of this behavior except in very brief context.

Despite being something like 900 pages, you will be transported to figuring out this mystery of 1970s Britain. Still a great installment in the Strike series, but always with the killer cliffhangers! And aside, it's disconcerting to find a missing/murdered character with your own name. :D

r
ryan411
Sep 27, 2020

I liked this one despite the length. Feel free to skip the parts about the zodiac -
I was engaged right to the end.

I am reading reviews which read that this book is anti-trans.

I didn't get any of that but maybe it was too subtle to me.

The only sin this book commits is being boring in parts.

debwalker Jul 30, 2020

AKA J K Rowling bringing us the next chapter of Strike and sidekick/ love interest Robin.

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cknightkc
Oct 20, 2020

“We aren’t our mistakes. It’s what we do about the mistake that shows who we are.” - p. 825

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