Popsugar Reading Challenge 2021 – Book 5

Prompt: The longest book on your TBR

This was an easy choice as the longest book on my TBR pile by a mile was Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith. I bought it when it was publish last year with the intention of reading it during October half term. But then Covid hit and I just didn’t have the heads pace for a long and complex read. It’s a whacking great hardback and by far the chunkiest fiction I’ve read for a while.

What it’s about?

From Goodreads:

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 . . .

What I think:

This is slow-burner than fully immerses the reader in the investigation. The action takes place over the course of a year as Strike and Robin investigate a cold case from forty years earlier.

A woman went missing and no trace of her has ever been found. The police believe she was another victim of a serial killer who is in prison but has never confessed.

The case is complicated and Robin and Strike explore all kinds of leads as they interview people who worked with Margot Bamburgh years ago and revisit the scenes of the crimes.

While investigating they are also dealing with the personal lives. Strike is supporting his family as his aunt in Cornwall becomes ill and Robin is finalising her divorce which is proving difficult. On top of this is tension between the two of them. They both clearly fancy the pants of each other, and more than that are both at their happiest when they are together. As with previous books, they are both fighting their feelings for fear if the damage it will do to their professional relationship.

This is an absorbing and clever mystery. Despite the size of the book – over 900 pages – it kept up the pace. The immersive, real time nature of this investigation means that the reader feels Robin’s frustrations as she waits for emails to be replied to and enquiries to be are fruit.

The final resolutions were utterly satisfying and quite shocking. Some of the stories that emerged from the investigation are heartbreaking. There are some really vulnerable characters and some shockingly horrific revelations.

I really like the Strike novels and I think this is better than the last book.

I’m pleased to have ticked this monster of a novel off the TBR pile so early in the year.

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