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Cormoran Strike #5

Troubled Blood

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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 . . .

944 pages, Hardcover

First published September 15, 2020

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About the author

Robert Galbraith

36 books28.1k followers
This is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series and The Casual Vacancy, a novel for adults.

NOTE: There is more than one author with this name on Goodreads.

Rowling was born to Anne Rowling (née Volant) and Peter James Rowling, a Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer, on 31 July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Bristol. Her mother Anne was half-French and half-Scottish. Her parents first met on a train departing from King's Cross Station bound for Arbroath in 1964. They married on 14 March 1965. Her mother's maternal grandfather, Dugald Campbell, was born in Lamlash on the Isle of Arran. Her mother's paternal grandfather, Louis Volant, was awarded the Croix de Guerre for exceptional bravery in defending the village of Courcelles-le-Comte during the First World War.

Rowling's sister Dianne was born at their home when Rowling was 23 months old. The family moved to the nearby village Winterbourne when Rowling was four. She attended St Michael's Primary School, a school founded by abolitionist William Wilberforce and education reformer Hannah More. Her headmaster at St Michael's, Alfred Dunn, has been suggested as the inspiration for the Harry Potter headmaster Albus Dumbledore.

As a child, Rowling often wrote fantasy stories, which she would usually then read to her sister. She recalls that: "I can still remember me telling her a story in which she fell down a rabbit hole and was fed strawberries by the rabbit family inside it. Certainly the first story I ever wrote down (when I was five or six) was about a rabbit called Rabbit. He got the measles and was visited by his friends, including a giant bee called Miss Bee." At the age of nine, Rowling moved to Church Cottage in the Gloucestershire village of Tutshill, close to Chepstow, Wales. When she was a young teenager, her great aunt, who Rowling said "taught classics and approved of a thirst for knowledge, even of a questionable kind," gave her a very old copy of Jessica Mitford's autobiography, Hons and Rebels. Mitford became Rowling's heroine, and Rowling subsequently read all of her books.

Rowling has said of her teenage years, in an interview with The New Yorker, "I wasn’t particularly happy. I think it’s a dreadful time of life." She had a difficult homelife; her mother was ill and she had a difficult relationship with her father (she is no longer on speaking terms with him). She attended secondary school at Wyedean School and College, where her mother had worked as a technician in the science department. Rowling said of her adolescence, "Hermione [a bookish, know-it-all Harry Potter character] is loosely based on me. She's a caricature of me when I was eleven, which I'm not particularly proud of." Steve Eddy, who taught Rowling English when she first arrived, remembers her as "not exceptional" but "one of a group of girls who were bright, and quite good at English." Sean Harris, her best friend in the Upper Sixth owned a turquoise Ford Anglia, which she says inspired the one in her books.

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5 stars
61,077 (52%)
4 stars
40,723 (35%)
3 stars
10,880 (9%)
2 stars
1,908 (1%)
1 star
1,322 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 11,394 reviews
Profile Image for Jamie Smith.
84 reviews9 followers
December 3, 2020
Updated review:
There was a lot going on in this book which made it hard to follow at times. At heart, it revolves around the character development of Strike and Robin. The case itself was slower and more along the lines of The Cuckoos Calling. Addressing the issue of Creed, or the “trans” alleged villain, he was not trans or gender confused. He disguises himself in a way that appeals to his victims but it’s such a minuscule detail that if you blink you’ll miss it entirely. Rowling does address other tough topics such as abortion, pornography/sex trafficking, and sexual harassment, but she does so in a careful way that sheds important lights of truth but also compassion on the topics for anyone who is ignorant to them, or may have been involved in them.
All in all, the character development between Strike and Robin was what made the story while the actual investigation got to be confusing with many different people and theories that were hard to keep track of.

Rowling is not transphobic. Everyone giving this book 1 star before they’ve even read it is doing so to silence someone because they have a different opinion than them. I don’t want to rate this book before I’ve read it but everyone giving it a one star because Rowling is “transphobic” is just being childish and unfair. Rowling has done her research on the issue that brought her to her position which is based on factual science, not fear or hate.
Profile Image for Emer Mccarthy.
40 reviews4 followers
September 15, 2020
Absolutely excellent book, just finished. There is no transvestite murderer. There's a sentence in which one near-victim in the 1970s couldn't give a good description her attacker as he wore a woman's wig and coat. That's it. No mention of transgender throughout the book.
The statements from the online mob of bullies are pure bulls*#t.
Profile Image for Adina .
888 reviews3,519 followers
October 20, 2020
I was extremely excited to read this novel as J.K Rowling/Robert Galbraith is the only author that makes me pre-order. I got this in the morning the novel was published but I started to properly read it after two weeks because I needed quiet time from GR to be able to enjoy my reunion with Strike and Robin.

I enjoyed the ride but it was way too long. I jokily anticipated the length with a comment as soon as I knew the title and added the novel to my TBR but I wasn’t expected to be so right. I understand that she is a very famous writer but editors should still do their job and edit down unnecessary information. Troubled Blood could have easily been 300 pages shorter without losing anything important. While I enjoy spending as much time with Robin and Strike as possible, there were too many side stories, additional characters and endless interviews that did not bring much to the plot.

Despite its length and some filler scenes, it was still a wonderfully written mystery. Robin and Strike are hired to investigate the cold case of a woman who disappeared 40 years ago. It was believed to be killed by a known serial killer but the daughter wants to know for sure what happened to her. Without too much hope, the pair agrees to investigate and for the next one year and a bit they try to dig into the past while struggling to solve the other cases they have on their hands. There are lots of incursions into Strike and Robin personal lives, most of them unhappy but necessary for the evolvement of the characters and their relationship. The plot was complex and full of twists and turns, which I enjoy. I also appreciated the exploration of tarot and astrology and the inclusion of the police officer’s notes, a device I applaud although it was impossible to read the whole thing on kindle.

The novel explores the idea of bias and how we can be deceived by our judgment of appearances, social status, occupation, sex etc. A special accent is put on violence against women, in its many forms.

15.09: This beauty waited for me on my kindle this morning. Already sank my teeth in it and can't wait do devour all its 888 pages.
Shelved as 'no'
September 17, 2020
Hey, so here's an idea, if someone says they feel like they're hurt or marginalized by a book, maybe DON'T comment on that person's reviews and act like you want their permission to read it to be a good person and/or smugly inform that person that you're going to read it anyway. Both of those things are seriously major trash monster moves.

If you're feeling that bothered about someone telling you that a book is problematic, then you probably KNOW, deep down, that it's problematic. Does that reflect on you? Yes. Everyone judges everyone by their reading choices and you're funding the author with your money by buying the books, whether you like it or not. There's a reason I cancelled my plans to reread the Harry Potter books last year, and that I no longer read Orson Scott Card despite loving Ender's Game. I can choose which authors to support with my time, money, and platform.

Either you can choose not to fund someone with a huge platform who is being incredibly problematic, or you can read it anyway because you're comfortable ignoring where your money goes if it means being entertained for a week. Okay, you've made your choice then and can shut the hell up about it. But don't expect a benediction. Nobody cares about how all of your alleged trans friends think the sun shines out of your butt when you host your Harry Potter readalongs on your podcast, Karen.

Don't you DARE try to play the moral superiority card here.

Fact: trans women are women and trans men are men.

Fact: if you spend all your time obsessing about what people are doing in the bathroom, then you're probably the creep in this equation.

Fact: reading this book is definitely going to make people think twice about you and what you stand for, and you need to own that because reading this book was your choice. Unlike trans people, who don't choose which body they're born in, you CHOSE to read this book.

Fact: Those icky feelings of guilt you have about reading this do NOT make you a marginalized person, like, seriously why would you even say that. Your privilege is so gross. Stop comparing yourself to a marginalized group because you're feeling guilty about your life choices.

Fact: I will not be reading this book.

Fact: Feel free to block and unfriend me if you disagree. I can almost guarantee that I'll be happy to return the favor.
Profile Image for Nicky Stee.
1 review2 followers
September 24, 2020
You are all acting like JK Rowling is rounding up trans people into her mansion and brutally slaughtering them. You sound like children... You can't enjoy a story by an extremely talented writer because she doesn't have the exact same views as you? That is beyond pathetic. Do you have any idea how much money Jo has donated to charity? She's done so much more for humanity than any of you simpering morons ever will.. Congrats on being woke on the internet though, you're really making a difference I'm sure... Maybe this book is nothing but militant anti-LGBT propaganda. I'm at least going to read it before I make any judgements though, and judge the story on it's own merit. I'm only giving it 5 stars because so many of you """"heroes"""" have unfairly given it 1 star without even reading it.
Profile Image for Briiankruis.
20 reviews5 followers
September 15, 2020
When the killer is a woman: "YOU'RE A MISOGYNIST"
When the killer is a transgender: "YOU'RE A TRANSPHOBE"
When the killer is black: "YOU'RE A RACIST"
When the killer is a straight white male: "This is fine because all white men are white supremacists and rapists."

- The idiotic left (2020)
Profile Image for Tucker  (TuckerTheReader).
908 reviews1,621 followers
December 28, 2020
Time for the FAQ because most of you are repeating each other-
You know that a man dressing up as a woman to kill people can happen in real life/fiction, right?

Yes, I know. I also know that it is a theme in Silence of the Lambs and Psycho. No need to mention it for the 42nd time. The man dressing up as a woman isn't the main point. It's the fact that Rowling is abusing her enormous platform to share unkind and hateful opinions about the trans community. Her incorrect comments do nothing except further the abuse of trans people. The problem isn't fully the concept of this book. It's the fact that it's coming from a transphobic author whose pseudonym is a psychiatrist who is known for gay conversion therapy.
hAvE yOu EvEn ReAd ThE bOoK?!? / WhY dId YoU rAtE 1 star??!

I have actually read a whopping 1 page of this book before I decided I didn't want to waste 900+ pages of my time on it's BS. As far as the one star, it is there to do what it is designed for, express my opinion about this book.

I want to make it very clear once again...

I DO NOT HATE J. K. ROWLING! I completely disagree with her opinions but I do not hate her. She is a very talented author. I just wish she would listen to reason. Until then, I will continue to fight for the truth and love.

As always, I am completely open for a reasonable discussion. Any hate or slurs will be reported and deleted along with the user being blocked. If you need to talk to someone, please feel free to click the links at the bottom of this review.


- - - - - -

this is a book about a male serial who dresses up as a woman to kill his victims...

HOW IS THIS BEING PUBLISHED? This is coming from an obviously unkind and transphobic author. It's not a mysterious/thrilling plot device. It's bigotry disguised as literature.

C'mon, Hachette. You're better than this.


What J.K. Rowling has done

Does J.K. Rowling's Transphobia Ruin Harry Potter?

Is J.K. Rowling Transphobic?

Is J.K. Rowling a Transphobe? Trans guy reacts

The Science of the Transgender Issue VS. the Pseudoscience Surrounding Gender and Biology!

I do not condone hatred or condone attacking authors nor is that what I am intending to do here. But J.K. Rowling's hate, hypocrisy and abuse of power must be recognized.

If you need someone,

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Profile Image for Elwood.
26 reviews1 follower
September 19, 2020
I don’t understand why there are so many one-star reviews where the reviewer outright states they haven’t read the book. What’s the point? If you can���t separate art from artist, you shouldn’t be consuming any media, because then you’d have to apply the opinions of every author to every piece of work they put out, and that’s just not plausible.

The author’s opinions and whether people disagree with them shouldn’t have any place in the reviewing of a book, because the entire point of a book review is to share your thoughts on the work itself.

I’m only halfway through the book, but feel the need to give it five stars already, if only to attempt to balance the slew of baseless one stars.

Edit: Now most of the way through the book, I can say with the utmost certainty that any accusations of the plot being 'transphobic' are unfounded. The whole scenario of a serial killer who cross-dresses is something that's actually happened enough times for to it to be clear Rowling took inspiration from these real-life figures. Consider Jerry Brudos and Dennis Rader, both of whom cross-dressed in reality. Also consider the ficitonal Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs, if you want a literary comparison. There's no suggestion transvestism equals serial killer; there's only parallels being drawn with actual occurences because, funnily enough, sometimes authors take inspiration from reality.

Edit (again): Having just finished this 900+ page behemoth, I can finally justify the 5 star review I gave it on the day after its release.

Troubled Blood is the fifth book in the Strike Series, and by a fair margin the longest. If you enjoyed the first four books, you’ll definitely love this one, because it’s more of the same: interesting and growing character dynamics, a central intriguing mystery, and the progression of an investigation and all its hurdles.

The focus of this book is a forty-year-old cold case concerning the disappearance and possible murder of Margot Bamborough, whose daughter approaches Strike in the vain hope he can find out what happened to her. Tied into this disappearance is the suggestion that fictional serial killer Dennis Creed was responsible, as he was active around the time and place Margot went missing and has since, in prison, made allusions to being her killer.

As far as I understand it, Dennis Creed is the origin for all the accusations of this book being ‘transphobic’. Worry not: Creed is briefly mentioned (one time) as dressing up in a woman’s coat and donning a wig in order to better approach a female victim so he can snatch her. He’s not transgender, nor is he even a transvestite. He simply does what other infamous serial killers have done before and imitate a woman so he can get close enough to her to. Anyone who is saying otherwise simply hasn’t read the book and is parroting whatever controversy they’ve heard. But I’ll move on, because it’s such an insignificant part of the book.

What at first appears to be a simple case of Dennis Creed being the obvious culprit becomes far more complicated when it transpires most of the people around Margot Bamborough either had a reason to kill her or were possibly involved in shady dealings, with drug addiction and crime bosses being only two such dealings. There are, of course, a plethora of red herrings, and I quite enjoyed being thrown off course by each of them. At the same time, Strike and Robin’s agency is tackling other, smaller cases, all of which do receive a little bit of page time and are interesting enough subplots.

Of course, there’s also the increasingly complex relationship between Strike and Robin themselves. Their friendship has been a slow-burning thing throughout the series, with the two protagonists now having to confront their feelings for each other at the same time as facing external issues. For Strike, this is his aunt’s failing health and a sudden interest his absent rockstar father shows in him. For Robin, this is the finalisation of her divorce to her husband, and her acceptance that she prefers the unconventioanl life of a private investigator, as opposed to the more conventional life as a wife and mother. Don’t expect any momentous progression in their relationship, as the slow burning continues, and is not any worse for it. In fact, it’s rewarding to follow their rollercoaster of a friendship on its highs and lows.

The only real criticism I can offer is the book’s length, which can be off-putting for some. However, given the amount of content offered by the story, and the sheer number of subplots, this doorstopper’s wordcount is probably warranted.

I really hope the absurd controversy surrounding this book and the unfairly low (and unearned) rating doesn’t hinder this series, as I very much look forward to its future and eagerly await more books.
Profile Image for Lowen.
26 reviews7 followers
September 13, 2020
Hmmm a book about a serial killer going around killing women while disguised as a woman written by She Who Will Not Be Named..... nothing wrong or suspicious here. If anyone dares say she isn't transphobic after this after she is saying that 'men in dresses' should be seen as suspicious and predatory and potentially altering people's views so they also see it this way then I kindly ask you to go choke!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Billy Reeves.
35 reviews6 followers
July 31, 2023
Of course I was going to give it 5 stars, as always!

This one is a bit different because it’s a cold case they have to solve, so there wasn’t much immediate danger. Though, without giving anything away, Strike and Robin are in more danger than they think.

The relationship between Strike and Robin is VERY interesting in this one and I’m sure everyone is dying to know what happens between them just as much as wanting to know whodunnit.

I loved the involvement of astrology, tarot cards, occultism/Aleister Crowley and satanism; clues left behind by a detective inspector who had been on the verge of a mental breakdown during the original investigation; and also one of the suspects, Dennis Creed, being a convicted and imprisoned serial killer.

I loved the new characters in this book, and also characters previously mentioned in other books which are more involved this time round.

I think Career of Evil is still my favourite in terms of the murder mystery, but in terms of the relationship between Strike and Robin, this is without a doubt the best one yet. And I think most people would agree, it’s Strike and Robin that keeps people coming back for more.
4 reviews17 followers
October 26, 2020
Can't wait to read this
Couldn't care less her views on Gender whatever, still writes a good enough story for me.
Profile Image for Mayra.
128 reviews6 followers
August 28, 2020
I was dying to find out what was going to happen with Strike and Robin after that wonderful, sexual-tension-filled ending in the last book. Alas, Jo Rowling has killed any desire for me to read number 5. I ignored her past transphobic statements in the past and chalked them up to her being ignorant or thoughtless. The past few months have proven she is thoughtful in her callousness. I won't put money in her pocket again. Do I feel bad about leaving a one-star review on a book I haven't read? Nah.
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,704 reviews25k followers
November 14, 2020
Rowling's latest in the London based private investigator Cormoran Strike series is one for those who enjoy being immersed in a mystery for a considerable length of time, a fast paced read this is not. The author plays to her trademark strengths of focusing on characters and their development, both with Strike and Robin, who have personal challenges to handle, and the other people created specific to a 40 year old cold case. Strike is in Cornwall staying with his Aunt Joan and Uncle Ted, more parents to him and his half-sister Lucy, than his groupie mother, Leda, and rock star father, Jonny Rokeby, who never showed the slightest interest in him until he became well known. Joan is dying from cancer, and Strike who has never been one to talk about his emotions is struggling to handle this, trying to do his best to be there for Joan and support Ted, who is devastated. With all this on his plate, he is less than amenable to his half siblings on his father's side and Rokeby wanting his presence at their family and band event.

Robin as we know has separated from Matthew after she discovered he had been cheating on her with Sarah, her life is being made miserable as he refuses to accede to a straightforward divorce, insisting that Robin is responsible for the breakdown of their marriage. His meanness and spite makes him want to hold on to all marital assets, including what Robin's parents had financially contributed, the only thing she will fight for. Robin is further pushed to reflect on her tendency to avoid confronting certain situations in the interests of avoiding conflict, even when a odious subcontractor, Saul Morris, crosses lines that she should not have put up with, bringing back traumatic memories from her past. 40 years ago in 1974, GP and mother, Margaret Bamborough, disappeared in London on her way to meet a friend at a pub. Anna, her daughter, wants to know what happened to her, and is willing to pay for a year's worth of investigative work, on a case where it was assumed she was a victim of notorious cross dressing serial killer now in Broadmoor, Dennis Creed.

Strike is upfront with Anna that they are unlikely to solve what happened to Margaret after so much time has passed, and it is certainly one of the most difficult cases they have taken on. For a start, many key figures from the case are dead, and a number that might be living prove to be particularly difficult to locate. Getting hold of the police files on the case is harder than expected, and when DI George Laybourn finally hands them over, it is clear the original police inquiry under DI Bill Talbot was a fiasco, for some time he disregarded anything that didn't fit his belief that she had been one of Creed's victims. That is not all, Talbot had serious mental health issues, and had pursued and obsessed over the strange territories of applying intricate and hard to fathom astrology and tarot card interpretations to those involved in the case.

The narrative takes place just over the period of a year, a year which includes other cases, and the impact of what is happening in the personal lives of Strike, such as his grief at the loss of Aunt Joan, contact from the likes of Strike's volatile ex-girlfriend, Charlotte Campbell, and Robin's divorce. Strike is determined not to let anyone get close to him, he struggles to emotionally read others or adequately understand that he needs to let others into his life and express what he is feeling so that he is less likely to implode when under emotional stress. Whilst both he and Robin are reluctant to cross into personal territory with each other, they do not want to threaten their professional business partnership, they love what they do, their relationship does develop to the point they are able to be more honest with each other. This is a terrifically entertaining and stellar addition to what is a marvellous series which I recommend to those who love their character driven crime mysteries.
Profile Image for Meredith (Trying to catch up!).
813 reviews12.7k followers
October 26, 2020
Intricate and Surprising!

40 years ago, Margot Bamborough, a young doctor, went missing without a trace. At the time, a notorious serial killer named Creed was on the loose, targeting innocent women. Although there was no evidence, the police believed Creed was responsible for Margot's disappearance. In the present, her daughter contracts the famous Detective Cormoran Strike to find out what really happened to her mother. No one really believes that Strike and his partner, Robin, will unearth what really happened to Margot Bamborough, including Strike and Robin themselves.

Strike and Robin have a lot to contend with on this case, including the notes of a delusional police officer obsessed with astrology, lost witnesses, those who tried to profit off of Margot’s disappearance, as well as her widow, his new wife, and the notorious killer, Creed. Much has been made of Creed's penchant for cross-dressing as a method to lure his victims, but after reading this, I can say this element of the controversy is overblown.

At the same, Strike and Robin’s agency is growing and they can barely keep up with all of their cases as their personal lives are getting in the way, Strike is dealing with a personal tragedy while at the same time trying to deal with the attention of his famous father. Robin is trying to process her divorce and single life. They also have some new and difficult employees to contend with. Of course, Robin and Strike pondering their feelings for one another takes up a good portion of the book. I am over this back and forth, and I am hoping they reach a new stage of their relationship in the next book because I can’t take it anymore!

The mystery is intricate and intriguing. There are so many interesting and eccentric characters tied to the case that I couldn’t exactly pinpoint what was going on. My armchair detective skills were put to the test, and I failed. I had a theory, which was rather conventional, and I was surprised by the reveal, which caught me off guard.

As others have commented, this is a lengthy book, but I am happy to report that there is not a superfluous moment, all matters (I didn’t feel this way about book #4).
The events of the narrative take place over a year, and the way Galbraith plots out the events made the timeline feel real. The pacing was appropriate and enjoyable. When I got to the final pages, I was sad to see it was over as I could have read more!

I am excited to see where things are headed for our detective duo, and I am looking forward to seeing what role the new detective, Michelle, plays in the next book.

On a final note, I would like to say that I DO NOT AGREE with J.K Rowling’s personal views on the Trans community. I would prefer not to get into a political discussion, so please only post comments about Troubled Blood.
Profile Image for CJ.
120 reviews11 followers
September 14, 2020
Not being transphobic is easy and fun! Choose to support authors who aren't sentient bags of garbage. ♥

-- a trans person who grew up with a special interest in Harry Potter and can't begin to describe how disappointed they are in their ex-role model
12 reviews
October 10, 2020
There is nothing worse than people who rate a book before it’s release!!!
Profile Image for ianthereader.
350 reviews46 followers
August 2, 2022
Okay, I am trash for this series. I didn’t start this year out planning to reread this series, but I am endlessly happy that I did. I will now spend the remainder of this month obsessively counting down the days until book 6 releases on the 30th.

Original Review:
Could it have been trimmed down a bit? Maybe. But, this book had all of the mystery, heart, and character dynamics that I love about this series. Strike and Robin are such a wonderful duo. It was so easy to fall back into the familiar rhythm of their story, even though it’s been two years since I finished the last one. If you like a good mystery, this one does not disappoint!
1 review5 followers
September 16, 2020
Great book. A 900 page, roller coaster ride through deep relationships and a 40 year old cold case. Firstly lets get the thought police out of the way first - the offending comment in the book is on page 75 and it recounts a serial killer who used to dress occasionally in a women's coat and wig to look less threatening in persuading women to jump into a van with him. This is not transphobic - if you don't want to read the book and give JK Rowling your money - great! That is your choice - but don't talk ignorantly about a book you've not read and mix up someone standing up for women's rights as being transphobic. Also - please would you write the same kind of vitriol about all the other novels and real cases where this has occurred, otherwise we may simply consider your views misogynistic against Rowling, rather than being balanced about inequality in society.
Back to the book - this is a simply put down-able race through the disappearance of a missing GP and the way in which Robin and Strike unravel the case. It is a touching and analytical view of human relationships and the complex way that they wax and wane and how they develop. The way that Rowling writes the investigation is thorough and realistic and keeps you hanging on for more. There is so much life in this book, so much character and understanding of the human condition, that reading gives you a different perspective on many things - but for me it was relationships and the way that interactions between people could be so much easier if we all were a little more open with our experiences.
I was lucky to get this yesterday in B&N - they had only 1 copy left!
Profile Image for J  (Midnight Book Blog).
182 reviews605 followers
Shelved as 'nope'
June 29, 2023
This blog doesn’t support transphobic authors or their equally phobic works. I recommend instead people read some books by actual trans authors!
Here’s a short list:
Felix Ever After
I Wish You All the Best
Cemetery Boys
A Safe Girl to Love

Edit: I am done responding to hateful comments. However if anybody would like to have an actual discussion on how this work is harmful, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Profile Image for Blaine.
781 reviews653 followers
September 20, 2020
In my review of Lethal White, I described the 650-page previous entry in this series in part as: “I do mean long, clocking in at almost a full third longer than the first three books in the series. Is it too long? Perhaps. There were a few places that I felt dragged a bit despite the generally solid pacing of the story.”

So, now JKR offers up a 944-page story. You know how I know this is a bloated, overlong mystery novel that badly needed an editor? Because you can’t name another mystery novel that’s 944 pages.

But I’d probably have suffered through a too-long mystery were it not for the primary problem with this novel. JKR could have written any characters into existence to fill these pages, but she made a deliberate choice to unnecessarily wedge her anti-trans views into this tale. Apparently no longer content to simply air her ill-informed views everywhere else, JKR decided to weave her false—and dangerous—anti-trans tropes into her novel.

Why JKR has chosen this path defies my understanding, as her Harry Potter series teaches nothing so much as the importance of love and tolerance. And she’s free to write whatever she wants. But I’m free to to make this book the first she’s written that I will not purchase. I’m free to make this book the first she’s written that I will not read. Because I will not support the fears and lies she seems hellbent on pushing. Trans women are women.
Profile Image for ♠ TABI⁷ ♠.
Author 15 books487 followers
Shelved as 'nah-bro'
September 17, 2020
There sure is some TROUBLED BLOOD surrounding this book!

Can it get worse?
Does the irony of the issues surrounding this book deepen??

↓ ↓ ↓
JKR basically spoiled this book's plot with her slew of transphobia:



PUBLICATION DAY things to consider if, after all the calls to stop supporting this author, you still want to read this book:

— a cisman dressing up as a woman to kill women is a rare, improbable thing because men don't need dresses to help them kill women

— the above was a fear that JKR kept tweeting about & pushing as a reason to keep transwomen from ciswomen space (note: women are women whether or not the bodies are a bit different)

— you don't need to "read this to find out for yourself" because the transphobia has been called out & shared multiple times

— if you ABSOLUTELY MUST read this because you refuse to be "bullied" into avoiding ONE problematic book . . . do it quietly. Don't purchase it. Borrow from a library or a friend. Don't shovel money into the author's pockets & stop piling onto the hurt transpeople don't deserve and have repeatedly, consistently asked readers to stop

— and if you do still choose to read this, I'm not going to tell you stop. It should still be a free world to read whatever you decide & that's a right I will defend . . . but if you decide to read this?? I'm going to unfriend/unfollow because you have chosen to ignore the voices of the oppressed transpeople that this book and author target. You choose to follow in the footsteps of bigotry and transphobia when there are plenty of other authors & stories you could support but choose to support transphobic material instead

217 reviews7 followers
September 16, 2020
It is so stupid that people are giving this book 1 star without reading it because a serial killer cishet killer sometimes likes to dress up as a woman TO LURE HIS VICTIMS IN by making himself seem non threatening. I do not understand how this is transphobic whatsoever. Now, if they were upset about a trans character in "Silkworm", I'd understand. But this is just "brave" keyboard warriors fighting for... what? So brave to click on one star for a book you haven't read and vow you never will.

I loved this book. It's the first cold case Strike and Robin are trying to solve so it is extra challenging. It was quite a wild ride. The relationship between the two detective partners was also showing progress - finally, after 4 years LOL. I just finished reading reading it at 3 am and plan to re-read it (hopefully listen to audiobook, actually).
Profile Image for Ruthie.
189 reviews28 followers
September 15, 2020
i can't undo hp's success but i sure can scream about this transphobic as fuck bullshit.

in case her violently transphobic tweets in the past few months were not indicative enough, jkr has now written a book where the villain is a man who "dresses as a woman and kills people." so. 🙃 she can rot in hell and this book'll be there with her
Profile Image for farith.
342 reviews462 followers
September 20, 2020
note: i'll be deleting any new comments since it all went out of control with sick and obsessed people attacking me and calling me racist slurs just for defending a minority.

i'll repeat what i said in the comments here: if this book had been written by someone else, the story would be different. i can't give a free pass to a woman that has previously made discriminatory statements towards the trans community. declarations that have fed the stereotypes that negatively affect trans people, making suicide rates higher and their lives miserable. trans people aren't "dangerous" like the media has made them look.


944 pages of pure transphobic crap. how does this woman even gets the green light to write this? also why is she so obsessed with trans/gender non-conforming people?

anyway chile, i never rate books that i haven’t read but i hate seeing the TERFS happy.
1 review1 follower
September 15, 2020
This book features a crossdressing male serial killer. Many documented serial killers have been cross dressers. Trans women are not crossdressing men. Saying this book is transmisogynistic says more about how you view trans women than how Rowling does
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,320 reviews2,140 followers
November 13, 2020
Firstly I would recommend that you read this book on your kindle or other device. I read the paperback and it was huge, unwieldy and very heavy. Nevertheless the content made my struggle worthwhile.

This series is definitely character driven and although I have had issues with some characters (especially Robin) in the previous books I had no such problems this time. In Troubled Blood both Robin and Strike are going through stressful times with their own families and it is good to watch them leaning on each other for support. The ending to the book promises better things in the future too.

As I struggled with the size of the book I wondered why it was not published in two volumes but there turned out to be no point at which the story could have been stopped. The main mystery is a forty year old cold case which tests all of the team's ingenuity and takes all 945 pages to solve. Lots of other little stories are told along the way of course plus all the family dramas and I never lost interest at any point. It helps that the author writes so well.

I enjoyed the whole thing right down to the smart ending. I was left wondering if the author intends to write any more books in this series or if we have been left to imagine Robin and Strike one day walking off into the sunset together.

Profile Image for Bethany.
10 reviews5 followers
September 23, 2020
WORST toilet paper I ever bought. Not only is the paper too thin, it tends to crumble if you wipe too vigoriously especially after the diarrhea explosion you’ll have after reading this hot transphobic garbage. It wouldn't even make decent compost and its honestly better off going straight to the trash.

Not surprising this book was written by TERF JK Rowling to further her anti-trans propaganda.

Trans people are who they say they are. Trans rights are human rights. Trans women are women.

And JK Rowling is human trash.
Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
902 reviews1,809 followers
November 7, 2022
Missed the target again. :(

At 900+ pages this book was a little too long for a mystery. I liked the mystery part even though the all the talk around sun signs made my head spin. I think some of that and some other parts could have been omitted without hurting the story or the characters' arc.

I loved the personal life events of Strike and Robin, through they could use some more heart to heart. No use of bottling up all those emotions. Both of them accepted few necessary things about themselves and I am happy for them.

I would give this a three star but I am bumping it to four for Strike and Robin.
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