How to Get Ready for ‘Troubled Blood’

What is the best way to get ready for the publication of Strike5, Troubled Blood?

I think, based on my experience with previous Rowling releases, at least three efforts will yield the best results.

First and most obvious: re-read the books that precede the new entry. Rowling is a maestro of narrative slow release, one who plants clues and foreshadowings of coming attractions in the first books of a series. I enjoy listening to the Robert Glenister audio-books of the Strike novels for a fun review (and I keep a notepad with me while I listen if something catches my attention).

Second: review the HogwartsProfessor posts and MuggleNet podcasts on the books in question. You won’t find discussion of subjects from mythology and alchemy to the links with parallel numbers in the Harry Potter series and the ring composition of each book and the series as whole anywhere else. Get yourself up to speed with the conversation that has been happening here at Serious Reader Central about Cormoran, Robin, and Company.

Third: Join that conversation! There are the comment threads here, of course, and now the #StrikeReadAlong for you to jump in and share your questions, insights, and critique. The more the merrier — and it’s never too late!

How are you preparing for Troubled Blood? Has anyone tackled Faerie Queen or a prolonged listen to Marilyn Manson albums?


  1. Kelly Loomis says

    I’ve been wondering where you’ve been during our COVID shutdown. Now you’ve dumped a bunch of posts all at once!!

    I’ve read all four books in the last week. It has been a mixture of reading from a page and listening. I noticed another tweet – or response tweet – that Rowling posted recently during her return to Twitter. She said she was with Strike at that very moment and it was 2015. The London Olympics was 2012 so that is when the main body of Lethal White began. So I’m wondering how many books ahead she is at the present moment in her writing.

    I’m really looking forward to this next one given where the Strike-Robin relationship left off. Except, I’m wary of Charlotte…

    If Lethal is the center/turning in the circle, it’s interesting music may be the “focus” again in this one as it would mirror Career and the emphasis on lyrics/songs in each chapter. I have to admit I’m really behind on posts for the series and you’ve probably already discussed this at length!! I’m just entering the ballgame.

  2. Joanne Gray says

    I had many of the same thoughts. One of my questions has been just how many pages does ‘Troubled Blood’ have? The US Amazon information still has 418 pages (which I know is wrong) but the listed 944 pages on the UK publisher page seems incredibly long–although, closer to the truth. When JKR mentioned “being with Strike” in 2015 recently on Twitter, my mood immediately lightened because I doubted even 944 pages could cover 3 years of time and that meant she must be working on Strike book 6 !

    Also, if Strike book 5 is covering a two year span of time, then there is no way that the relationship between Cormoran and Robin isn’t going to evolve. I do think Robin will get the divorce she needs but there’s the question of how hard Matthew will make it for her to do so. However, the biggest question is the other side of the Robin and Strike equation–the still unresolved Campbell-Ross problem named Charlotte. It has been 5 books coming but I think ‘Troubled Blood’ will finally bring the feared retribution that Comoran expected Charlotte would visit upon him for leaving her in book one.

    I’m definitely going through the books again and I’m going to revisit the character histories of Leta Lestrange, Leda Strike and even the Lula Landry for comparable echoes. I really hope that book 5 will finally give us an original surname for Leda Strike. Why was she so eager to have a different surname that she married a stranger for a couple of weeks just to do so?

  3. Kelly Loomis says

    Joanne, We both know Charlotte is going to try everything she can to make Cormoran pay for leaving and not coming back. I’m sure it’s going to be painful for him and for us as readers. Matthew – oh boy – same there perhaps unless he just lays down gives up.

    I’m reading (mostly listening) to Silkworm right now. I‘M realizing that Rowling uses the sane type of descriptive words about muggles/the Dursleys and Matthew. McGonagall said the Dursleys were the worst kind of muggles, we’re told they thought they were perfectly normal and Matthew is said to have no imagination at all. Rowling seems to use unimaginative in the Strike novels as a point of derision such as how Anstis (and most of the MET) was also thought to be unimaginative by Strike.

    I know many of these points were probably brought up in these HogPro posts, but I was behind in the game and am just getting caught up. It’s fun to find these things though as I read.

  4. Kelly Loomis says
  5. Brilliant catch Kelly!

    There’s one part of the synopsis that jumped right out at me. I’ll just leave it here and see if any other close readers catch anything of potential thematic value (all hat tips go to Kelly above for this great find):

    “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 . . .”

  6. Bonni Crawford says

    I’m imagining Sybil Trelawny is also in Cornwall visiting family at the time (her surname is Cornish, She reads the Tarot cards – maybe she even has a set of Harry Potter cards in honour of the wonderful Object that Harry was – The lightning-struck tower, foretelling destruction, crisis, calamity refers physically to the demolishment of the premises on Denmark Street, and also to the calamities and crises set in motion by Charlotte/Matthew and Geraint Winn.
    I grant this is a fairly improbable scenario, but for now I’m going to keep on imagining what Strike will make of Sybil Trelawny when he meets her.

  7. I will put up a post on the Troubled Blood news tomorrow or Sunday. It is Ickabog week at HogwartsProfessor!

    Thank you for resisting the urge to discuss the synopsis, cover, etc. here on an old thread where few if any will ever see your thoughts.

    Please feel free to write me at john at hogwartsprofessor dot com to share your thoughts for my first post on the subject!

    All sorts of exciting news coming up, believe me.

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