‘Lethal White’ Wins CrimeFest Award

J. K. Rowling’s four Cormoran Strike novels, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, have pretty much appeared under the radar at least relative to Potter Mania. They don’t win prizes, they don’t set records for copies sold per minute at each successive book release, and there have been no fan conventions or academic conferences dedicated to them. It is still a commonplace when speaking with Potter-philes, even Potter Pundits, to discover the person you are speaking with has not read the Strike novels even though the books are written by their “favorite author.”

I shouldn’t say they don’t win prizes, though, because three of the four books — and the first before Galbraith was outed as Rowling — have won awards for the audio-book versions as read by Robert Glenister. I’ve written about that before (see ‘Lethal White: The Robert Glenister Audiobook’) and my family’s enjoyment of these versions, exceeding I think our delight even in the Potter audiobooks, as good as those were.

I write about this today because CrimeFest, the annual gathering of crime fiction writers and readers in the UK, has awarded the Audible Sounds of Crime Award to Lethal White for best audiobook against competition including the venerable Ian Rankin (no small influence on the Strike books: Strike can be read as another John Rebus, a damaged veteran with relationship issues in Rankin’s novels, set free in London rather than Edinburgh), the preposterously popular Stephen King, and William Patterson writing with side-kick Bill Clinton. Glenister and Rowling have won the award for every Galbraith novel except Career of Evil, certainly the most, shall we say, challenging Strike book thus far.

If you haven’t downloaded or purchased the CD version of Glenister’s readings, I’ll go so far as to suggest you really haven’t enjoyed and appreciated Cormoran and Robin’s adventures as you might. It is a surprising, I confess, and delightful thing to see the experts and award-givers agree with me here.

Let me know what you think of the Glenister readings in the comment boxes below!


  1. Joanne Gray says

    I absolutely agree that Robert Glenister is the best and completely deserves the awards he has received for his masterful narrations of the Cormoran Strike books (and will no doubt deserve it for Book #5 when it arrives). The Strike books do receive praise from those who read them and I don’t believe anyone realistically believed that anything coming after Harry Potter was ever going to compare with the previous outsized success of HP.

    Harry Potter was one of those one in a million lightening Zeitgeist moments of everything aligning in the most perfect way. It found the young audience that would grow up with it and bring it along as they moved through life–being reinforced with pop culture references always surrounding them.

    Since the Strike books are murder mysteries (+ relationship) and murder mysteries are not everyone genre of choice (although a very large part of the reading population), there are bound to be HP readers who wouldn’t be interested. I really do applaud JKR for having the courage to not just rest on the laurels of her original blockbuster series but to go back out once more into the public market with another great character–this time one who lives amongst us regular people sans magic, but who also has his own interesting journey.

    I have no doubt that she knew she could never top her original fantasy series, but I think her Strike series is slowly building an audience and, if some of her Potter readers aren’t interested in murder mysteries, there will also be readers who have never read her Harry Potter books but who will discover and really like her Strike series. Time will tell how successful her second series will ultimately be.

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