Author: Robert J. Galbraith/J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Mulholland Books, 2014
Format: Audiobook narrated perfectly by Robert Glenister
The Silkworm is the second book in Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling’s detective series featuring Cormoran Strike and his eager secretary Robin Ellacott. This book starts up at what seems to be six to eight months after the first novel. This time the detective agency isn’t struggling as much as before. After Strike’s success in solving the well-known crime written about in the first novel, business has improved. Clients are now seeking him out to help with various problems.
As the story opens, a woman asks Cormoran for help in finding Owen Quine, her missing husband. Quine is a writer and does go off from time to time to be alone to write. His wife also knows he goes off to be with various girlfriends, but he’s never been gone this long without checking in on her and their retarded daughter.
As Cormoran starts searching for Quine, he learns that the writer has recently completed a tell-all manuscrupt in which he trashes most of his literary friends and everyone else he knows. He shares old secrets that could ruin lives. As the contents of the manuscript become known people are very angry. When Cormoran finally finds Quine, he sees a gruesomely murdered body. Somebody must have really hated this guy.
Cormoran would like to help solve the crime, but of course he must notify the police. An old army friend is the police detective in charge, but he keeps Cormoran away from the investigation. When the police arrest Cormoran’s client, the victim’s wife, he feels even more compelled to find the real killer.
This is a wonderfully complicated story that includes all sorts of details and twists. I enjoyed it so much, I really didn’t want it to end, even though I had to keep reading so I could find out the solution. The finale — the who-dun-it — is so complicated I had to read it twice! This is one mystery I will re-read, just to savor the mental exercise of it all.
The first book in the series was outstanding as the author established the main characters. I loved that. Now, this book did it all over again with a whole new cast of characters. I am amazed at the author’s ability to develop her unique characters. It’s what sealed the deal for me.
In addition to the characters there were several other things I’ll call my favorite parts of the book. One was the literary quotes at the beginning of every chapter. Each one made me think. I’d read the quote and then think about what I thought was going to happen next. They were sort of like mini clues without giving anything away. They didn’t always match my guesses. That added to my fun.
I also loved all the talk between the characters who were writers, publishers and agents. It was gossipy and snarky and made me feel like an “insider.” I suspected that this is stuff that J.K. Rowling knows about or has experienced. There was no naming of names or anything overt. I could be completely off on this, but I hope not. It was fun to follow and imagine that it really does happen or did happen in that rarified worl of publishing.
As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed The Silkworm. I do feel compelled to warn you that this book has plenty of swear words, violence and the blood and guts stuff. It’s not going to be nominated for an Agatha Award. If you can overlook all that, you’ll find a well-written, character-rich, complicated crime/mystery novel that will keep you reading and thinking late into the night.
Book number three, Career of Evil, was just released in October. I am impatiently waiting for my name to come up at the library. When I finally get it, you can be sure I’ll drop out of life for a while. I’ll let you know.