Monday, 23 June 2014
REVIEW: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the #1 international bestseller The Cuckoo's Calling.
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days--as he has done before--and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.
But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine's disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives--meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.
When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before...
A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, THE SILKWORM is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.
Published: 2014, Sphere
Source: Hardback, Waterstones
I LOVED The Cuckoo's Calling. I thought it was a brilliant introduction to JK Rowling as a detective writer and loved how intricately my city was described. Because I loved Cuckoo so much, I was terrified that The Silkworm wouldn't live up to my expectations but, wow, it blew me away.
Our favourite rockstar spawn Cormoran Strike is approached in his office by a Rose West lookalike who informs him, quite matter-of-factly, that her writer husband has upped and disappeared and she would quite like him home, thank you very much. A combination of tiredness and pity spurns Strike into taking on Leonora (or Rose West Jnr as she shall henceforth be known) as a client and dives head first into the seedy world of book publishing.
Over the course of a few chapters, the story of Rose West Jnr's husband, Owen Quine, comes to light. And dudes, that light is not favourable. Quine is a much-ridiculed, sub-par writer who has finally written what he deems to be his masterpiece. Turns out, said masterpiece is a vulgar, heavily symbolic tale that exposes several murky secrets of his friends and foes. Almost no one has a kind word to say about Quine, and virtually no one cares about his disappearance, making Strike's job depressingly difficult. Eventually, Quine is found brutally murdered and it becomes a race between Strike and the laughably inept Metropolitan Police to find the killer before they strike (haha!*) again.
*I'm an awful person. Ignore me.
It was at this point where The Silkworm really comes into its own, rather than just being a successor to The Cuckoo's Calling. Rowling was given a wonderful opportunity to flex her full writing skills and we were taken further into the life and mind of Strike and his glorious assistant/secretary/potential future love interest (the signs have always been there, people!) Robin. Once again, no stone is left unturned, as Rowling takes us deep behind the scenes of London's publishing world in a bid to discover the truth behind Quine's disappearance. The story had me guessing right up until the big reveal and certainly didn't disappoint. Perhaps my only complaint is that it seemed to wrap up fairly quickly. The subplots of finding out more about Robin's fiancé Matthew and Strike's brother Al were also great and didn't distract from the main plot in the slightest.
As with The Cuckoo's Calling before it, The Silkworm features a wonderful array of supporting characters and once again London is described so beautifully and perfectly that I could picture every single location in my mind. Rowling/Galbraith is a brilliant crime writer and, if there really are five more books in this series, I cannot wait to get my hands on them.
5 out of 5