“He had expected death, but not this. A carcass: trussed, stinking and rotting, empty and gutted, lying on the floor instead of hanging from a metal hook where surely it belonged. But what looked like a slaughtered pig wore human clothing.”
This is the second book in a series. This review contains no spoilers for The Cuckoo’s Calling, aside from giving away the survival of one character.
The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith
#2 in the Cormoran Strike series
Mulholland Books, June 2014
455 pages (hardcover)
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he 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 is published, it will ruin lives – so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.
And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…
The Silkworm is another slow-moving mystery from J.K. Rowling, writing as Robert Galbraith. It would be impossible to write a review without comparing it to The Cuckoo’s Calling, so I’m not even going to try.
In the first Cormoran Strike book, I loved the journey, but wasn’t impressed with the destination. The best part of the book, to me, was the atmosphere it created. I felt like I was there in London.
And maybe it’s because spring rain says “London” to me more clearly than winter snow, but I was missing that atmosphere this time around. Those familiar with the area might well disagree, but I almost felt like the story could have taken place anywhere.
The story itself, though, was great. Who doesn’t love books about books? And when one of those books leads to a murder, even better. I really enjoyed the complicated relationships between all these industry professionals… though I sometimes had a hard time remembering who was who.
Despite that, I really enjoyed the slow build and ultimate conclusion of this one. Unlike The Cuckoo’s Calling, which left me unsatisfied, I could really believe in the way this one turned out.
It’s really hard to say which of the two books is better. Based on my current ratings, The Silkworm wins, but I have a feeling The Cuckoo’s Calling would get bumped up to 4 stars if I re-read it. Both books have their strengths, and I can’t wait to read what Galbraith has for us next.
Does The Silkworm sound like something you’d pick up? Have you read any of J.K. Rowling’s adult novels?