Title: The Silkworm (A Cormoran Strike Novel, 2)
Author: Robert Galbraith
Genre: Crime, Detective Story, Mystery
Publisher: Sphere (19th June 2014)
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 realises. 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 . . .
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.
Rating: *** (3 stars)
THE SILKWORM is the second book in Robert Galbraith’s CORMORAN STRIKE series, Life has returned somewhat to normal after the events of the first book in the series THE CUCKOO’S CALLING (review), and Strike is busying himself with cases of suspected cheating when Leonora Quine, the wife of author Owen Quine, steps into his office and asks Strike to locate her husband for her. THE SILKWORM tells the story of Strike’s search for Quine, and then the hunt for Quine’s killer when the author is found murdered in peculiar circumstances.
As I mentioned in my review for THE CUCKOO’S CALLING, crime fiction is not a genre I delve into often. As I enjoyed the first book in the CORMORAN STRIKE series so much I decided to continue with the series and give the second book a try. Whilst I did enjoy reading THE SILKWORM, there wasn’t quite the magic of THE CUCKOO’S CALLING in the story and characters for me.
Galbraith creates an interesting mystery in this book first in Quine’s disappearance and then in the circumstances of his death. I was left guessing until the end of the book about who was the murderer and why, which I really enjoyed. Everyone seemed like a viable suspect, and Quine himself was an interesting character. It was also interesting to catch a glimpse of the closed world of publishing as shown in the book, I wouldn’t like to guess how close it may or may not be to reality.
The mystery aspect of the plot in THE SILKWORM was definitely of the same strength as that in THE CUCKOO’S CALLING, however Strike and Robin felt like they had just stagnated after the events of the first book. I think this was partly done of purpose for both the “film noir” aspect and so that we could watch their relationship grow in this book (as well as Robin’s relationship with her fiance), but it still left me struggling at times to empathise with them – Robin in particular gave me some trouble.
Having said that, THE SILKWORM was a very clever and enjoyable read. If you enjoyed THE CUCKOO’S CALLING then you should definitely give Galbraith’s second outing in crime fiction a try.