Monday, October 31, 2016

The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

The Silkworm
Title: The Silkworm
Author: Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)
Publication Date: 6/19/14
Pages: 455
Genre: Thriller / Fiction 
How I Found It: I read the first Cormoran Strike novel, The Cuckoo's Calling
Date Completed: 9/29/16

Summary: Cormoran Strike and his assistance Robin Ellacott are still living in the aftermath of the Luna Landry case when an interesting new case comes to the door. Owen Quine, a mildly successful author, has disappeared and his concerned wife has come to Strike rather than involving the police. When it turns out Quine had just been refused publication of his latest salacious and libel-filled novel, things begin to take a dark turn.

What I Thought: Back when I reviewed The Cuckoo's Calling, I mentioned how rarely I traipse into the detective genre. Normally, I find such works so formulaic and, if not predictable, then groan-inducing when the final twist is revealed. Kevin enjoys them because they usually hold his attention. I simply cannot bear the sacrifice of writing aptitude that often comes along as a silent partner to literary detectives. Rowling has once again proven herself an exception to this rule. She brings her typical attention to detail and investment in character to the Cormoran Strike novels and I find myself enjoying each twist and turn. Most pleasantly, I found myself genuinely surprised and pleased by the ending. As always, hail to Queen Rowling, ruler of modern literature. She's basically the Beyoncé of books. 

I particularly liked the continued thread of the relationship between Strike and Robin. The triangle they create with Robin's fiancé, Matthew, deepens in this novel. I appreciate that Rowling takes so much time to invest in the detective and his assistant. Their personal lives matter and effect the decisions they make in regard to their casework. This should not feel as rare as it does. I like that Strike and Robin do not have romantic interest in each other (at least at this point); the simultaneous awkwardness and ease of their relationship feels very authentic. I'm definitely interested to see where Galbraith/Rowling takes this triangle. At one point in this novel, I was convinced Robin would end things with Matthew, but I like that Galbraith/Rowling chose a more subtle, real life solution for them. I suppose we'll see how things continue to play out as the series continues.

I enjoyed that Galbraith/Rowling set the book in the midst of the publishing world. It made me wonder what her experiences have been like with the people in that industry. Personally, I like that both Strike novels have thus far been set in worlds in which I am at least mildly interested. I'm looking forward to reading the third one and hoping it will follow suit. 

Quine's disappearance gets grisly fast. Galbraith/Rowling does not shy away from the gruesome. The vitriol between characters is fascinating and a painful reminder that some people really do hate each other that much. I enjoyed the ending, as I've said. I felt it came on a bit all at once, but maybe that's because I didn't realize how close we were getting since I mainly listened to the audiobook version. 

I enjoy Rowling's writing in whatever genre she chooses to work. While I was definitely disappointed by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, this was a nice Rowling rebound for me. It's a good reminder that authors move on, change, and develop their work just as we do in our own lives. I, for one, am enjoying this next phase of Rowling's career.

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: Does anyone ever reread a mystery outside of Agatha Christie? 
If You Liked This, Try: The Girl on the Train / Black Chalk / Eeny Meeny
Other Books By J. K. Rowling: The Harry Potter series / The Casual Vacancy / The Cuckoo's Calling

A Reduced Review: Another strong detective novel from Rowling; it was just the rebound I needed after being so disappointed by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

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