by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
I got into this series out of order. When I was presented with this book, I found out it was number 2 in the series, but decided to read it anyway. I was so delighted with it that I soon ran down to the local library and got numbers 1 and 3!
The Silkworm is a Cormoran Strike novel. He’s not your typical detective; there’s no flash and he’s not rich and loaded with tech toys. And he’s not gloomy and depressing and down on life like some investigators. He is smart and capable. His war injury makes him sympathetic, as does his failed relationship with his ex, Charlotte. (Especially for those of us with similar heartache.) All-in-all, he feels endearing and human, especially when he’s struggling to maintain his dignity and capability in the face of his injury, and in his charming relationship with Robin, his assistant.
For me, that relationship with his assistant is my favourite part of the series. I think the way Galbraith/Rowling writes about how they met and became involved in book 1 progresses in an exciting way here in book 2 as we see Robin’s desire to become an investigator in her own right come out. And we see the conflict her career choice presents with jealous fiancé, Matthew. The way the two interact, the subtle one or two lines here and there about their thoughts or reactions, it’s so skillfully interlaced with the main plot.
Right from the beginning in book 1 we can see that fiancé Matthew is a poor choice for Robin, which she, of course, doesn’t see, and in that sense, she’s a very relateable female, caught up in the romance of what she wants their relationship to be and what she thinks her life should be. She’s struggling against expectations and the secret desires within her that want to drive her in a different direction. And, of course, awkward, strange, different Cormoran Strike is a far better match, but with her engagement between them, and now as they join forces in the detective agency, there’s even more keeping them from exploring that potential romantic angle. Galbraith/Rowling is doing an amazing job of creating a delicious tension between the two characters that makes you want to gobble up each book in the series to see what happens next between them and the fate of their growing agency.
As for the main plot of the Silworm, Cormoran and Robin find themselves on the hunt for a missing writer whose book has sent the publishing world into turmoil with its scandelous characterization of many important figures. There’s not much action or danger, as it’s not a thriller, rather, the book explores the story in great detail from many angles through a series of interviews. It’s remarkably realistic to what a detective might go through. Each interviewee presents a different story, partly witih facts, partly with personal perspective, partly with lies. It’s very well thought out and a brilliant work by the author. Being able to craft so many angles on the story, being able to create so many realistic characters – wow. Galbraith/Rowling is very skilled.
I think because Rowling is known through Harry Potter fame that I was never expecting her other books to be so adult. Maybe that’s something she did on purpose, a necessary departure from the child-like to the world of adulthood. The series has plenty of ‘bad’ language and a remarkable degree of sexuality, considering. No sex scenes or anything, but the scandelous story within the Silkworm is quite graphic and morbid. And the key death ghastly. I’m glad that she was so bold in her writing chocies. It’s nice to see that the author has such depth to her and that she’s so much more than the Potter-verse. My respect for her has definitely gone up reading these novels.
Can’t wait to read the next one! 😀