The Silkworm is a 2014 crime fiction novel written by J. K. Rowling, published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
It is the second novel in the series featuring private investigator Cormoran Strike, and is a sequel to The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013). It was followed by Career of Evil (2015)
In the months following the successful resolution of the Lula Landry case, business has improved for private investigator Cormoran Strike. While handling a steady stream of divorce cases and the occasional job on behalf of a tabloid journalist, Strike is approached by Leonora Quine desperate to locate her husband, the notorious writer Owen Quine, who has disappeared without a trace.
Quine, once hailed as one of the original literary rebels, has struggled for years to recreate the success of his original novel and has become a bit reclusive.
Strike discovers that his disappearance coincides with the leak of the manuscript for his latest novel, Bombyx Mori. The London literary community considers Bombyx Mori to be unpublishable as it includes an unpleasant mix of rape, sadomasochism, torture, necrophilia and cannibalism, the hero is eventually tricked and eaten alive by various characters who are thinly-veiled metaphors for people in Quine’s life whom he considers responsible for the destruction of his career.
Quine’s body turns up, murdered in such a sadistic manner as to echo the way the hero in his manuscript meets his demise and though there are many people in Quine’s life, the London police or the “Met” as Strike has not so fondly dubbed, firmly believe that Quine’s widow is responsible despite only possessing circumstantial evidence.
Strike sets out to prove his client’s innocence with the aid of his assistant Robin, and uncover who was truly responsible for Quine’s macabre death.
As a huge fan of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series I have been determined to read her adult fiction beginning with The Casual Vacancy and I have to say that it has been a real let down so far. I hated the aforementioned book and I have struggled with the Cormoran Strike series. I really want to like them. I really and truly do, but alas, I cannot force myself to read them any longer out of love for Harry.
Back to The Silkworm, my apologies for going off on a tangent there. Let’s start with what I liked about it.
Firstly Rowling’s is a brilliant writer I think most would agree with me on that point. She has the ability to paint with words, the entire picture right down to the smallest detail. Which is a problem for me but I will come back to that later.
Secondly, I really liked the concept. It is a classic who – dunnit but written in a brand new way. The idea of Quine’s murder mimicking his manuscript? Fantastic and of course even though the wife is always suspect #1, Strike let’s you know right away that she couldn’t possibly have been the murderess. He staunchly believes in her innocence and therefore you will too.
Lastly I like the characters. I like that the hero of the story is described as looking like a “pug nosed boxer” with “pubes for hair” and the rest of the characters with a few exceptions are equally flawed in some way or another. They’re not glossed over and pretty and it adds realism to the story.
Now here’s where it goes down hill for me. As I had mentioned J.K. Rowling can paint a picture right down to the last detail. I mean ants crawling on the sidewalk small but that’s a problem for me. Yes a good story should be descriptive but only enough that my imagination has a starting point. For me the whole point of reading is to get lost in another world that is created by both writer and reader. It took the fun out of reading for me.
It’s a bit slow out of the gate as well. To be honest it didn’t really grab my attention till about half way through. I also found it overly wordy, which may account for why my imagination has no business reading this book with me. Additionally I found that it was a bit pretentious. Could be me but it was as if the writer believes they needed to be overly descriptive or the reader won’t understand. Also if every word in the Oxford dictionary weren’t used at least twice, she could have reduced the book by half.
Suffice it to say by page 300 I was involved enough to need to finish it if only to find out who killed Quine, but I also could have put this book down without another thought and continued on with my life.
I will rate The Silkworm a C- but only because I love Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling is a wonderful writer but I firmly believe that she should stick to fantasy.
Look for books #1 and #3 in Strike ‘ s story if you do happen to enjoy J.K. Rowling’s Adult fiction.