Review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #2)

EBOOK; 455 P.
SPHERE, 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 were published it would 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 he has encountered before…

I read the first book in the Cormoran Strike series, The Cuckoo’s Calling, two years ago during summer holidays. Although the book didn’t altogether blow my mind – with JK Rowling the expectations run higher than usual –, it turned out to be an exciting and fun summer read. However, continuing the series was pushed back as I was soon after slightly spoiled about the events in The Silkworm and needed some time to erase the information from my memory. In the end summer arrived once again with a short vacation at the summer cottage and upon choosing the books to take with me, I decided to purchase The Silkworm for my Kindle and see where the story would go (and whether it would improve).

Whereas The Cuckoo’s Calling centered around fame and celebrity culture, The Silkworm focuses on the publishing circles of London. Like many other readers I, too, am fascinated by stories – fiction or non-fiction – set in the world of books, which is why I was super intrigued to see how the story and the plot would plan out. The story begins when private detective Cormoran Strike is alerted about a missing author Owen Quine. Right before his disappearance Quine had sent several people a copy of his manuscript that throws strong accusations about several leading figures in the publishing world. The circumstances around the authors disappearance are murky and it seems no one has a nice word to say about the missing author.

The Silkworm is an enjoyable detective novel. It’s great in the sense that it makes you want to read until the end to find out who did it – a perfect read that will keep you entertained for a day or two – and it doesn’t give clues too easily. However, looking back at the reading experience it’s apparent that the book failed to leave a lasting impression – I had to look up several things while writing this blog post. The most exciting thing about this novel was the publishing world setting, but other than that, I found my interest slipping. I guess it might be just me, but I found neither the plot nor the characters particularly gripping. Aside from the mystery itself, the novel focuses a lot on Cormoran Strike’s assistant Robin and her struggles in balancing work and relationship. This could have been interesting in itself, but in the end it felt that the two plotlines of The Silkworm didn’t connect with each other – they were like two incomplete parts of two different books that had been sown together.

I don’t mean to say that The Silkworm is particularly bad novel, but it’s not exceptional either. All in all, the book left me a bit disappointed in the series as a whole. JK Rowling knows how to write and to craft realistic characters, so it’s always a pleasure to read her books, but I just don’t think she writes crime well. As a concept the Cormoran Strike series is an interesting one, but it just doesn’t seem like the one for me. Lucy from the Hard Book Habit struggled also with the first two books in the series, but based on her review things get more interesting in the third book. Hence I might try to read The Career of Evil over the summer (and continue to read the next books in the series for the sake of pop culture references). However, I’ll definitely stick to checking them out from the library instead of buying my own copies.



5 thoughts on “Review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (Cormoran Strike #2)

  1. Ha! Yes, library is a good idea 😉 I got my last one for £3.99, and as it was the best of the bunch it felt like a very good deal 😀

  2. I just borrowed this and the first part. I feel a bit uncertain about reading them because no one seems to have rated them 5 stars… yet I’m curious to see how Jo writes detective novels.

    • I hope you enjoy them! I actually really liked her first non-HP novel, The Casual Vacancy, which most readers seemed to hate. With the Cormoran Strike novels, the situation seems to be the other way round.

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