Friday, 10 October 2014

Book Review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith



Title: The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Book 2)
Published: 19 June 2014
Publisher: Sphere
Author: Robert Galbraith
Twitter: @RGalbraith
Blog/website: http://robert-galbraith.com/

Synopsis (taken from the website)

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.

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…
Review

This is the second book written by JK Rowling under the pen name of Robert Galbraith.  Whilst many may disagree with me, I believe that, as with the first book in the series, I like the development  of the main characters, namely the hero Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin. Despite still having a lot to learn about the characters, I find that I am drawn to them and want to learn more.  

The plot feels slightly more complex than in The Cuckoo's Calling, but in some ways still rather weak. This story appears to be written as a typical detective novel and yet very few clues are given to help the reader determine who carried out the crime. For me this is a shame as, when reading a 'whodunit', I like the challenge of working out who the villain is. It allows me to fully immerse myself in the story and join in the hunt for the villain! In this story, so little is given away about any of the suspects that there is little chance to drawn your own conclusions as to the perpetrator of the crime. In hindsight, there are some clues provided, however they are so subtle that they are really only apparent once you know the ending to the story. Interestingly, there is a moment within the book in which the reader is advised of the difference between plot and narrative. "Plot is what happens" and "Narrative is how much you show your readers and how you show it to them." This may be something that Galbraith should bear in mind when considering how to allow readers to fully immerse with the story. 

Without giving any spoilers, I can say that it was interesting to note some contemporaneous issues referred to such as phone hacking and self-publishing. By setting the tale in the world of publishing, Galbraith is using their own personal knowledge of that world in order to create a believable basis for the story.  

When reaching the last few pages, the final unravelling of the mystery seemed very sudden and abrupt, particularly as very few clues are given throughout the book as to the identity of the villain. I felt slightly 'blindsided' as to the motive and the identity of the villain.
Overall, despite any perceived shortcomings with this book, I would say that this is a genuinely enjoyable crime thriller with interesting characters and a tale that kept me involved. It was a good choice for a holiday read.
The book is released in electronic format and, whilst I was fortunate enough to grab it whilst on special offer at £1.99, it is currently priced at £6.99 on Amazon UK.

Let me know what you think of it! What do you think JK Rowling's attempts at adult fiction?

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