It was with curiosity, fondness and indeed excitement that I commenced reading The Silkworm by JK Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Cormoran Strike is not the conventional detective. He is a man not only shaped by his unusual upbringing (son of famous rock star Jonny Rokeby) but deeply affected by his experience in war torn Afghanistan which resulted in him not only saving the life of a close friend but also the loss of his leg. That injury serves as a constant and painful reminder of the futility of war and the source of all his nightmares. Strike is best described as an antihero and with his disability he does not conform to the public's perception of a Private Investigator. His drab office with a central metal staircase pays homage to the fictional Philip Marlowe and certain passages only add to that illusion...."The geometrically perfect steel-grey bob, a black suit of severe cut and a slash of crimson lipstick gave her a certain dash. She emanated that aura of grandeur that replaces sexual allure in the successful older woman"......His young assistant Robin adds perception and glamour under the watchful eye of jealous boyfriend Matthew.
The novelist Owen Quine has been missing for 10 days and his wife Leonora has employed the services of Strike to find him. Quine has written a soon to be published bitter and twisted novel that depicts his acquaintances as grotesque caricatures. If such a novel was brought to the attention of an adoring public the lives of many would be sullied and ruined. So when the badly decomposed body of the author, minus his intestines, is discovered the list of potential perpetrators would be the envy of an Agatha Christie novel!
Although the story at its best is a good police procedural the attention and sympathy of the reader is directed towards the flawed character of Cormoran Strike. Here is a PI who must hobble around the snowy, wintry streets of London on an ill fitting prosthetic. You can almost feel the pain and frustration of a driven individual (fuelled by copious amounts of his favourite tipple Doom Bar) hampered by his own inadequacies and relying totally on his glamorous, intelligent assistant Robin who will undoubtedly play a more important role as the later stories develop... An accomplished second book in the series with some astute observations...."We are mammals who need sex, need companionship, who seek the protective enclave of the family for reasons of survival and reproduction. We select a so-called loved one for the most primitive of reasons"...I look forward to reading the rest in the series.