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review 2018-10-02 15:42
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

I've never read Rowling's other piece of adult fiction, The Casual Vacancy, and I haven't heard anything about that causes me to put it on my mental TBR list, so in my own mind, at least, I had written her off as a bit of a one-trick pony. A really, really good one-trick pony, a one-trick pony who wrote the most popular series in the history of, well, forever, but a one-trick pony nonetheless.

 

She has proved that this assumption was absolutely incorrect. She is at least a two-trick pony - the woman can write mysteries.

 

I really should've known better, because the things that make Harry Potter shine are easily transferable to other genres. Her characterizations are, always, delightful. She has a gift for creating memorable supporting characters who feel both quirky and real. She also has a gift for creating main characters who are flawed and likeable. She knows how to build suspense and reveal clues. Now that I spent more than a few seconds thinking about it, of course she can write mysteries. Harry Potter was one big mystery. With magic.

 

This book was gross. I mean really, stomach churningly gross. The murder is not for the faint of heart. But, if you can get past the grossness, there is a ripping good story here, almost Shakespearean in its vengefulness. Owen Quine, the victim, was a truly awful human being, mythic in his misogynistic terribleness. He was abusive to every woman who ever encountered him.

 

She also has a lot to say about the publishing industry, little of it very flattering. She paints a picture of industry that is self-satisfied, smug and endlessly white and male. I'm sure that there are lovely people in publishing, and I'm equally sure that J.K. Rowling has the advantage of picking and choosing from those lovely ones, but the ones we meet in The Silkworm are pretty universally horrible.

 

Cormoran Strike (have I mentioned that she has a near-Dickensian way with names) continues to impress. He is a seasoned, talented investigator. She seems to be taking her cues on Strike from the old golden age authors (did I mention that she simply must have read Gladys Mitchell? There is no way that "Bellatrix Lestrange" is a coincidence) with her proclivity for the dramatic reveal. Cormoran, working behind the scenes, shows up the police as deliciously as Hercule Poirot ever did, although Dame Agatha would cringe at the disgusting nature of the murder itself.

 

Cormoran's trusty assistant, his modern Miss Lemon as it were, continues to develop in ways that I am really enjoying. My affection for her fiance, Matthew, was pretty thin towards the middle of the book, although he somewhat redeemed himself at the end. Perhaps he isn't quite the ninny I thought he was. I still think that, given Robin's rapid emotional and intellectual growth, he'd better step up his game or he'll be gone, but at least he has a chance of holding onto Robin.

 

I was going to read this for Modern Noir, but I picked up an audiobook by Anne Holt, so I'm using it for Darkest London, instead.

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text 2018-10-01 03:15
Reading progress update: I've read 146 out of 384 pages.
The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

Gross.

 

We're definitely not at Hogwarts anymore, Toto.

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text 2018-10-01 02:30
Reading progress update: I've read 113 out of 384 pages.
The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

Owen Quine sounds like a tosser. And his book sounds dreadful.

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review 2018-08-25 20:29
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

I continued my current crime reading escapade with the second book in Robert Galbraith’s (JK Rowling’s pseudonym) P.I series, featuring Cormoran Strike. I was warned it was a little graphic and it was, but I didn’t have any significant problems with it. If you plan to pick it up bear in mind that there are a few places where it’s a little gruesome.

 

At the beginning a novelist has gone missing, by the name of Owen Quine. I listened to the audio book towards the end and discovered I’d been mispronouncing Owen’s surname the whole way through. I was pronouncing it to rhyme with fin, like a fish would have, but apparently it’s pronounced to rhyme with fine. Is anyone else going huh? I was. Anyway, this novelist has gone missing and his wife employs Cormoran to find him. His receptionist and would be sleuth, Robin, also features heavily.

 

The novel is written in third person multiple, but the majority of the time we’re inside the mind of Strike and secondly Robin.

 

Strike, the estranged son of a famous rock star and is no fool (he went to Oxford University) and sees connections where the police don't and manages to solve a convoluted crime. As with the first book, I did think the perpetrator came totally out of left-field, but that’s far more preferable than an obvious ending.

 

The pacing and characterisation were excellent, as you would expect with JK Rowling. Cormoran and Robin both grew as individuals, their personal lives illustrating their individual capabilities.

 

The novel as a whole was more self-assured than the first, so I can’t wait to read the next instalment. Come on bingo! Just found out about the pre-read. I think I'll start the third book now! 

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review 2018-07-03 22:36
A very enjoyable read
The Silkworm - Robert Galbraith

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.

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