The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Review by Lauren
Source: personal copy; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband 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 realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives-meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.
Review: Private detective Cormoran Strike is back in Robert Galbraith's second novel (again, for those that are unaware, Galbraith is J.K. Rowling) and the series just keeps getting better. The focus of this novel is on Owen Quine, an author who hasn't received very much success. However, his latest work puts the people in his life under an unfavorable light, including his editor and own wife. This book would cause a lot of drama and unleash various secrets if it were ever published, which Quine obviously wants. However, he goes missing (and is later found murdered) before this can ever happen.
What I loved about The Cuckoo's Calling (the first Strike novel) and now The Silkworm is the variety of characters, and suspects, throughout the book. For Quine, many people disliked him and would have reason to wish him out of the way. But who would really murder this man in such a brutal fashion? (and there are some gory details throughout the book!) Obviously someone that hates him a great deal. The suspects in the novel are varied and interesting. I honestly couldn't figure out who did it until the moment was revealed. I loved that Galbraith included various clues and things to think about throughout the novel. Not all of these will be noticeable until the culprit is revealed, but knowing them makes you want to go back and read the book with a new awareness.
Apart from the suspects, there are many characters that felt fairly well-rounded. They might not get a lot of page time, but what you see and learn of them makes them seem real. I love good characterization in almost any novel and it's particularly great to see in a mystery novel. Galbraith does not push the characters aside in order to focus on the suspense and thrills. Instead, the two are seamlessly mixed together.
Of course, I could go on and on about the book but I honestly feel you should experience most of this for yourself. The Cuckoo's Calling is the first novel, but nothing is ruined if you read The Silkworm first. However, I would recommend going in order to really get to know Strike and Robin, the young woman who comes to work as a secretary and finds herself fascinated by his work. I can't say I blame her, after all, since I found myself just as mesmerized reading about the case!
I hope we don't have to wait long for a third novel in this series!