The Silkworm, by Robert Galbraith
Still fresh from his success unravelling the mystery surrounding the death of a famous model, private detective Cormoran Strike is hired by a woman whose writer husband has gone missing. Whilst she’s convinced he has simply flounced off to a writer’s retreat, Strike believes that something more sinister is going on, involving the scandalous manuscript the author has just completed.
Robert Galbraith is the pen name for J.K. Rowling, who published the previous book in the Cormoran Strike series anonymously before being outed in the press.
Popular crime thriller.
As far as crime novels go, I’m rather partial to Rowling/Galbraith’s unusual hero, Cormoran Strike. A former military policeman who lost part of his leg to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, Strike grew up a part of his mother’s itinerant lifestyle. An infamous rock star groupie, she hooked up with a succession of musicians, before dying from a mysterious drug overdose. Strike’s father is a famous rocker who he has met twice in his life.
A lot is made of how the detective isn’t the most attractive bloke, with his overweight frame and ‘pube-like hair’, but there’s an intriguing air about him and he has a chequered romantic past, with his former high society fiancée having left him for another man.
Key themes and motifs
- In both the Cormoran Strike novels, Rowling explores the idea of celebrity and the way it is celebrated in modern culture.
- The literary establishment.
- The grotesque in literature.
- The place of reality in literature.
- The divide between the personal and the professional.
What’s to love?
This is a really pacy crime novel with plenty of gore, over-the-top characters and action. Cormoran Strike is a character with a lot of depth and his developing relationship with assistant Robin provides a nice subplot.
…writers are a savage breed, Mr. Strike. If you want life-long friendship and selfless camaraderie, join the army and learn to kill. If you want a lifetime of temporary alliances with peers who will glory in your every failure, write novels.”
Nothing obvious. The story and the writing are a little over-the-top in places, but the plot is so engaging that it’s easy to forgive.
Read it if you enjoyed
- The Cuckoo’s Calling, by Robert Galbraith
- The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling
- Death Comes to Pemberley, by P.D. James
Find out more:
The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike) on Amazon (affiliate link)
The Silkworm on Goodreads