Review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling

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 The new crime-fiction novel of Robert Galbraith has arrived…  and I would say that this time I am happier as I finished J.K Rowling’s second pseudonym venture.

The book is, as the cover suggests, a Cormoran Strike novel. For those who are not familiar with the first one, The Cuckoo’s Calling, here’s a heads-up. Strike is an ex-Army and SIB guy struggling with disability, relationships and trying to set up his career as a private detective. He hires a temporary secretary Robin and as the story unfolds, happens to find her as more than a PA but an intelligent partner at work. The Lula Landry Case saves the day and it starts his career.

In The Silkworm, tired of the rich but uninteresting clients, on a whim Strike ends up taking the case of a woman whose husband has not been home for quite some time, too long even for his previous stunts of vanishing without informing.  Strike is himself in a tight financial situation and there seems no fair chance of getting paid for this case. Nevertheless he feels attracted to the case and the people involved in it and follows the threads of the mysterious disappearance of this not-so-famous but ambitious and egotistic exhibitioner of an author. Eventually he ends up unearthing some horrible consequences of the actions of a twisted mind and his life is endangered as well.

The book is better than its predecessor primarily because of its even distribution of the actual crime story, the world of strange metaphorical literature written by the author in the story and the character-development. The back-story and chemistry of the protagonist and deuteragonist is handled maturely and so is the share of the thrill related to the case. The first novel, though interesting, lacked this well-thought evenness.The climax of Silkworm is less dramatic than Cuckoo’s…  and hence some people might find it more realistic. It also shows the shadowy vices of the so-called intellectual world of publication, as well as the deep interior cosmos of the human psyche.

Cormoran Strike is an unlikely hero in the world of crime fiction and surely that is his selling point. Generally the classic detectives (I don’t really need to name them!) don’t allow the reader to be really close to them; as if the crime-guys are to be seen from a respectable distance.  In Strike we get a third person description, without the veil of the sidekick’s perspective. The ex-soldier’s experience of facing life as it often throws lemon at him is penned down efficiently by Rowling and we would like to read more of Strike.

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