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“Like most writers, I tend to find out what I feel on a subject by writing about it. It is how we interpret the world, how we make sense of it.” – Robert Galbraith, The Silkworm.
The Silkworm is the second book by Robert Gallbraith, a pseudonym under which J. K. Rowling writes crime fiction. The silkworm, successor to ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’, follows Cormoran Strike around London as he solves a murder that accidentally came his way. He is hired by Mrs. Quine to look for her missing husband Owen Quine, a writer who disappeared right after finishing his latest book. The book that he was working on flings dirt on several people Quine knew and as his body is later discovered, the number of people with a motive increases. Furthermore, Quine is not a popular person and the murderer could be anyone from his seemingly harmless wife to his frustrated publishing agent.
The tension running high throughout the book is palpable and the suspense nerve wracking. The police are running their investigation on a different thread altogether providing a wide spectrum of perspectives. But, like in The Cuckoo’s Calling, very piece of information required by the reader to piece together the crime is offered beforehand. To heighten the experience of reading this book (and to give into all of your childhood dreams to be a private detective), I would actually recommend making notes along the way. Hunt through pages of finely concealed dialogues that hide the truth, distinguish between the truth and the falsehoods and you may find yourself solving the mystery along with Cormoran. Despite being in the know of things, the book doesn’t become predictable or lose its grip along the way.
It is bigger in length but is a quick read as the suspense makes it difficult to keep the book down. Further the pace is fast, balanced only by scenes of other cases that strike is working on during that time. The language is simple enough to understand and the book is generally low on cliches, barring one exception.
Robin’s fiancé Mathew is portrayed in a negative light and doesn’t get along with Cormoran. The book hints at Mathew’s jealousy regarding Robin and Strike’s relationship. This particular segment of the book doesn’t visibly further the plot. Although it gives insight into Robin’s character, this part of the book ends abruptly, doesn’t fit in correctly and could have been skipped altogether.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys crime fiction with drama (like Castle but better) even if you are picking up this book with a significant time gap post the first one and have little to no recollection of the previous book. You need not worry as Galbraith jogs your memory by efficiently reintroduces the recurring characters, the most obvious one being Robin. I would however issue a warning saying that this has very graphic details of violence and if you can’t handle gore, you should tread carefully with this book. Further the language makes me want to mark is age appropriate. Having said that, it is a very enjoyable book and I look forward to more.