Tuesday, 30 September 2014

The Silkworm By Robert Galbraith

Ex-soldier turned private detective Cormoran Strike returns in Galbraith's follow-up novel to The Cuckoo's Calling. The Silkworm is a tightly woven novel which picks up with Strike and his eager-to-please assistant Robin shortly after their success with closing the murder of model Luna Landry.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing his distraught wife calls Strike to investigate into his disappearance and bring him home. The author has a flair for dramatics and often goes missing for weeks at a time but as the days pass by, Quine's disappearance starts to look like something much more serious and sinister has happened. As Strike digs deeper he discovers Quine's last piece of work before his disappearance was a manuscript featuring grotesque characters, parodies of the writers, agents and publishers he knew. The manuscript would have been the talk of the literary world had it been published. When Quine's body is found, murdered in such a way that points to only a handful of suspects Strike must discover who had the most to gain from keeping Quine's manuscript out of the spotlight.

The return of Strike and Robin has been something I have been looking forward to after reading The Cuckoo's Calling and with The Silkworm Galbraith seems to have really found his feet as detective/crime writer. Galbraith plays his cards close to his chest throughout the story, as Strike and Robin investigate Quine's murder. Even as the pool of suspects starts to thin, Galbraith keeps the reader on their toes until the final moments.

While there is still something reminiscent of Rowling's writing throughout the novel - it's not a gritty crime novel -  it's the weaving of a plot that is as tight as a drum that I can get behind. When I first read The Cuckoo's Calling I had to admit that I found the character of Strike to be a little bit of a cliche - the damaged detective/lone wolf type that I have read many times before, but in The Silkworm as his character is developed and explored more I have really come to enjoy reading.


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