The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
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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.
When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before.
Review by Brittany:
This is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series, and I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery novel.
I love how enjoyable I find these novels when there is limited action throughout. Galbraith has made it a point to utilize dialogue more than violence or full-throttle action in order to move the plot along, and while I would think this method wouldn't work for me, it actually keeps me glued to the page. Strike is able to interrogate suspects and think through each piece through dialogue in the novel, keeping the reader in the loop with each individual piece of evidence that he acquires. The only time the reader does not get full reign on Strike's thoughts is at the climax of the novel, when Strike has put together what happened and who the killer is, and the setup is needed to reveal it to the reader.
As in the previous novel, Robin serves as Strike's secretary/partner, and she is a wonderful addition tot he novel. I love how Galbraith takes the time to explore Robin's relationship with her fiance, Matthew, and how it affects her employment with Strike. Galbraith took the time to develop this relationship more in this book, which I appreciated since I'm a fan of Robin. I also think there were some of the same subtle hints to burgeoning feelings between Strike and Robin in this novel as there were in the first, which is interesting and has left me wondering what is to become of them.
As for Galbraith's writing, I have to point out that one of the things I love most are some of the silly details that get thrown in with the more serious subject matter that the plot of the book relies on. The farting leather couch in Strike's office never failed to make me smile each time it was mentioned, and Strike's constant awareness of the cost of things in his time of debt felt close to home to me. Galbraith knows how to slide in little pieces of amusement without taking away from the seriousness of the book.
That being said, this one was definitely gruesome. Both the description of Quine's murder and the detailed descriptions of excerpts of his book occasionally made me shudder because of the grotesqueness of them, but because I'm a little bit morbid, I also appreciated it. This was also a good tool for Robin's character development as she got to experience some of the more morbid sides of Strike's work.
Overall, this was a great second addition to the series. I loved the first book and I loved this one. I already have the third on TBR and imagine that I will continue to read the series.
Women, in his experience, often expected you to understand that it was a measure of how much they loved you that they tried their damnedest to change you.
But he knew no other way; it was part of a short but inflexible personal code of ethics that he carried with him all his adult life...
It was as though her eyes were being stripped of a comfortable soft focus.