Briefly: Private Detective Cormoran Strike gained quite a bit of notice by proving the so-called suicide of an infamous model was indeed murder. He has more work than he can say yes to, though it is mostly of the “I need you to follow my husband/wife/mistress because I think he/she/whichever is having an affair” variety. Boring, tedious and unsavory. Then the wife of a not-so-famous writer asks Cormoran to find her husband who has gone missing. Not very well liked by his peers and circle, it is not until an actual body is found that anyone takes the wife seriously. But who did it? Owen Quine had amassed a rather large list of people and girlfriends who didn’t like him very much, but Cormoran, and his smart and hard-working assistant, Robin, are determined to out the killer, no matter how strange the story.
Didja Like It?: Personally, I think that JK Rowling (writing here as Robert Galbraith) is one of the best writers today. She can spin a tale without marching you down a well-lighted pathway; you never feel cheated by evidence or a person just showing up toward the end; and the characters she creates are fully-formed, three-dimensionals who have lives. So many mysteries and detective novels make it seem like the main characters don’t have friends, family, other work to do and groceries to purchase. They only work on the one case and then move on after solving the puzzle. Knowing all of the personalities, the good and bad characteristics, allows secrets and scenarios to unfold later as we get to know these people. Rowling is the queen of story arcs; she knows just where to place some information that can be utilized later to move on the story without the reader feeling like the information has been highlighted in neon with chase lights (See: Every Harry Potter).
Anything Else to Mention?: I am very intrigued with Robin and her live-in fiancé, Matthew. He is obviously very intimidated by Cormoran, who is too wrapped up in his own life to really notice (which further infuriates Matthew, I think). Robin loves her work with Cormoran, but Matthew thinks that she has given up a great career for something low-paying and coarse. Their relationship is shifting, due to Robin’s realization of what she wants to do with her life, and Matthew is not one hundred percent comfortable with that. While it could be so easy (and convenient) to make Matthew a two-dimensional “villain,” Rowling, to her credit, doesn’t.
To Read or Not To Read: If you are a fan of Rowling’s writing (though I can’t count The Casual Vacancy in that since I have not read it yet), and you like mysteries and detective novels, this is proving to be a great series. She does not write “down,” so be prepared for literary references mixed in with descriptive depictions of the murder scene next to profanity. And really, that’s yet another reason to read Rowling: she writes on so many levels, her books can be enjoyed by everyone.
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith was published June 24, 2014 by Mulholland Books. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library, and thought, “Hey! Let’s write a review of it!”
Genre: Adult Fiction Contemporary Mystery Series