Verdict: Keeps you guessing until the last page.
The Silkworm is Robert Galbraith’s second Cormoran Strike novel, and as soon as you open the book, you’re glad to back in his life.
This time, the publishing world is treated to Strike’s unique approach to investigation, as he first tries to find a missing writer and, later, that same man’s murderer.
As a general observation, I found Silkworm‘s pace a lot slower than its predecessor, although I couldn’t tell you what sections I’d consider surplus to requirement. Everything in the novel seemed necessary, but I didn’t whiz through it like I did with Cuckoo’s Calling. Despite this, it did keep me reading, but less because I was interested in the murder plot and more because I liked the main characters.
Robin and Cormoran dance around each other a little more in this novel, and they’re always a delight. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I hoped Robin would see sense and dump Matthew, her fiance, but there’s still time. Matthew and Robin aren’t married yet and, even if they do get married, there’s always divorce…
As it is, Cormoran and Robin’s platonic but caring business relationship experienced some strife in this novel, largely due to miscommunication. I liked the red herrings regarding Cormoran’s preconceptions about women, and Robin’s evolution from a ‘yes’ man to someone who, at the end of the novel, knows exactly what she wants and isn’t afraid to say so. I think this is largely due to Cormoran’s influence and, to be honest, I could read about these two all day.
The novel delves deeper into Cormoran’s personal life this time around, and the ever-diabolical Charlotte rears her viciously beautiful head again. It’s a mark of a great writer that I genuinely cared what was happening to Cormoran in these moments, and felt fury at Charlotte’s ‘last ditch attempt’ as well as an ugly, smug satisfaction when it didn’t have the effect she wanted. I think I was actually verbally cheering Cormoran on throughout all this, and I’m of the opinion that when you start speaking aloud to the pages of a book, you know you’re onto a winner.
The investigation itself was a bit rockier. Although I wasn’t certain of my guess, it turns out that I knew the culprit early on, and was a bit disappointed there was no twist at the end to prove me wrong. Although the novel was very clever and, at times, certainly very gruesome (once Cormoran enter’s the ‘second house’, don’t read on if you’re eating lunch, like I was), I came away from this book thinking it was more of a veiled attack on ebooks, bad writers and bad publishing agents instead of a pure investigative novel. That might have just been me. Admittedly, it’s hard to read this book impartially now you know the brain behind Galbraith’s pen-name.
That said, the novel is well-crafted, funny, shocking and certainly engaging. I would happily recommend to anyone wanting a good read, if only to see Cormoran and Robin in action. I look forward to enjoying the next Strike novel, Career of Evil, very soon.