J.K. Rowling does it again in her latest installment of the Cormoran Strike mystery series, The Silkworm. This one takes place almost a year after the Lula Landry case from The Cuckoo’s Calling, and Strike’s business is booming. Robin is still assisting him, but wondering if she made the wrong choice in professions when it creates some serious relationship tension with her fiancee, Matthew. The Silkworm is about the publishing world, and the tensions between authors and other authors, and the difficulties in publishing, editing, and self-publishing. I think it’s Rowling at her most personal, too. She has more than likely experienced the cutthroat world of writing and publishing, especially before Harry Potter was picked up. “…writers are a savage breed, Mr. Strike. If you want life-long friendship and selfless camaraderie, join the army and learn to kill. If you want a lifetime of temporary alliances with peers who will glory in your every failure, write novels.”
Owen Quine is a not quite famous, sometimes controversial, cloak wearing writer, set to publish his newest, and said to be best book yet. Known for a love of drama and publicity, Owen is always disappearing for days at a time before a book comes out or is announced. His wife Leonora, comes to Strike in the midst of one of these disappearances. Bumbling and often cold, Leonora just wants her husband back, however unhappy their life together. Strike agrees to take the case, and soon finds there is much more to Owen’s disappearance than Leonora knows, and far more than any of his writing colleagues are willing to divulge.
I absolutely loved The Silkworm. I think even more so than The Cuckoo’s Calling. The mystery was more complex (and grotesque), and we got to see so much more of Robin and what she is capable of. I almost felt like I was reading a Herman Koch novel, the way all of the characters seemed to leave a bad taste in your mouth, and you never knew what they were capable of. There were reasons for every one of the (brilliantly written) “friends” of Owen Quine to have a hand in his disappearance, and as each layer of the cobwebs surrounding his death was pulled away, you found yourself a little less sure about who it was.
If crime fiction is your thing, or JK Rowling is your thing and you haven’t tried these out yet, or you want to try something that will keep you riveted from page one to the end, pick up The Silkworm and you won’t be sorry!