book review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

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THE SILKWORM by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
★★★☆☆
Mulholland Books, 2014

I read The Cuckoo’s Calling earlier this year (not sure what took me so long) and loved it, but I was even more excited to start The Silkworm. I loved the idea of a murder mystery set in the publishing world, as this is much more my area than the foreign and glamorous entertainment industry, the setting for the previous Cormoran Strike novel. So it is with much sadness that I have to admit I found The Silkworm to be kind of a letdown.

This book was a hundred pages longer than it needed to be, and I have a simple suggestion for paring down that page count: remove every instance of Strike complaining about his knee hurting, Robin fighting with her fiancé, Strike resolving to use fewer taxis in the future, Strike pining after his horrible ex, and Robin and Strike going out to lunch. All of that comprises a pretty solid bulk of this novel, which passes the point of character-driven into the area of complete tedium. Rowling needed an editor with a firmer hand.

The plot itself was punishingly convoluted. Not only are there a lot of characters, there’s also a story within a story which contains thinly veiled references to ‘real’ people – it’s just a lot to keep track of. The pace languishes – there just weren’t enough clues dropped throughout to keep me fully invested. I won’t say anything specific about the ending – just that I didn’t experience the shock and awe that The Cuckoo’s Calling‘s resolution had elicited from me.

I know I’m probably giving off the impression that it was a chore to read this book, but it wasn’t. I love JK Rowling’s prose, I love her characters, mainly the quick-witted and kindhearted Robin and the abrasive but efficient Strike, and I’m looking forward to continuing this series. I’m only hoping Career of Evil wows me a bit more than The Silkworm did.

4 thoughts on “book review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

  1. I guess when your client is JK Rowling, it would take a brave editor to suggest drastic cuts, but oh, how I wish there were more brave editors around! So many modern crime novels are stuffed full of unnecessary padding. Glad you enjoyed it enough to want to go on with the series, though. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was thinking that too – she strikes me as the sort of person who would welcome constructive criticism but I for one would be terrified to criticize JK Rowling to her face! I agree completely about this being a common issue in modern crime novels, there is so much unnecessary tedium in this genre. But yes, I look forward to book #3!

      Liked by 1 person

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