The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Enough was written about The Cuckoo’s Calling, the first volume in this series, and how it was J. K. Rowling experimenting with writing fiction totally unlike Harry Potter. To a great extent she succeeded, but the first volume was still a bit rough around the edges.
This second book in this very British hardboiled detective series was almost impossible to put down. While I encountered a couple of what seemed like tiny plot holes in some side threads, the main story itself was excellent. The basic story, of an author missing and then murdered, was full of weird and strange characters. The mystery aspect was clever. While I didn’t quite see that ending coming, the resolution made sense, and all of the clues did fit. Unlike American books in the same genre, there are no blazes of gunfire. Even the most horrible murders are almost gentle in their forms of execution, rather than due to acts of explosive violence.
The development of the working relationship between detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin is another highlight of the book. Her fiance is finally given a bit more character development, but the author is leaving us in suspense about the direction of the various relationships. Robin’s not just a dame in distress, but a valued assistant. Strike’s conversation with her about training and goals was surprising, but then again Strike is easy to underestimate. Just when you think he’s just another ex-military detective, he quotes the poetry of Catullus. He’s a complex character, fitting this complex and interesting novel.
-Nick S., Central Library