As more regular readers will know, I reviewed The Cuckoo’s Calling (the first in Galbraith’s Cormoron Strike novels) back in April last year and thoroughly enjoyed it; so, when I heard that a second book was coming out I knew that it had to go on my ‘to read’ list. Sometimes when you read a good book and then hear about a sequel you can feel a little apprehensive – unsure whether the author will be able to work the same magic a second time, or wondering if the premise of the story will stretch to a second novel – not so with Galbraith (or should I say J. K. Rowling as she was unmasked as its author shortly after the publication of the first book).
I never had concerns about The Silkworm, feeling that with Rowling I was undoubtedly in safe hands. I wasn’t disappointed. Just like A Cuckoo’s Calling, I was totally gripped by The Silkworm and tore through its pages at an alarming rate. Rowling’s writing, whatever her subject, has the smoothest flow to it, it’s never clunky or overly wordy. Rather like the smooth pints of ale her hero likes to consume, her prose streams cooly from the page to your brain with very little effort on your part and leaves you feeling refreshed. I think, for me, ‘refreshing’ very much hits the nail on the head for how I would describe Rowling’s writing. It is such an uninterrupted easy read; and I have found this to be true with every book of hers I’ve ever read – from Harry Potter to The Casual Vacancy, each book is imbued with her beautifully flowing, concise style.
Rowling really does plot and deliver crime novels – or ‘whodunits’ as they’re affectionately known – like a true master. Deftly dropping suggestions and clues without ever giving too much away. I was kept guessing and wondering for a very long time. The Silkworm is also obviously set amongst a backdrop she knows well, the crime being committed amidst the seemingly dangerous world of book publishing. As with her other adult novels, Rowling artfully shows us the world outside our windows, pushing us to view the whole socio-economic spectrum of society and showing us how, whether they know it or not, her character’s lives are inextricably linked in a giant web that both traps and supports them as they muddle through their lives.
As with all her other books, Rowling’s characters are well drawn and her leading man and narrative voice, Cormoran Strike, is as intriguing as ever. A little rough around the edges, you can’t help rooting for Cormoran and trusting his unerring instincts as he guides you, limp by limp, through the story.
I would thoroughly recommend The Silkworm to most readers. Not being a crime reader myself, I have really enjoyed using Rowling’s trusted authorial voice as a safe starting place from which to dip my toes into the pool of a new genre. I look forward to a third Cormoran Strike novel and will, no doubt, be reviewing it in the future.
I move on to When in Rome by Nicky Pellegrino.