Spinning Detection: Galbraith’s The Silkworm (Book Review)

If you want to see how an author’s writing can transform, you better read J.K.Rowling’s latest offering under Robert Galbraith, The Silkworm. The unique disposition she holds for writing both children and adult content is conspicuously displayed in the new Coroman Strike novel, which is already making global waves. It is wonderful to see the acclaimed author give some serious plots into the world of adult fiction especially a genre as twists-oriented as crime and detection.

Protagonist Coroman Strike, ex-military now turned detective is still shunning the press after eight months of his famous Lula Landry’s suicide-turned-murder case. Eventually a new client hires him to find her missing husband, writer Owen Quine. Plot unfolds and Quine is revealed to have written a horrendous book which includes metaphors as characters of some noticeable people in his life including his wife, his publisher, agent and some enemies he made along the way. Found brutally murdered, Strike finds disturbing details about the contents of his book which are linked to his murder. The most interesting thing about this latest novel by Rowling is the way the words and language is used, you would almost gasp at the accurate usage of grammar and vocabulary at the most relevant respective content. Upon Quine’s murder the author gives us, “The malignity of what had been done there had been almost orgiastic, a carefully calibrated display of sadistic showmanship.” a perfect sentence with a perfect choice of words. The more the story progresses, the more it will be evident upon the reader the sheer balance and clarity Rowling spins her content with.

It was surprising to see that with her first detective endeavor, Rowling didn’t make many headlines as Robert Galbraith till the time it was leaked that she is behind the now apparent pseudo-authorship. Galbraith or not, the point made here is spot on as one of her character in the novel comments on the current publishing system to be going through rapid changes and fresh challenges, but one thing remains as true today as a century ago: Content is king. Rowling passes the test with this book as the content speaks for itself.

Apart from the main dominating plot, there are other incomplete twists as well, something reminiscent of the Harry Potter books and characteristic of Rowling. The mystery behind Strike’s assistant Robin’s stunt driving skills, his experiences with his ex fiancé Charlotte, Robin’s relationship and the postponed wedding to Matthew and the appearance of Strike’s rich and well resourced brother and others can only be waited upon in any upcoming Coroman Strike novels. One can only guess how much publicity this case will bring to Strike and his assistant (more like the adept side kick) as the previous solved mystery surrounding the Lula Landry case still haunts him with unwanted attention.

The Silkworm is a 455 pages (paperback) read with a proficient plot, mature content and insight into the character’s minds; readers will find it to be a much pleasurable read than The Cuckoo’s Calling which was over written and almost dull despite the originality. Highly recommended!

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