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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 17 July 2014
I read and enjoyed The Cuckoo’s Calling and so was looking forward to this follow-up. As with the first book I was much more taken by the characters than the plot. Strike is extremely likable and very well-rounded and the relationships between the main characters are really believable. Location too is great; I know that corner of London very well and it was lovely to read it brought to life so evocatively.

Sadly, it’s the plot that lets the whole book down; it reads like a crime novel written by someone who hasn’t read much crime. It lacks the pace of a Val McDermid or a PD James novel and so my main reason for finishing the book was because I was enjoying the character development.

I’d read another one, but hopefully it will be about a hundred pages shorter and have a bit more pace behind it.
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Eight months after the Landry case and Strike is back. Inundated with rich clients wanting their adulterous spouses tailed, the private detective is relieved to receive a likeable visitor with a quandary actually worth investigating. The wife of not-quite-famous author, Owen Quine, Leonora Quine wants her missing husband found. Cormoran takes on the case and quickly finds himself in and amongst London's squabbling literary circle, caught up in the mess created by Quine upon circulation of his latest manuscript; a libellous book in which he viciously attacks almost everyone he's ever worked with.

`Write what you know' is the age old adage and, where Rowling dipped into her experience of fame for The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm deals with a publishing world going through an identity crisis. Traditional publishing, self-publishing and the internet's influence are all fleetingly examined, and you can't help but wonder how many of Cormoran's suspects include portions of the real-life people Rowling encountered during her remarkable rise to superstardom. But then, given the repercussions of Quine's own manuscript, Bombyx Mori (Latin for silkworm), borrowed traits might well have been too ironic an inclusion for even the most cavalier of writers - an enjoyable conundrum to deliberate whilst reading.

A literary yet accessible crime thriller, The Silkworm is, like its predecessor, an excellent read. The mystery is moreish, the characters well-crafted, and the side plots - particularly the continuing animosity between Strike and his assistant's fiancé - are genuinely enjoyable. One of the few complaints is that Strike unravels the mystery with a bit of a clunk, and that the quotes at the beginning of every chapter are somewhat pretentious for a trashy (in the very best of ways) crime thriller. Yes, even one with such a literary heart.

Jack Croxall, author of Tethers (The Tethers Trilogy Book 1)
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on 26 August 2014
Having enjoyed "The Cuckoo's Calling" (not to mention all the other books of J K Rowlings) I was keen to see how the second book would fair. Although I found it darker, it was more enjoyable, possibly because I was familiar with the main characters. Once again the setting is atmospheric and beautifully observed while the characters, even the minor players, are carefully moulded to show depth and personality with all their idiosyncrasies, hang ups flaws and redeeming features.
The central plot twists and drags the reader through the streets of snowbound London, but I will not give away the main tenet as I feel spoilers are a curse. Suffice to say I hope Ms Rowlings (aka Robert Galbraith) in her literary circle does not come into contact with the seamier side of the publishing world.
A word of warning to those of a sensitive disposition; the language is often ripe, as befits the characters, and description of the body, luridly graphic.
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on 8 July 2014
Very good, but not as well plotted as first novel. Plot bit convoluted and less than believable. Developing relationship between Cormorant and his assistant held my interest and I look forward seeing how things move on in the next book in the series. Would prefer less gratuitous violence.
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on 14 September 2014
This, Robert Galbraith's second excursion into the dark, seedy world of the down at heel P.I. on one leg, is outstanding. Even better than his(!) first sojourn into this territory.

I don't profess to have the literary knowledge to understand the relevance or meanings behind the quotes at the beginning of each chapter but they had no bearing on my enjoyment of the book. I dare say they held important clues. But I was clueless.

The principal characters have developed since the first book. Understandably. They are more rounded; human even. Robin is the perfect foil for the limped gait crusader. She has become as important as the main protagonist. Hard to imagine one without the other now.

The plot here isn't complex but the main event - the murder - is certainly not run of the mill. The author uses all her experience of literary circles - agents, writers, publishers - to weave her tale and few come up smelling of roses. I dare say some may recognise themselves in the book. The irony in that is crystal clear and you can see that parallel as the story develops.

Fast paced and full of oddball characters, all of whom are suspects till the finale, this is a glorious trip round a strangely wintry London as Strike attempts to track down a murderer whose motive in the end is not as it appears throughout.

A first class detective story once again reminiscent of Chandler and Hammett at their best. Wit and grime come thick and fast in equal measure. Roll on the third Vet-man and Robin adventure. By far and away my favourite writer at the moment. Just terrific.
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on 15 April 2015
Disappointing follow up for lovers of Strike Cormoran first novel, The Cuckoos Calling. The characters of Strike and his capable assistant, Robyn continue to be well developed and this aspect of the plot was what kept me going to the end. The plot however was in my opinion overly convoluted and quite tedious at times, the Latin introductions to each chapter added nothing, just irritated me. I cared nothing about any of the other characters and by the end I frankly just wanted the book to end so didn't give a hoot who the murderer was. Sorry, so wanted to enjoy this as my holiday read but will not be recommending.
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on 24 June 2015
I really wanted to like this novel and did persevere with it to the end, but I found that the interludes between reading it were getting longer and longer as I struggled to care about any of the characters and got more and more irritated by the ridiculous plot and cliched characters. Everything about 'The Silkworm' seemed laboured.
And this is coming from someone who thought the early Harry Potter books were great.

As Rowling got more famous it seems that there was less and less professional editing of her work (notice how the Harry Potter books got longer and longer) and I think that is what has happened here. It feels like the Emperor's New Clothes - no-one can be seen to criticise her work because she is J K Rowling.

This crime thriller is truly awful.

Briefly, Cormoron Strike - a private detective and Afghanistan war veteran (with a prosthetic leg)- is the protaganist and he is tasked with unravelling what has happened to a notorious novelist called Owen Quine, who has disappeared.

There is a cast of characters who are almost invariably stereotypes - the alcoholic editor, the ball-busting female literary agent, the seedy tabloid report who is surprised that Strike doesn't get information by phone hacking. Please! - and too many terrible metaphors and descriptions.

It doesn't really matter what J K Rowling writes; her legions of fans will just lap it up and think it's great.
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on 9 July 2014
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the first in this series, I was very excited to see this was coming out. There's a strong chance that I have a big Cormoran Strike crush - I think he's a really well-written hero - but I enjoy Robin's character just as much.

Didn't see the ending of this whodunit coming - another pleasure of this book. Some gory details that slowed my progress at times, but I am very pleased that persevering led to such a satisfying conclusion.
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VINE VOICEon 30 September 2015
Eccentric private detective Cormoran Strike returns in this second book of the series; an author's wife hires Strike to track down her husband who has form for taking days away from his family, however when Strike discovers his body in what is staged as a ritualistic killing things are complicated when the method of his demise has been written in his own pre-published controversial book. With many suspects and much bad blood between them Strike must unravel who the killer is before the Met press charges against his innocent client.

This is a well written and researched crime thriller, which although not as thrilling as the first one, still was interesting in the themes it included of publishing and writers, but what reading this second book reinforced to me was that I personally don't find Cormoran Strike an alluring literary character, for some reason I am immune to his charm and not even the hidden depths of his assistant Robin and her tumultuous relationship with her fiance could keep my interest up. I can't fault the plot, although it somewhat dawdles sometimes, or the writing and this is far from the worst crime thriller book I have read this year but I am just not taken with Cormoran Strike.

However, if you enjoyed reading Cormoran Strike in the first one, this one will prove just as entertaining.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 June 2014
Despite all the excitement and my strong belief that JK Rowling can tell a good story, I was disappointed and struggled to finish “The Silkworm”. Last night while pushing myself to finish it, I was hoping that the book would gain in pace, would improve, would reward me with various hints and clues so I could start building my own theories (that did not happen until about 51% of the book – I read it on Kindle) and it’s a long time to just prod through the “murder mystery” and [not very exciting] descriptions of London’s literary word and its inhabitants. Parts of the story were rather tedious, particularly the constant references to Strike's leg, and Strike’s telephone conversations with an array of his acquaintances, most of which felt quite staged, and anyway, how lucky it is that our detective has a variety of family members and old friends in convenient locations, doing handy jobs and willing to help with the investigation – who would be solving the mystery otherwise?

I found the array of suspects dull and quite honestly, the horrible murder scene and the mystery surrounding the death of the unlucky author did not stir any feeling inside me – I don’t know, it just felt half-done, even thought the puzzle pieces would have fitted into a picture, if only I cared enough to use my deduction skills and rummage through the evidence. I found myself not really interested in finding out who committed the murder, more concerned about the main characters and their personal developments. The exposure of the killer came as an anti-climactic break – I was glad to finish the book.

I enjoyed the first book, and will read the third instalment in the series. But the actual plot in “The Silkworm” is not what I would expect from the prize-winning author! Complicated, tedious, preposterous and badly written (i.e. it reads like a cheap series mystery, a long shot from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, with whom JK Rowling was compared due to the fact that they both come from Scotland and have a penchant for detective mysteries). And what’s with the [Jacobean] annotations at the beginning of every single chapter?
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