The Silkworm – Robert Galbraith

5 Stars

My husband is not much of a reader, so as a huge reader, I constantly struggle with the desire to share books with him and the knowledge that he just isn’t going to sit down and read it no matter how highly I recommend something.

Enter: Audiobooks

I have found that if I really, really, REALLY want to share a book with him, I can get him to listen to an audiobook with me. We generally save the audiobooks for when we have a lot of driving – like when we go visit my parents 2.5 hours away or know we’ll be doing a lot of running around locally.

On one such trip in 2016 we listened to The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith/J.K. Rowling. Last year, we moved on to book two of the Cormoran Strike series, The Silkworm.



Like The Cuckoo’s CallingThe Silkworm follows disabled private investigator Cormoran Strike as he works to solve a grisly murder. Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days—as he has done before—and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realizes. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives—meaning that there are a lot of people who might want him silenced.

When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any Strike has encountered before…

Both novels are wild departures from Harry Potter series, more similar in tone to her other novel under her real name The Casual Vacancy. Under the pen name Robert Galbraith, Rowling writes bleak, bloody novels with little hope for happy endings for any of the characters. The lens through which we view our cast of characters is what I think of as British Depressing; people lead small, unhappy lives made from strings of petty, small victories and equally small and petty defeats.

Despite the depressing lives of the main cast of characters, The Silkworm was enjoyable. The story is a bit slow, building the mystery and the action carefully. My husband and I were kept guessing right up until the very end. The twist at the end was artfully done. We only guessed half of it. The narration was superb, and I highly recommend the audio version. I find that with generally slow mysteries, audiobooks are a great way to stay connected to the narrative and not miss tiny, telling details.

In The Silkworm Rowling demonstrates an ability to jump from genre to genre with finesse. Had I not known the truth of Galbraith’s pseudonym, I’d never have guessed it. But, I’d likely never have picked The Silkworm or The Cuckoo’s Calling up in the first place.