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Shrewsbury, Massachusetts- A year ago, a mysterious new voice to fiction appeared to the name of Robert Galbraith. A supposed man with “background in the army and civilian security industry,” he released a novel introducing the world’s newest British detective: Cormoran Strike. However the Internet revealed a different reality: that Robert Galbraith was in fact the pen name of JK Rowling, someone whose voice was not mysterious. The novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, skyrocketed in sales and Rowling was thrust back into the spotlight. However, she has thankfully decided to keep up the ruse and the latest Galbraith novel has hit the stands.
After solving the Lula Landry case, business has never been better for private detective Cormoran Strike. He is packed with cases, but is able to keep them under control thanks to his assistant, Robin Ellacott. That is, when Leonora Quine comes in and asks Strike to help find her missing husband, writer Owen Quine. Strike takes the case and is thrust into the dredges of a literary world filled with betrayal, scandal, and murder, centered around a mysterious manuscript entitled Bombyx Mori or The Silkworm.
The Cuckoo’s Calling was a remarkable foray for Rowling into the detective genre and The Silkworm is no different. The second Cormoran Strike novel is a wonderful and engrossing mystery filled with a winding plot filled with wonderful characters. Rowling takes her time with a good pace that makes you keep turning the pages well into the night. That is thanks to not only a good story, but brilliant characterization between the novel’s two leads.
One of Rowling’s gifts is her talent to create characters that no matter how small are fully realized and developed. The team of Strike and Ellacott are a lovely pairing that keep growing as the novels go on. There are hints about who Strike and Robin are in Cuckoo’s Calling, but their pasts and personal lives begin to meld together in this book. The more Strike and Robin begin to become a part of each other’s lives, the closer they become and the more invested we are in their journey together as well as the mystery they face from book to book.
The Silkworm is proof that Cuckoo’s Calling was not just a fluke. Rowling now has two grand mysteries under her belt with two great new characters to fall in love with just like in her last series. It’s stunning how unlike her previous series this feels and it calls to her strengths as a writer. One hopes that maybe there’ll be a BBC series in the works to hold us over between books. However until then, Rowling continues to prove that under the guise of Galbraith, she is still one of the world’s best writers.
The Silkworm is available wherever books are sold and can be found (if you’re lucky) at the Shrewsbury Public Library.