Thursday, July 17, 2014

Shelf Life [adult]

SilkwormThe Silkworm: A Cormoran Strike Novel By Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. JK Rowling)
@SPL: FIC Galbr

Being released without the hype of her more famous Harry Potter series suits the protagonist of JK Rowling’s more mature novels to a T. The Cormoran Strike novels contain all the intrigue, plot-twists and attention to language that made Harry Potter so engaging and immersive, although the setting is contemporary London, rich in detail and atmosphere.  Still very much a character-driven series, there is more revealed about Strike, his strained relationships with his family, and the growing detective skills of his assistant, Robin, both his secretary and foil. The other characters – mostly all suspects in a grisly murder – are drawn with the same deft pen, details slowly emerging to give them full depth, and this provides some clever trails to more than a few red herrings.

Owen Quine is a legendary writer in his own mind who has gone missing after throwing a tantrum at his agent. His long-suffering wife has hired Strike to find him, and it isn’t long before Strike finds the author, gruesomely dead - Quine has suffered a very cruel fate. Strike cannot shake the case from his conscience, especially after the wife is arrested, and he and Robin begin a treacherous game of cat and mouse with a killer whose heart is made of pure ice.

The Silkworm is grittier than the previous Strike novel, Cuckoo’s Calling, and the tone is as if Rowling is paying homage to the hard-boiled detectives of old – there is some profanity, some sex and a femme fatale lurking in the background, and not a small amount of dark humour. Readers of the Harry Potter series will note the offbeat flourish of seemingly odd detail here and there that is one of Rowling’s literary signatures, and for those who enjoy this series, there is a slight indication in the author’s notes that there may be more to come for Cormoran Strike. Isn’t it just like JK Rowling to leave a teaser?

Reserve a copy of The Silkworm at, or take your chance that it might be on the Xpress Shelf at Stratford Public Library.

Published int he Stratford Gazette. Written by Robyn Godfrey, Collections and Outreach Librarian.

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