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Publisher's Summary

Private investigator Cormoran Strike must track down a missing writer - and a sinister killer bent on destruction - in this "wonderfully entertaining" mystery (Harlan Coben, New York Times Book Review) that inspired the acclaimed HBO Max series C.B. Strike.

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, he discovers that Quine's disappearance is no coincidence. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published, it would ruin lives - meaning that almost everyone in his life would have motives to silence him. When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, Strike must race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before...

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, The Silkworm is the second in J. K. Rowling's highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.

©2014 Robert Galbraith (P)2014 Hachette Digital

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What listeners say about The Silkworm

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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    12,833
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Slow Going

In this second of Galbraith's (aka JK Rowling) Strike series, the pace is inchworm slow. There was much filler through the use of a book within a book. And that book is pornographic at best. And we, as readers, have to be told what each allusion within the second book means since we have no idea of the characteristics of the people it refers to. And that's because we don't know the circle of fictional publishers it references.

Galbraith has liberally borrowed from other classic mystery writers to develop the plot and even the end scene to write this cozy mystery which is not nearly as good as the first book in the series. I kept reading in the misguided notion that the pace would improve only to be disappointed hour after hour. While the characters are intricate and well done, there is only so much we can take about Strike's poor care of his leg and Robin's continued inability to express herself. If she can't express herself, how can she have enough assertiveness to become a detective?

While I did not enjoy this book nearly as well as the first one, its chief failing is not giving the reader sufficient information to attempt to solve the mystery along with Strike and Robin. Perhaps others could sniff out the few scattered clues and finger the murderer along with Strike, but for those of us who need a few well placed clues to keep us at least guessing, this failing contributed to the overall dullness of the book.

Robert Glenister, the narrator, however, is excellent. He makes each character stand out by reading this novel with a good range of voices and tones, both male and female.

I realize this review is in the minority. But that's to be expected in the reading community. We all like and dislike different things.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Really Different than the First Book

I loved the characters and the continual character development and a story about authors is certainly something the writer knows well. However the gruesome killing and perverted sex scenes were a bit much for me. While i was able to identify the killer very early on, I did not see the plot twist at the end.

Not sure I will continue with any of these books.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Made Alligator Alley fly by

I started this book the day before a business trip to Florida and found it hard to put down outside of business hours. I was so happy to have this well-crafted mystery to help the miles melt beneath my wheels; otherwise the hours I spent on the road wouldn't have been so pleasant (although, I learned one needs cruise control with such an involving tome, otherwise the speedometer frequently tips 80.)

"The Silkworm" (Rowling's 2nd mystery under the nom de plume Robert Galbraith), continues with the character development begun in "Cuckoo's Calling" of Cormoran Strike (war hero, illegitimate son of a rock star and struggling PI with one prosthetic leg, courtesy of the Afghan theater) and Robin, Cormoran's temp secretary turned Girl Friday/Dr. Watson.
I love that Galbraith/Rowling makes Cormoran a bit misanthropic and surly and not some unrealistic, noble hero. His imperfections make him all the more likable.
And the icing on the cake -- a twisty mystery with multiple plot arcs, replete with engaging characters.
Rowling proved to the world that she can write YA fantasy -- well, she has proven to me she can write mysteries irrespective of which name appears on the cover.
And the narrator, Robert Glenister -- PERFECTION! His range is incredible despite is deep voice, he manages not to make the women sound campy (like some male narrators do.) I plan to search for books narrated by him so I do not have to wait until the next Robert Galbraith novel appears.
The worst part is I have started and stopped several books since I finished "The Silkworm" -- it is a tough act to follow.

133 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Cormoran Strike in London's Literary World

In this second novel, Ms. Rowling sets her admirable and dogged detective loose into the cutthroat world of publishing. Cormoran Strike, aptly named after the Cornish giant of “beanstalk fame”, embodies the best traits of the archetypical detective: relentless, curious, and practical - without ever slipping into the dangerous territory of the stereotype. As a retired solider, amputee and keen observer of human nature, Cormoran Strike is a refreshing addition to an old and familiar genre.


The story begins a few months after the conclusion of the infamous Lula Landry murder, when a taciturn Leonora Quine arrives at Strike’s office demanding he find her vanished husband. Despite no reasonable assurance of payment, Strike takes her case (it is after all, an aberration among a workload of philandering spouses). Along with his assistant/protégée Robin Ellacott, Strike cuts a wide, weary swath through frigid London streets in pursuit of the missing author Owen Quine and answers to a bizarre and brutal mystery.


Rowling is a master of observation. Among references to Jacobean horror stories and nested narratives, she builds characters that are at once fantastical and unflinchingly revealed. From the raspy voiced, domineering book agent to the closeted and alcoholic publishers, from the self-pitying self-published to gratingly solipsistic established authors - she paints her cast in vivid colors and none is spared from Rowling’s incisive prose.


The mystery unfolds in a manner reminiscent of old fashion detective stories - Strike never actually whips out a hand lens, but it’s a close call. He and Ellacott take to the streets to interview suspects, dig for clues, turn up red herrings and into dead ends, until finally bringing the audience in for an eminently satisfying conclusion.


It seems that Ms. Rowling has seven books planned for the series (her lucky number perhaps?) and I for one am stoked. Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott are unlikely partners and deeply sympathetic characters. I have no doubt that they will continue to delight audiences for years to come.

67 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A well-worn genre enlivened with fresh characters

Even as it goes through the motions of standard detective fiction, this second Cormoran Strike novel admirably expands upon the well-rounded central characters established in The Cuckoo's Calling. As a former soldier and a natural detective, Strike lends himself to comparison with Lee Child's Jack Reacher, but where Reacher is personalized with a few token interests (notably coffee and mathematics), Strike is painted with softer strokes. He's introverted, yes, but his contact list defies the easy-to-apply label 'loner'. He is vexed by his family, but he embraces them with more than a mere sense of duty. He feels the desire to have a couple pints with lunch, but he recognizes the formation of bad habits and avoids them with some effort.

His receptionist-turned-protégée Robin proves to be equally well-rounded, particularly with respect to her fiancée. In a clumsier novel, her engagement to a side character would be nothing more than a burden for Robin to shed in the name of character growth. In Ms Rowling's nuanced world, however, the relationship is a genuine reflection of Robin's increasing confidence, and it bends and adjusts to her development with impressive realism. Whether or not the relationship will or should survive is far from a given.

Yes, the plot is fine too—it'll scratch the itch for those that crave a mystery to solve and concludes with reasonable coherence—but mystery plots are a dime a dozen. Characters like Cormoran and Robin are not.

Robert Glenister is well suited to this series, managing to narrate with both a seriousness and a lightness that matches Ms Rowling's remarkably well-balanced voice.

70 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

4 Stars Interwoven Mystery.

Galbraith seems to be developing a pattern for the post Harry Potter books. It's great that Cormoran Strike continues to be the protagonist, as he is both a "character" and unique among private eyes. Robin Ellacot, as Cormoran's assistant, also adds significantly to the character development which for me is the heart of any novel, even mysteries. In fact, the Cormoran-Robin relationship is for me the best part of the book, and seems both plausible and complex.

Beyond the detective-sidekick relationship, Galbraith relies on three common ploys often displayed by detective novelists: (1) The reader is presented all at once with a complete nest of suspects. Nothing wrong with that. Some authors drag out the presentation of prospective bad guys, but the early introduction of the whole lot gives the reader plenty of time and pleasure to analyze each character for possible motive and opportunity. (2) The detective has an "Aha!" moment, based more on intuition than fact, but then doesn't reveal it to the reader or even to his close associates, let alone the police. (3) The detective, needless to say, proves more insightful than the police. All three of these factors are staples of the Agatha Christie oeuvre. I cut my mystery-reading teeth on 30 or 40 of Agatha's books, but eventually tired of the basic themes. Miss Marple was delightful, and I always sided with her as she sipped tea and outwitted the police, but that formula did become a bit shopworn after the first few dozen novels. Also, Agatha's protagonists invariably withheld information till the last minute, then revealed all in a stunning burst of logic and unprecedented detection. In those ways, then, Galbraith seems to be following in the footsteps of Agatha.

Both the London scene and the preponderance of book-publishing characters contributed to my enjoyment of this book. I look forward to spending many more hours with Cormoran Strike, and hope the author will promote Robin to an even more prominent place in detection.

Robert Glenister was outstanding with the delivery of the story

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I'd make out with Cormoran..

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I would. I bought this book as a daily deal, and then didn't listen to it for months, and I'm not sure why. I think the cover was just less appealing and I had other books ready to go. I regret not reading it before, because I really enjoyed it.

Which character – as performed by Robert Glenister – was your favorite?

Obviously, Cormoran, the narrator had a specific way of narrating his tone that I really enjoyed.

27 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too gruesome.

This story was too gruesome for my taste. Just not my thing. Good author but hard to get through this book.

39 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Second in the series even better than the first

In "The Silkworm," J.K. Rowling, aka Robert Galbraith, proves that she can write and develop characters in adult detective fiction just as magically as she did in YA fiction where the characters themselves were surrounded by magic. She captivated us through a 7-book series in Harry Potter. Now she/he has created detective Cormoran Strike and Robin, his assistant/protege wannabe. In this second book both Cormoran and Robin grow and become stronger, more mature, and more comfortable with themselves.

Along with the exceptional character development, "Galbraith" provides the reader with lots of characters who are quirky, to say the least, and a great plot which had me keeping up but not able to foresee the twists and turns.

Robert Glenister takes the story and adds even more magic with his narration. He has settled into these characters and, despite a deep voice, he creates believable female voices. All in all, this was a wonderful listening experience. I can't wait for the next book in the series!

31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

No...Just No!

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Someone who has problems falling asleep unassisted. On second thought, never mind, just take some Nyquill.

Has The Silkworm turned you off from other books in this genre?

No. I enjoy a good detective story. This just wasn’t it. I was surprised when I found out this author is actually J.K Rowling. I read all the Potter books - so vivid and engaging. This book just sucked.

I liked the main character, Strike. I thought the plot had the potential to be good and took a chance. Too much scenery detail, too much useless information as filler. Not enough excitement - wait, not any excitement - to make it fun.

The first few hours were ok, kept waiting for something good. It never came and I made it to the middle somehow, forcing myself to keep going stubbornly- wanting to finish what I paid for. I fell asleep listening a few times, then I gave up and skipped to the end. By then, I didn’t even care who did it or why; just wanted it to be over. Boring. Tedious. Returning.

Have you listened to any of Robert Glenister’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, I haven’t. I like him though.He doesn’t have a boring voice and he did great voicing the characters. Mr. Glenister did the best that could be expected with a crappy script.

2 people found this helpful