The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Series #2)

( 236 )

Overview

Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the #1 international bestseller The Cuckoo's Calling.

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 ...

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The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Series #2)

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Overview

Private investigator Cormoran Strike returns in a new mystery from Robert Galbraith, author of the #1 international bestseller The Cuckoo's Calling.

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...

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, THE SILKWORM is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant, Robin Ellacott.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

The first readers and reviewers of the 2013 novel The Cuckoo's Calling didn't suspect that its author Robert Galbraith was J.K. Rowling; they just knew that it was "highly entertaining," "highly entertaining" and "a gritty, absorbing tale." Now Galbraith/Rowling and private detective Cormoran Strike return with another bristling tale of knotty homicidal problems. At its core are Owen Quine, a novelist with a sense of vengeance, and a slew of suspects, many of whom were his targets. With its vivid characters and twisting plot, The Silkworm slithers artfully for serious mystery readers as well as devotees of Harry Potter.

The New York Times - Michiko Kakutani
…[Rowling's] appealing detective hero Cormoran Strike is back, and so is his resourceful sidekick, Robin Ellacott, a gumshoe team that's on its way to becoming as celebrated for its mystery-solving skills as Nick and Nora Charles of Thin Man fame, and Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander…What keeps the suspense percolating along is Ms. Rowling's instinctive sense of storytelling and her ability to make the reader sympathize with Strike and Robin, two middle-class strivers plugging along in a status and increasingly money-conscious London…The result is an entertaining novel in which the most compelling characters are not the killer or the victim, but the detectives charged with solving the crime.
The New York Times Book Review - Harlan Coben
…endlessly entertaining…Strike himself may at first appear to be something we have seen too often—a brooding, damaged detective…but there is an optimism to him that is refreshing and endearing…Strike also shares a trait with many great fictional detectives: He is darn good company…The Silkworm is a very well-written, wonderfully entertaining take on the traditional British crime novel…Robert Galbraith may proudly join the ranks of English, Scottish and Irish crime writers such as Tana French, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, John Connolly, Kate Atkinson and Peter Robinson…to put any author on that list is very high praise.
Publishers Weekly
★ 06/23/2014
J.K. Rowling, under her Galbraith pseudonym, again demonstrates her adroitness at crafting a classic fair-play whodunit in a contemporary setting, peopled with fully realized primary and secondary characters. PI Cormoran Strike, who debuted in 2013's The Cuckoo's Calling, has had a professional renaissance after his success in that book. To spite an uppity client, he accepts Leonora Quine's request to trace her missing husband, novelist Owen Quine. Leonora is pretty sure that Owen is at a writer's retreat, but has hit a dead end trying to get its address. Meanwhile, someone is following Leonora, and excrement is being shoved through her mail slot. Strike begins his search in London's literary circles, aided by his resourceful assistant, Robin Ellacott. He eventually finds a horrifically mutilated Owen, who was killed in a manner apparently copied from a controversial unpublished manuscript. The evolving relationship between Strike and Robin, whose fiancé objects to her choice of work, is realistically portrayed, and Golden Age fans will be delighted by passages that could have been written by John Dickson Carr (e.g., "Turning up his coat collar Strike thought he knew, now, what the meaning was: of a dwarf in a bloody bag, of the horns under the Cutter's cap and, cruelest of all, the attempted drowning"). Agent: Neil Blair, the Blair Partnership (U.K.). (June)
Library Journal
03/15/2014
As we all know, Galbraith's first Cormoran Strike novel won great reviews but not great sales until it was revealed that Galbraith was actually J.K. Rowling. Wouldn't you know a famous novelist is at the heart of this second Strike outing. When Owen Quine disappears, his wife assumes that he's on one of his little escapades and asks Strike to find him and bring him home. But as Strike discovers, Quine has just finished a novel full of nasty portraits of people he knows, and one of them may have wanted to finish him off. Just announced but out in June.
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-06-15
In her second pseudonymous outing as Galbraith, J.K. Rowling continues her examination of fame—those who want it, those who avoid it, those who profit from it.Cormoran Strike, Rowling’s hard-living private eye, isn’t as close to the edge as he was in his first appearance, The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013). His success at proving supermodel Lula Landry was murdered has brought him more clients than he can handle—mostly businessmen who think their lovers are straying and divorcing wives looking for their husbands’ assets—and he’s even rented a small apartment above his office near Charing Cross Road. His accidental temp–turned-assistant, Robin Ellacott, is dying to stretch her investigative muscles, but she has to deal with her fiance, Matthew, who still wishes she’d taken that better-paying job in human resources. Then odd sad-sack Leonora Quine comes in asking Strike to find her missing husband, Owen, a fading enfant terrible novelist. Strike soon discovers that Owen had written a baroque fantasy novel in which he exposed the secrets of everyone he knows—including his editor, publisher and a famous writer with whom he had a falling out years earlier—and his agent had just sent it out for consideration. Rowling has great fun with the book industry: Editors, agents and publishers all want to meet the detective, but only over lunches at fancy restaurants where he’s expected to foot the bill. It’s no big surprise when Strike finds the writer’s dead body—though it’s certainly gruesome, as someone killed him in the same extravagantly macabre way he disposed of the villain of his unpublished book. As Strike tries to figure out who murdered Owen, the writer is splashed across the front pages of the tabloids in a way he would have loved when he was alive, while the detective tries to play down his own growing fame.Rowling proves once again that she’s a master of plotting over the course of a series; you can see her planting seeds, especially when it comes to Robin, which can be expected to bear narrative fruit down the line. It will be a pleasure to watch what happens.
From the Publisher
"Strike shares a trait with many great fictional detectives: He is darn good company...The Silkworm is a very well-written, wonderfully entertaining take on the traditional British crime novel...Robert Galbraith may proudly join the ranks of English, Scottish and Irish crime writers such as Tana French, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, John Connolly, Kate Atkinson and Peter Robinson."—Harlan Coben, The New York Times Book Review

"Cormoran Strike is back, and so is his resourceful sidekick, Robin
Ellacott, a gumshoe team that's on its way to becoming as celebrated for its mystery-solving skills as Nick and Nora Charles of "Thin Man" fame,
and Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander (a.k.a. the girl with the dragon tattoo)."—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"The plot zings along...Swift and satisfying"—Carolyn Kellogg, The Los Angeles Times

"'The last line of The Silkworm, which will lift the hearts of readers who have come to love its deeply sympathetic characters, offers the prospect of more of that joy both for her and for us."—Charles Finch, USA Today (3.5/4 stars)

"A compulsively entertaining yarn."—Thom Geier, Entertainment Weekly

"Robert Galbraith... has written a second absorbing whodunit starring detective Corcmoran Strike to follow last year's stealth hit, The Cuckoo's Calling.... Astutely observed, well-paced... The Silkworm thoroughly engages as a crime novel."—Sue Corbett, People

The Silkworm is fast-paced and entertaining... Strike is heroic without intending to be and has a great back story. He's the illegitimate son of a rock star whose half-siblings grew up in privilege... And he's brooding, but not annoyingly so. Strike has all kinds of potential. It'd be a crime not to keep up with him."—Sherryl Connelly, Daily News

"Why is "likable" the first word that comes to mind upon finishing The Silkworm? Surely, that has something to do with Rowling's palpable pleasure in her newly chosen genre (the jig may be up with her Robert Galbraith pseudonym, but the bloom is still on her homicidal rose) and even more to do with her detective hero, who, at the risk of offending, is the second husband of every author's dreams."—Louis Bayard, The Washington Post

"The story is enthralling, not only for its twists and turns, but for the fun of the teamwork.... [It's] a cast of characters who you'll want to meet again and again."—Ashley Ross, Time

"[The Silkworm is a] swift-paced, suspenseful mystery....Robert Galbraith has announced himself a fresh voice in mystery fiction: part hard-boiled, part satiric, part poignant, and part romantic."—Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

"Bring on the next one, please....Galbraith writes with wit and affection for detective-novel tradition (it's impossible not to see her central duo as a modern-day Nick and Nora, minus the marriage), and races us through a twisty plot so smoothly that you won't notice as the hours tick by."—Moira MacDonald, The Seattle Times

"Having just the better part of a day and a night making my way through the 455 pages of The Silkworm ... I must say, I don't mind at all... The murder mystery at the heart of The Silkworm is a genuine mystery with an altogether satisfying resolution."

Malcolm Jones, The Daily Beast

The Barnes & Noble Review

Robert Galbraith's second novel, The Silkworm, arrives free of the sales-boosting intrigue that accompanied its predecessor, The Cuckoo's Calling. (Never mind that the mystery surrounding the author's identity was arguably more intriguing than the actual plot.) This time around, we all know that Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym of J. K. Rowling. We also know who we are likely to meet in the second installment of Galbraith's Cormoran Strike series: the stoical hero, his loyal sidekick, assorted dull-witted cops, weird villains and at least one corpse. There is a scummy journalist too who provides the novel's delicious opening line. ''Someone bloody famous,' said the hoarse voice on the end of the line, 'better've died, Strike.' '' Not yet. In one of the novel's many sub-plots, Strike is simply peddling to the tabloid reporter a document that will ruin a crooked aristocrat.

Scandalmonger seems a tawdry occupation for Strike, a celebrity since he solved the Lula Landry case in The Cuckoo's Calling. But money is still tight and Strike is still a wounded man, in body and soul. Having lost a leg fighting in Afghanistan and his heart to the exquisite but self-destructive Charlotte Campbell (thankfully sidelined here), the hulking detective retains his grimy office on Denmark Street, his invaluable assistant, Robin, and his principles. ''Do the job and do it well'' is Strike's inflexible code. And Galbraith's novel too is dutiful in an oddly old-fashioned way. From the predawn opening in London's Smithfield Market, through showdowns and stakeouts, to the novel's melodramatic denouement on a city rooftop, stock scenes reminiscent of any number of murder mysteries are re-staged with mixed results.

Here is Strike, for example, irresistibly drawn to the client most likely to cause him trouble and lose him money. ''What exactly is it you were wanting me to do for you, Mrs. Quine,'' he asked the shabby woman on the sofa. ''Well, it's my husband?'' Owen Quine may be missing or he may simply have deserted his wife and daughter. ''She almost invited Strike to join her husband in laughing at her, proud, as mother sometimes pretend to be, of their child's insolence,'' Strike observes in one of the novel's best scenes.

Galbraith is most deft when capturing the speech and mannerisms of nondescript characters — Leonora Quine, for example, or the alcoholic Jerry Waldegrave, a pathetic fixture in the cutthroat world of agents, publishers and celebrity authors that Strike quickly penetrates. Here the detective learns that Quine's unpublished novel, Bombyx Mori (the Latin name for the silkworm) may hold vital clues to his disappearance. ''A perverse Pilgrim's Progress,'' as Quine's agent describes it, ''set in a folkloric no-man's-land?,'' the manuscript is crammed with outlandish sexual acts performed by gender-shifting loonies who are, in fact, grotesque caricatures of Quine's intimates and literary rivals. We are spared lengthy extracts.

Life trumps art, however, when Strike stumbles on Quine's disemboweled body, displayed as a centerpiece for what looks like a psychopath's picnic, complete with place settings. ''Strike felt that he stood retching in a temple, witness to sacrificial slaughter?.'' The reader, however, may be more bewildered than shocked by a ''display of sadistic showmanship'' that ruptures the humdrum atmosphere that Galbraith has artfully created. The novel's monochrome cityscape becomes suddenly garish and its details — of Leonora's threadbare existence, Strike's daily battle with his prosthetic leg, even Robin's silly rows with her ''heart- stoppingly handsome'' fiancé — seem to fade in the harsh light.

Disruption is the point, of course, in any crime novel. But Galbraith fails to inject this mayhem with any palpable dread or menace. A psychological portrait of the killer might have tethered the unevenly paced plot and darkened the mood, but a perfunctory version of this arrives too late, in an overwrought finale that reads like a parody of Arthur Conan Doyle or Agatha Christie. ''The large, mannish hands had curled into claws?. 'You're insane,' she whispered, with a forced smile beneath the shark eyes, her big yellow teeth glinting.''

Goodness. Could the monster be female, ugly and sexually frustrated? We should hardly be surprised. Shifting gender identity may be a Galbraith/Rowling preoccupation — along with disguised authorship and celebrity ... but the women orbiting around the towering, heroic Cormoran Strike are easily categorized as troubled beauties or spiteful predators, good sports or twisted spinsters. ''Tea?'' curvy, golden-haired Robin asks when it's all over, ''She knew how he liked it: the color of creosote.'' Battered and heartbroken Strike may be, but should he stagger into action again he will doubtless still prefer his cuppa strong, his laddish friends steadfast and his women as adoring or dangerous as ever.

Anna Mundow, a longtime contributor to The Irish Times and The Boston Globe, has written for The Guardian, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, among other publications.

Reviewer: Anna Mundow

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316206877
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 6/19/2014
  • Series: Cormoran Strike Series, #2
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 8,967
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series and The Casual Vacancy.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 236 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(126)

4 Star

(56)

3 Star

(22)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(17)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 236 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 26, 2014

    A Bloody Good Read.

    A Bloody Good Read. 'Cuckoo's Calling' is a terrific book--which really needs to be read to thoroughly enjoy this follow up. However, I find 'Silkworm' improving upon the previous novel in several ways. This is a leaner, meaner, faster, and more carefully edited read than the first Strike book. 'Cuckoo' did, at times, drag with unnecessary repetition of events and too much pondering of circumstances. This does not. It starts off at a gallop and stays there until a rather breathtaking finish. Once again, there is a rather labyrinth plot and cast of characters--you have to give it awhile to keep everyone and everything straight--but it is absolutely worth the ride. Strike continues to be a compelling main character whose layers promise to be further revealed in future books--and his sidekick, Robin, is a delight just as she was in the first book. But here--we find out a lot more about her; she grows as a character and it is refreshing to see her start reconsidering and re-evaluating her choices and earlier desires. The last interaction between Robin and Strike in this book is especially charming. One note of caution: the crime in this is far bloodier and gorier than in the previous novel. There are graphic descriptions of violence here--and for the especially squeamish--well, be forewarned. And the conclusion of the mystery may take a second read to pull it all together. But overall, a wonderful addition from Rowling (and yes, once again, there are some fun shout outs to the world of Potter)

    28 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    I could not put this book down. The plot kept me hooked from sta

    I could not put this book down. The plot kept me hooked from start to finish. A must read!

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Very Compelling Plot.

    Very Compelling Plot.

    11 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2014

    an EXCELLENT  follow up. Could not put it down. Intricate plot,

    an EXCELLENT  follow up. Could not put it down. Intricate plot, interesting band of characters and a wonderful set up for a burgeoning partnership 

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2014

    Again JK Rowling has done what she does best. A solid bestseller

    Again JK Rowling has done what she does best. A solid bestseller if there ever was one. The plot was great and the ending a real surprise.

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2014

    J.K. Rowling is truly the Queen of Literature

    J.K. Rowling is truly the Queen of Literature

    9 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2014

    The plot is convoluted and confusing, if not confused. The main

    The plot is convoluted and confusing, if not confused. The main character inflicts so much harm on myself, that
    I cannot be sympathetic. If the book were written by anyone else, it would sink to the bottom of the sales
    charts where it deserves.

    Rowling return to your magic!

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2014

    Rowling finds her groove

    This book is superior to A Cuckoo's Calling, but you really need to read the earlier book to fully appreciate The Silkworm. What sparkles in both books are the two main characters, Cormoran and his assistant Robin. To fully appreciate the interplay between the two, you need to start with the earlier book.

    While the earlier book was fairly good (while not outstanding, still worth reading), there were times it dragged somewhat. With The Silkworm, Rowling has put together the full package: good writing featuring some excellent descriptive passages, a mystery that befuddles, interesting interplay between Cormoran and Robin, and a final solution to the mystery that both surprises and ties together the entire novel. Very satisfying.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    Disturbing, Grafic Images

    Why did she think her readers would enjoy such disgusting descriptions? Hope her next one is less disturbing.

    6 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2014

    I have like her works including her last book under this pen nam

    I have like her works including her last book under this pen name. This one grossed me out and


    I will not finish reading it as it gave me nightmares.

    6 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2014

    This is an exceptional read. 

    This is an exceptional read. 

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2014

    Better than the first! That said, you really have to pay attent

    Better than the first! That said, you really have to pay attention in the beginning or you will have to go back.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    Don't wast your time

    This book is not like Cuckoo's calling . It is gross and is a waste of money to buy it and waste of time to read it.

    3 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2014

    Ok look!

    I can post on a preorder book joy!

    3 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2014

    In this second of Galbraith's Cormoran Strike books, the moody L

    In this second of Galbraith's Cormoran Strike books, the moody London detective is hired by the wife of
    an eccentric novelist known for theatrics and periodic disappearances. Owen Quine has vanished yet
    again, this time with his latest manuscript, a novel which has more than one member of London's
    publishing community outraged and threatening legal action. Cormoran isn't sure why he's bothering
    with the case since the guy is likely just hiding out with another woman and, anyway, the wife can't pay
    his bill. But Cormoran does take the case and soon discovers that his "missing person" is a murder
    victim. 

    This book is not for the squeamish. The murder of Owen Quine is vicious and messy, and Galbraith
    spares us none of the gory details. Balancing this violence is a cast of quirky, eccentric characters, each
     with enough back story to fill his or her own novel. There are few if any true innocents in THE
    SILKWORM. At the same time, the author manages to allow even the most unlikable of his creations to
    reveal moments of pathos and humanity. Galbraith's London, in the grips of winter, is yet another strong
    character, hard and grimy, holding ugly secrets behind the doors of even its most esteemed addresses. 

    Over the course of the investigation, Galbraith continues to build the awkward, often uneasy relationship
    between Cormoran and Robin, his receptionist/apprentice/conscience started in THE CUCKOO'S
    CALLING. Cormoran sublimates his confused feelings for Robin in his pathological dedication to his
     work--riling police officials and nearly everyone else he comes into contact with. For her part, Robin
    attempts to plan her wedding to a man she doesn't seem to like very much, while yearning to know what
     her true role is in Cormoran's world, which holds a macabre fascination for her. Rather than running from
    the darkness and violence, she campaigns to get even more involved with it. We also get hints that, like Cormoran, she Robin a past that weighs on her. 

    One technical hiccup mars a generally excellent reading experience. The dialog. Galbraith can be
    miserly with speaker tags. And sometimes the tags are misleading, especially when the speeches
    extend, as they often do in this book, into multiple paragraphs.

    In spite of the periodic speaker confusion, THE SILKWORM is an enthralling read that left me even
    more addicted to the Cormoran Strike series, where singular characters and twisting plots transform
    murder into an immersion experience.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    Compelling story by a proven story teller.

    Galbraith, AKA Rowling, has mastered this genre with a fascinating and fully human character, Cormoran Strike. I enjoyed her first book and eagerly anticipated this second, and was not disappointed. Strike promises to be a lasting detective character who will take his place among the greats, i.e., Sam Spade, Kurt Wallander and of course, Sherlock Holmes. Robin Ellacott, whom we met in the first book, is rapidly transcending her position as Strike's secretary to become his "Dr. Watson" despite fierce opposition from her fiance.

    Galbraith's Strike, an amputee, hobbles painfully through a British setting that comes to life with Rowling's sparing but vivid exposition. Though a loner, Strike is nonetheless surrounded by interesting and offbeat characters from the London literary scene, and who should know more about that than J. K. Rowling.

    Without getting into the plot details, it should be said that this literary mystery is intriguing and sure to hold your interest to the last line.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2014

    Terrific read!

    Terrific detective novel, with appealing protagonist, fascinating characters, strong plot, and excellent writing. A brilliant portrayal of the world of publishing, literary agents, and writers, with all their rivalries and neuroses on display. What more can one ask?

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Another home run for J.K. Rowling!

    Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling) keeps getting better and better! Finished "Silkworm" in less than 2 days as I could not put it down! Just like the first novel in this series "Cuckoo's Calling" Rowling delivers a truly compelling mystery with very unexpected plot twists as the mystery starts to come to a close.

    I will make this simple, READ THIS BOOK! Mystery lovers, Rowling lovers, or those looking for the "next big thing" get your hands on this!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    Jk rowling aka robert galabrath

    Yep

    2 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    Suggestion

    Survivors. Romance/death story.

    2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 236 Customer Reviews

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