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The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Series #2)

The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike Series #2)

4.1 251
by Robert Galbraith, J. K. Rowling

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

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)
From the Publisher
"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 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)

"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

"...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 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

"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 master is back. . . [Rowling] returns to the strengths that made Harry Potter great--the beautiful sense of pacing, the deep but illusionless love for her characters--without sacrificing the expanded range of The Casual Vacancy." --USA Today (3.5/4 stars)

"A gritty, absorbing tale." --People

"Cleverly plotted... Rowling serves up a sushi platter of red herring, sprinkling clues along the way, before Strike draws a confession out of the killer in a climax straight out of Agatha Christie." --Entertainment Weekly

"Highly entertaining [with] a team whose further adventures the reader cannot help eagerly awaiting." --Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

"[Rowling's] literary gift is on display in this work. She crafts an entertaining story [and] comes up with an ending that I'll admit I was surprised by. . . . A fun read, with a main character you can care about and one you'll want to see again in other adventures." --The Washington Post

Library Journal
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.

Product Details

Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
Cormoran Strike Series , #2
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB

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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The Silkworm 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 251 reviews.
irishclaireKG More than 1 year ago
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)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I could not put this book down. The plot kept me hooked from start to finish. A must read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
an EXCELLENT  follow up. Could not put it down. Intricate plot, interesting band of characters and a wonderful set up for a burgeoning partnership 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very Compelling Plot.
Charles_Wood More than 1 year ago
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.
clahain1 More than 1 year ago
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.
avidseniorreader01 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Galbraith's first book. The Silkworm, not so much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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?
chm816 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Cuckoo's Calling but this book was horrible in comparison. Love the characters but the language and disgusting detailed descriptions were unnecessary. At times, I found myself wondering what kind of sick mind could orchestrate this kind of subject matter. Between being grossed out and a wordy tedious read, I contemplated not finishing. Because I'm now "caught up" in the characters, I would read follow-ups, but surely she can write a more enjoyable book.
Ravenclaw226 More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read over 100 pages waiting for anything to happen. It was nothing but gross filth. I gave up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love Strike, but have to wade through too much tedious info to get to the story!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Better than the first! That said, you really have to pay attention in the beginning or you will have to go back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
J.K. Rowling is truly the Queen of Literature
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A compelling and interesting story with a believable and sympathetic main character. A razor sharp mind with a body that fails him at the most inconvenient times. I enjoyed reading very much and am looking forward to the next adventure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the first one but this one is a total snoozefest. I could not even bring myself to finish it. I liked the characters in the first book but in this one they never do anything and if they do it just makes them unlikable. The author could have really used a good editor to trim this down into an engaging story. ?
Willis1052 More than 1 year ago
I read for the journey into the story and this series has me hooked. (She) writes in a manner that is not cumbersome with pages and pages of unnecessary descriptive. I keeps you wondering where it goes next and takes you there. I just had to read "one more chapter" every time I needed to stop reading. Thoroughly enjoyed both books and can't wait for #3.
Shilo2010 More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome read! Love the detective - Strike. J.K.Rowlings is so good with building characters. I am always interested in all of them! I really enjoy the build up and love that the main characters are rather human and not able to do it all! Worth reading, I was very sad to finish it! I wanted it to go on. Thank you again J.K.
kpet More than 1 year ago
Where is Owen Quine? That's what Mrs. Quine wants to know. So she hires Cormoran Strike to find him. What Strike finds out is that a number of people also want to find Quine, especially after the manuscript of Quine's latest novel has everyone up in arms. Good plotting and a cast of suspects to keep the reader guessing. Who knew the world of publishing has so many interesting people. Highly recommended. Check it out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well plotted and I enjoyed the developing relationship (not romantic) between Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin. Many flawed characters, which is how life is. I didn't figure the murderer until it was revealed. However, it was so grisly I almost retched at one point. I won't read the next one unless I can tell the gore factor is lower.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
kgp916 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed Cormoran Strike and the grittiness of his life. The development of Robin's character was well written and believable. A very gripping summer read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Already sad that this wonderfully rich, textured, compelling book is over.  Eagerly anticipating the next...  She's the best whether writing Potter or Strike!  So glad to keep reading JK Rowling.