The Silkworm

The Silkworm is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series.

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Similar with the first one, I liked the dynamics and how the author fleshed out both Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. For me, just two books in, their dynamic is the strength of the series. I am looking forward reading about how Robin further develops her detective skills.

Story wise, the Silkworm had a good story to tell… there were a number of quirky characters in place here that my mind had a hard time wrapping around but is probably a good representation of the various personalities in the publishing world. There was also a web of relationships and pasts among the characters that makes it a consistent guessing game on who is really responsible for the death of Owen Quine.

The killer of Owen Quine was like that blacktip, he thought. There were no frenzied, indiscriminate predators among the suspects in this case. None of them had a known history of violence. There was not, as so often when bodies turned up, a trail of past misdemeanors leading to the door of the suspect, no bloodstained past dragging behind any of them like a bag of offal for hungry hounds. This killer was a rarer, stranger beast: the one who conceals its true nature until sufficiently disturbed.

On how the story was told, however, is where my reservation with the book lies. I just felt like it was too dragging at some points with references and descriptions being mentioned repeatedly. I was more than halfway to the book and I felt like I was still not getting anywhere with the story. The narrative picks up pace near the end with the killer not known until the last chapter of the book. But for me, it was quite a stretch. It was not that enjoyable. But given the author’s style, this book may be worth a reread since there are probably a lot of hidden references and nuggets within the story. But, for now, I feel like I had enough of Bombyx Mori.

Still, I am curious how the third book goes considering how this book ended for Robin. (Maybe I am with Team Robin after all in these books)

Random thought: Silkworm is the first physical book I have read this year (and probably for quite some time). I definitely missed Kindle’s dictionary feature the most while reading, especially given the use of complex words by the author. I am starting to realize I am now for ebooks though purchase of physical ones from time to time would not hurt at all.

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The Cuckoo’s Calling

Cuckoo’s Calling was a wonderful read. The beauty in it is the continuous shift in my head as to the identity of the suspect based on the tidbits (i.e., information and evidence) being gathered by Cormoran Strike and her temporary secretary, Robin. And that grand reveal in the end was a surprise for me, I did not see that coming.

Prospectively, I am curious how this partnership between Cormoran and Robin will develop since I like how they are able to work together in this case. I felt like solving the case would not have been successful without one or the other.

There are also subplots involved that tell the story of Cormoran and Robin. I felt that the snippets were wonderfully woven into the narrative, such as a memory triggered by an expression or an event. It also humanizes the characters and presents opportunities for future narratives. Personally, I cannot wait for Matthew, Robin’s fiance, to meet Cormoran.

All in all, I am happy with this read and I could not wait to get my hands on the other books in the series.

My favorite quote from this book is:

People liked to talk; there were very few exceptions; the question was how you made them do it. Some, xxx, were amenable to alcohol; others liked a spotlight; and then there were those who merely needed proximity to another conscious human being. A subsection of humanity would become loquacious only on one favorite subject: it might be their own innocence or somebody else’s guilt; it might be their collection or pre-war biscuit tins; or it might, xxx, be the hopeless passion of a plain secretary.

Thank you to Amazon for putting the Kindle book on sale during their last anniversary! (Having a hard time locating this in our local bookstores)