Michelle’s Review: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith


Michelle’s Review: The Silkworm by Robert GalbraithThe Silkworm by robert galbraith
Published by Little, Brown on 2014-06-19
Genres: Crime, Fiction, General, Mystery & Detective, Thrillers, Traditional
Pages: 464
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible
Goodreads
three-stars
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.

I found this book as enjoyable as the first one, but perhaps a little hard to follow as an audiobook. There are so many characters that it was sometimes hard to keep up with them all without the ability to quickly flip to a previous chapter. The audiobook was well-produced and it was fun to listen to these characters…

…with perhaps the exception of Robin. She is such the eager sidekick and her drama with her fiance is simply not interesting to me. It almost felt like contrived drama and wasn’t a satisfying subplot for me.

If you’re looking for an intriguing mystery with pretty cool characters, I would recommend this book and the series. But if you get frustrated by being able to figure out the ending, or by slower paced mysteries, perhaps this wouldn’t be the pick for you. I imagine that I will be picking up any sequel as a good beach read in the future.

pj - michelle

Michelle’s Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith


Michelle’s Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert GalbraithThe Cuckoo's Calling by jk rowling, robert galbraith, Robert GalbraithJ. K. Rowling
Published by Little, Brown on 2013-04-30
Genres: Crime, Fiction, General, Mystery & Detective
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover
Source: Public Library
Goodreads
three-stars
A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Christina reviewed this first! Check out her review–we have different thoughts!

When the news broke last year that J.K. Rowling has written a book under a pseudonym, I was excited to read it. I read A Casual Vacancy, and was one of those in the “I liked it!” camp. I was expecting a similar reaction to The Cuckoo’s Calling. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite wow me like I was hoping it would.

Rowling writes in a way that if I had no prior knowledge as to the truth of her identity, I would have guessed it was someone new. It is written in a very hardboiled detective style. I read this at the same time I was listening to an Agatha Christie novel. Structurally speaking, the two were very similar. It may have tainted my opinion a bit, but I think it’s safe to say that in many ways, that’s the style Rowling was aiming for.

There is a scene in the beginning that truly exemplifies Rowling’s allusion to the Philip Marlowe’s of detective pulp fiction. Robin, a new temporary secretary, arrives at his office in a more wore down building. A beautiful woman has just rushed out of it (the femme fatale?). While Robin has a bit of a mishap at the top of the stairs due to Strike’s clumsiness, she finds Strike to be a massive guy with wounds on his face. He’s the private dic, the gumshoe. He is gruff, struggling financially, lives in his office, and smokes the occasional (or not so occasionally) cigarette. He has difficulty distinguishing between Robin and his latest temporary secretary at first. To me, all that was missing was a, “Hey, doll.”

The story was a series of interviews that led to its climax. At times it felt long and I was a little bored. That said, I still enjoyed the book and I think someone looking for a detective novel would not be disappointed by The Cuckoo’s Calling.

pj - michelle

Christina’s Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (pseudonym of J.K. Rowling)


Christina’s Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (pseudonym of J.K. Rowling)The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert GalbraithJ. K. Rowling
Published by Hachette Digital, Inc. on 2013-04-30
Genres: Crime, Fiction, General, Mystery & Detective
Pages: 464
Format: eBook
Goodreads
four-stars
A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.You may think you know detectives, but you've never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you've never seen them under an investigation like this.Introducing Cormoran Strike, this is the acclaimed first crime novel by J.K. Rowling, writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

Our book club read The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling about a year ago… for me, the book felt long and was a slow read for most of the book. Some members of the club put the book down half way and did not bother to pick it back up to finish. The end was rewarding for those of us who read all the way through because of its slam-grand finish that hooked me the last quarter of the book and had me appreciate the details of the book more. However, I did not feel the book was a testament of Rowling’s talents.

This past month, the book club selected The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, Rowling’s pseudonym. I was excited to read this book, but skeptical at the same time given the “popularity” of her previous book with the club and its slow progression. The Cuckoo’s Calling surprised me… it did not read like The Casual Vacancy (in fact, if I did not know the book was written by her I would not have guessed she was the author…then again, I probably would not have picked up the book if I didn’t already know that either). Instead, this book read like a classic murder mystery. With the mysterious death of Lula Landry, a beautiful model, Cormoran Strike is hired by the dead model’s brother to look into her alleged suicide for foul play and a potential murder suspect. Her brother will not accept she committed suicide and throws his money to a private detective to confirm he is not crazy and that Lula did not kill herself. It had to be murder.

“Galbraith” carries the reader through a systematically investigated murder mystery. The organization of the book allowed the reader to easily follow through the series of events that take place during the investigation, including the interviews with people from Lula’s life who may have had a connection to the murder. Potential evidence or personal-life details that have the ability to play out later in the book are noted throughout the case. The complex lives of Cormoran Strike and his temporary assistant intermingle and add to the crossing of their personal lives with the case at hand to solve… all while the reader is trying to piece together evidence to determine if Lula did in fact kill herself or if it was murder. If it turned out to be murder… who was the killer/s?

I found myself reading The Cuckoo’s Calling every opportunity I received. I was reading it after work, in the mornings waiting for the metro, and even pulling it out just to read a couple of pages while standing on the elevator. I found the book to be a good read and have already recommended it to colleagues and friends for their next book. Unlike The Casual Vacancy, this book kept me interested throughout with a good story-line, identifiable characters, and the anticipation on who Strike will choose to meet and talk with next. I thought I knew the answer to Lula’s mysterious death and the way the book would play out in the end… but I was wrong.

I did feel incomplete at the end of the book, however. After carrying through, noting certain details mentioned throughout the book I thought would play a role in the end, as well as identifying potential roles individuals may have played in Lula’s death…some of these details and individuals were never connected back to the conclusion in the end. I wanted to read about the reactions from certain characters to the results of Lula’s mysterious case. I felt somewhat disappointed when details mentioned throughout the book I thought would have an impact or role later in the story were not even mentioned in the end. (I don’t want to give any examples here for risk of spoiling it for another… so feel free to email me to talk more about this: playingjokersblog@gmail.com). I would have liked more of a character epilogue to draw together individuals’ reactions and, if possible, other details mentioned earlier in the book. On that note, I was also not satisfied with the end-findings on her death… I think it has left me with more questions than answers from the beginning of the book.

Overall, a good read and great book club pick. If you like murder-mysteries, I think you may appreciate the organization of this one. (Although, I hope you feel more satisfied in the end!)

pj - christina