The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith

76%

54 Critic Reviews

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...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...
-Kirkus

Synopsis

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.
 

About Robert Galbraith

See more books from this Author
After several years with the Royal Military Police, Robert Galbraith was attached to the SIB (Special Investigative Branch), the plain-clothes branch of the RMP. He left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry. The idea for Cormoran Strike grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who returned to the civilian world. 'Robert Galbraith' is a pseudonym.
 
Published June 19, 2014 by Mulholland Books. 465 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jul 06 2014
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Weeks as Bestseller
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Critic reviews for The Silkworm
All: 54 | Positive: 49 | Negative: 5

Kirkus

Excellent
on Jun 15 2014

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...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...

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jun 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.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Harlan coben on Jun 23 2014

In the end, the fictional publisher Daniel Chard got it right: “Content is king,” and on that score, both J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith triumph.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Michiko Kakutani on Jun 15 2014

Although the reader wishes Ms. Rowling had lavished more of her own inventive Harry Potter skills in concocting Quine’s writings, she does do a nimble job of planting clues to the killer’s identity in the manuscript...

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Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Robert McCrum on Jun 21 2014

Inside this overwrought cocoon, there is perhaps some magic, but the necessary sacrifices of art are never part of renewing global bestsellerdom.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Val McDermid on Jun 18 2014

Certainly on this evidence, The Cuckoo's Calling was a calling card for a series that has legs. With up to seven books planned for Cormoran Strike and Robin Ellacott – the same as the Potter canon – Galbraith obviously feels the same.

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WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Tom Nolan on Jun 18 2014

With "The Silkworm" and "The Cuckoo's Calling," one might be tempted to say, Robert Galbraith has announced himself as a fresh voice in mystery fiction: part hard-boiled, part satiric, part poignant and part romantic.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Carolyn Kellogg on Jun 19 2014

...swift and satisfying, especially when read through the lens of secrets and fame and the famous writer behind it all.

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Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Robert Collison on Jun 23 2014

By page 400-plus, the reader is eager for a resolution, and it comes as a bit of a surprise, as it should. For my money, Rowling has mastered her new genre impressively.

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National Post arts

Above average
Reviewed by ROBERT J. WIERSEMA on Jun 20 2014

The Silkworm is a well-structured, richly characterized mystery, which will keep even the most astute of readers guessing through the final pages.

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The Washington Post

Above average
Reviewed by Louis Bayard on Jun 12 2014

Meet, if you haven’t already, Cormoran Strike...Again and again, under the most arduous of plot pressures, Rowling finds her threads of silk.

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The Independent

Above average
Reviewed by MAX LIU on Jun 15 2014

Rowling’s pleasure in writing the book is palpable: with the pressure of her first adult fiction behind her, clearly the pseudonym has been liberating.

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The Independent

Good
Reviewed by CHARLOTTE PHILBY on Jun 11 2014

...a tightly stitched updating of the classic tale of the dishevelled but brilliant private dick, smattered with references to 19th-century French literature and pre-Levenson sleuthing tactics, alongside well-realised characters

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The Telegraph

Excellent
Reviewed by Jake Kerridge on Jun 11 2014

It’s certainly a damn good read. The plot is much more smoothly constructed than in The Cuckoo’s Calling, with Rowling giving her characters room to breathe while still taking a Christie-like delight in the cunning sowing of clues...It’s a book to gulp down...

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The Boston Globe

Above average
Reviewed by DANEET STEFFENS on Jun 26 2014

While the gruesome mystery is both unnerving and good fun, the subtle but unmistakable heft in this book comes from the fact that we get more — though, tellingly enough, not all — of the regular characters’ back stories, quirks, and foibles...Only two books in, and Galbraith’s characters already feel like familiar — and welcome — friends.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Above average
Reviewed by Kathleen Guzzi on Jun 28 2014

...J.K. Rowling knows how to serialize better than anyone these days. She parcels out sufficient information to propel and conclude the current plot line, but keeps just enough back to feed anticipation for the next installment...is a classic British mystery with a modern sensibility, written with intelligent humor and a wry observational eye.

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USA Today

Above average
Reviewed by Charles Finch on Jun 12 2014

Rowling tells her story in quick, darting, entertaining chapters, populated with dozens of memorable characters. The writer she most resembles to me is Charles Dickens: like him, she has prodigious, otherworldly gifts of invention, and like him she has a fierce satirical instinct...

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The Seattle Times

Good
Reviewed by Moira Macdonald on Jun 19 2014

Suddenly the book is done, and you’re wishing Rowling hadn’t spent so long writing those Potter books and had instead knocked out a few more of these. (I jest, Potter fans. But only a little.)

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Express

Good
Reviewed by Caroline Jowett on Jun 20 2014

This pacy, unputdownable book has more twists than The Cuckoo’s Calling and is a lot more sophisticated.

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Tampa Bay Times

Above average
Reviewed by Colette Bancroft on Jun 20 2014

The Cuckoo's Calling was very good crime fiction; The Silkworm is even better. There's a real sense of Rowling enjoying herself, and that might well be a result of its setting: London's publishing world, which she satirizes gleefully...But the mystery, twisted as Quine's book, drives The Silkworm.

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Above average
Reviewed by Sue Turnbull on Jul 10 2014

The Silkworm thus brings to mind the crime fiction of another, more leisurely and more literary era. In her respect for the structure of the classic detective story, and her obvious delight in its multi-layered artifice,..The Silkworm is indeed a joy.

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Newsday

Above average
Reviewed by Louis Bayard on Jul 02 2014

What makes "The Silkworm" such a pleasurable read is how avidly Rowling accepts the old rules and embraces the stability of genre. Genre is, in fact, the foundation from which her grace notes emerge...Again and again, under the most arduous of plot pressures, Rowling finds her threads of silk.

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The Daily Beast

Above average
Reviewed by Malcolm Jones on Jun 13 2014

Rowling works best within the strictures of genre, whether it’s fantasy for young readers or the conventions of private eye fiction.

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About.com Bestsellers

Above average
Reviewed by Anna Limber on Oct 02 2014

Those of us who’ve come to this series mostly for Rowling will perhaps find The Silkworm a little too unsavory for our taste, while fans of modern crime novels in general will likely enjoy this latest entry into the genre. If you haven't read The Cuckoo's Calling yet, I would start with that one...

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Lincoln Journal Star

Above average
Reviewed by Donna Ewoldt on Aug 03 2014

Her expertise shines in "The Silkworm," a flawed-private-investigator-with-beautiful-sidekick crime mystery...Much of the novel’s action takes place in a London literary setting of agents, authors, publishers, press and other isolated souls with dark secrets to hide.

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People

Good
Reviewed by SUE CORBETT on Jun 12 2014

Astutely observed, well-paced and full of Rowling's trademark acerbic wit, Silkworm thoroughly engages as a crime novel. But it might be even more enjoyable to read between the lines in search of what Rowling has to say about fame, publishing, and the modern writer's life.

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NY Daily News

Good
Reviewed by Sherryl Connelly on Jun 12 2014

...he’s tall, dark and handsome. 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.

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Chicago Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Jenni Laidman on Jun 27 2014

In "The Silkworm," J.K. Rowling's entertaining second novel under the pen name Robert Galbraith, private detective Cormoran Strike searches for the missing husband of Leonora Quine only to uncover his bizarre murder...The ending is a little stagy...but Rowling is too smart to let this turn into a parlor trick; she spices it up with a bit of action.

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The New Zealand Herald

Above average
Reviewed by CHARLOTTE PHILBY on Jun 21 2014

Less than a year later, her nom de plume is back, this time with a pacey detective story set among the back-biters and uber-egos of the literary world, with a swipe at the phone hackers who once targeted the notoriously private Harry Potter author.

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Entertainment Weekly

Good
Reviewed by Thom Geier on Jun 16 2014

Though the revelation of whodunit may be conventional, Rowling spins a compulsively entertaining yarn.

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Hypable

Good
Reviewed by Donya Abramo on Jun 19 2014

...even with the particularly grisly descriptions, and an abundance of odious characters odious, there is something supremely enjoyable about The Silkworm. The suspects are not especially likeable, and certainly neither is the victim. But Strike and Robin are...

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Arts Fuse

Above average
Reviewed by Harvey Blume on Aug 19 2014

The Silkworm satisfied me sufficiently until the end, the wrap-up, when, however implausibly, you find out who it was that really did what to whom. The higher math of the conclusion seemed far too post-Euclidean. Here the Galbraith/Rowling gears do grind. The beast arrives in a lather.

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IBN Live

Above average
Reviewed by Amrita Tripathi on Jun 28 2014

The story goes beyond that one plot of course, the meat is in the detail and the sub-plots, the almost definite budding of proper feelings between Robin and Corm...Great fun to not-follow and be surprised by the ending too, so full points to Galbraith, and here's to more of Cormoran Strike.

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The Seattle Times

Good
Reviewed by Moira Macdonald on Jun 19 2014

Rowling/Galbraith writes with wit and affection for detective-novel tradition...and races us through a twisty plot so smoothly that you won’t notice as the hours tick by...Happily, the last pages hint that Rowling’s not yet done with them either.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by SpeakOutStandOut on Jan 18 2015

J. K’s writing grabs your attention from the get go and you literally are dying for answers by the middle of the novel. It has the perfect balance of suspense, drama, death and blood, guts and gore...This novel is definitely worth your read and her writing is excellent. I could not gush anymore, it’s truly a jaw dropping shocker.

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Curled Up

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Leonard on Oct 02 2014

Although I thought The Silkworm was far too long and a bit of a slog, Galbraith (J.K. Rowling’s alter-ego) holds dear the unspoken promise that the reader won’t be left hanging...In prose as carefully calibrated as the inner-workings of Cormoran’s mind, the author excels in defining the subtleties of complex, like-minded soul...

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Rhapsody in Books

Good
Reviewed by rhapsodyinbooks on Sep 12 2014

Rowling’s writing is impressive as usual...Rowling pays obeisance to the common tropes of the genre – from noir elements, to Strike’s careful methodical examination of the facts, to having Strike bring all the suspects together in a Christie-like manner to facilitate the unmasking of the killer.

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Readings

Above average
Reviewed by Fiona Hardy on Jun 20 2014

Everyone in this book is just so entertaining to read: even a few scant paragraphs can bring someone out, vivid and fully-realised. Rowling is perhaps not treading any new ground in crime fiction, but...here she livens up the crime-fiction scene, hitting all the right notes, creating people you want to follow...

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Badass Book Reviews

Good
Reviewed by Badass Book Reviews on Jun 30 2014

...the mystery was well done and Ms. Rowling established a theme for the series: murders of artists/famous people. Which makes you wonder where this will take Strike, given that his father is a famous rock star...

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Raging Biblioholism

Excellent
Reviewed by Drew on Sep 15 2014

I won’t go on to say much more – at the end of the day, it is indeed just a really well done crime novel. But Galbraith puts more care into it than the genre necessarily requires, making the reading experience damned lovely.

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Lit Stack

Above average
Reviewed by Sharon Browning on Sep 09 2014

But what elevates the Cormoran Strike novels for me...is how effectively author Galbraith incorporates the human side of his story...The citizens of this England, while mundane and ordinary, are still anything but flat, anything but boring. Under Mr. Galbraith’s deft tutelage, they come alive...

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From the TBR Pile

Above average
Reviewed by Autumn Crochet on Nov 22 2014

...The Silkworm took me awhile to get into. I had trouble with the story line for some reason. I have this issue with books about authors for some reason...This is a great detective series by a great writer.

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Women 24

Good
Reviewed by Bradley Lutz on Jul 30 2014

This is a brilliant detective story and one can only hope that we get to see many more Cormoran Strike novels. Rowling has crafted enormously compelling protagonists and an equally compelling enigma which will have you pointing fingers and wondering who did it until the very end.

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http://www.dawn.com

Above average
Reviewed by Sameen Amer on Sep 21 2014

The story itself is cleverly set in the world of publishing...The novel could, however, have done with a more thorough edit, and some of the thoughts could have used a little restructuring... Ultimately, The Silkworm is an interesting whodunit staged amidst London’s literary scene, but it is a tad too long and mundane.

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The Flutterby Room

Above average
Reviewed by beckireads on Sep 11 2014

Whilst I did enjoy reading THE SILKWORM, there wasn’t quite the magic of THE CUCKOO’S CALLING in the story and characters for me...Having said that, THE SILKWORM was a very clever and enjoyable read.

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Read Me Deadly

Above average
Reviewed by SISTER MARY MURDEROUS on Jun 27 2014

One sure sign that The Silkworm is a good read is the letdown I felt when I finished it. I wasn't ready to say goodbye to Cormoran and Robin just yet. All I can do for now, though, is to add this series to my must-read list and hope that "Robert Galbraith" continues with it for a good long time.

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Karan Brooks

Good
Reviewed by Karen on Jul 07 2014

Wonderfully paced, filled with fabulously drawn characters who are flawed, angst-ridden, funny, acerbic and also naive, The Silkworm is a terrific sequel to Cuckoo’s Calling...Found this book very hard to put down – clever, eminently readable, and for a genre that’s well trod, highly original as well.

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SamDowning.com

Above average
Reviewed by Sam Downing on Jul 08 2014

What does come close to spoiling it is the conclusion: No spoilers, but basically Strike deduces who Quine’s murderer is about three-quarters of the way through – and the rest of the book is devoted to cunning schemes tracking down evidence to prove the killer’s guilty , with his or her identity artfully hidden from the reader.

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Dark Readers

Above average
Reviewed by Stephen Haskins on Jun 28 2014

It was also enjoyable to read the development of a novel within a novel, and this is where I feel Rowling really had fun...there was less punch than say a normal crime novel, which tends to end in high climax scenes of a life threatening nature. But again this is what set the novel apart because it doesn't need that...

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Mysteries in Paradise

Good
Reviewed by Kerrie on Sep 17 2014

But to be honest I am a bit disappointed with THE SILKWORM. I thought it was a bit long and unnecessarily complex...Mind you, it is still a good read for the most part and you may not get as impatient as me for the ending to come.

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Book Group of One

Good
Reviewed by Carol Wallace on Jul 02 2014

J. K. Rowling knows how to breathe life into a story. And while the solution to an especially gruesome murder is worked out, Strike limps around and pines for his brilliant assistant Robin...before you know it, you’ve wolfed down a 450-page murder mystery without even realizing it. Three cheers for summer reading!

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A Book A Week Blog

Above average
Reviewed by abookaweek on Sep 29 2014

While it’s interesting that Rowling brings all this publishing world angst to the novel’s backstory, the real question I’m thinking about is, what makes this book better than the hundreds of other mysteries out there...Rowling hews to some classic mystery character tropes...but her skill and experience as a writer elevate them beyond the cliche.

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http://time.com

Above average
Reviewed by Ashley Ross on Jun 18 2014

The story is enthralling, not only for its twists and turns, but for the fun of the teamwork. Rowling lets the reader in on bits of their back stories...With The Silkworm, she’s back on track with a cast of characters who you’ll want to meet again and again.

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Whodunit? Mystery Bookstore

Above average
Reviewed by Jack on Jul 15 2014

The author manages to balance the not-quite romance with a complicated mystery involving one of the nastiest and most gruesome murders imaginable. The book is very much on the dark side, and should be avoided by the squeamish...on the whole, Rowling/Galbraith keeps up the tension and manages to keep the reader turning the pages.

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Reader Rating for The Silkworm
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ipsita barik 9 Oct 2014

Rated the book as 3.5 out of 5

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Rated the book as 3 out of 5

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