This one is a boon for me; a book I was intending to read anyway fulfills a Read Harder challenge as well. Task 9 was to listen to an audiobook which has won an Audie Award. The Silkworm won the 2015 Audie for Mystery. I believe Robert Glenister absolutely earned his prize, but he was aided by the literary prowess of Rowling as Galbraith.
The Silkworm is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series. Cormoran, a hero and disabled veteran in Afghanistan who was once in the Special Investigative Division and is now a Private Investigator of some repute following the events of the first book in the series, The Cuckoo’s Calling, takes on the case of the missing author Owen Quine. But things quickly escalate as at first, Mrs. Quine just thinks her husband has gone off by himself for a few days, which is not out of character. But as Strike investigates, he discovers that there is more to Quine’s disappearance. Quine had just turned in a manuscript featuring toxic pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows and if the novel were to be published, it would ruin lives. When Quine is found brutally murdered under bizarre circumstances, Cormoran and his partner Robin must race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, and free an innocent person from jail.
The thought that kept occurring to me while listening to this story is that I’m continually surprised with how much story Rowling has to tell. Most authors would have wrapped things up in their narrative much earlier in the plotting. And, I wouldn’t be mad at them for doing so. But much like her other works Rowling builds a world and then only slowly unpacks the details. There are layers upon layers of detail both of our two main characters and their personal lives, but also in the various characters who make up the cast of characters in this murder mystery. There are easily three stories taking place at the same time (which helps explain the 17 and a half hour listening time) but Rowling has them balanced near perfectly.
So, why only four stars? I don’t know. While this book was certainly mastercrafted, and I am even more invested than I was with The Cuckoo’s Calling, I just don’t feel it was perfect. Maybe Career of Evil will be the book to earn five stars from me in this series; The Silkworm earned a full star higher than its predecessor.