I enjoyed the first book in the Cormoran Strike series quite a bit, so I picked up the second one, The Silkworm, basically as soon as I finished the first. This one was a little disappointing.
In The Silkworm, private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin are investigating the disappearance of an author. It quickly turns grisly as they discover he had an unpublished manuscript (titled Bombyx Mori, Latin for silkworm) that contained grotesque caricatures of several people in his life, and that those caricatures were hurtful enough that several people may have wanted him to come to harm because of it. He’s murdered in a particularly nasty way that echoes the final scene of Bombyx Mori and involves hydrochloric acid and intestines. It’s a little convoluted. I like twisty-turny mysteries, but at times I had trouble keeping track of the characters. Each person connected with the murder is in there twice–once as themselves, and once as a character in Bombyx Mori, the book within a book. It’s also pretty disgusting, in a way that reminded me of some of the more twisted scenes in Game of Thrones or Dexter.
The book takes place within London’s publishing industry, something I’m sure JK Rowling (Robert Galbraith is a pen name) knows a lot about. Cormoran Strike and Robin are great characters and I enjoyed spending time with them. Rowling, as always, is able to make you feel like you’re right there in the scene with the characters, and as we know from Harry Potter, she’s able to write suspenseful mysteries that make you want to keep reading, but The Silkworm was a little too gross and a little too confusing for me. I liked it enough that I still want to finish the series, but that’s mainly due to the affection I have for Strike and Robin rather than the actual story.