September 24, 2014
Let’s Do Lunch
I finally finished The Silkworm the second in private investigator Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith. In case you don’t know by now Robert Galbraith is JK Rawlings, which
leads me to a ponder moment.
Moment: Is it better to be a writer who creates a phenomenon first story or is it better to write mediocre books, get your footing, then have a phenomenon? In a way I feel sorry for JK Rawlings. Harry Potter will always cast a shadow over everything she does, but hey, she’s met the Queen and I haven’t.
Back to private eye Cormoran Strike. I actually liked the first in the series, The Cuckoo's Calling, but The Silkworm was a big disappointment. It took me forever to read, the middle of the book dragged and I had to force myself to finish it.
In The Silkworm, we get a glimpse into the publishing world seen through the eyes of JK Rawlings, aka Robert Galbraith. And, it’s not a very pleasant glimpse. First of all our murder victim is an author and all of the suspects have connections with the publishing world. None of the characters are likeable. The whole book had a murky depressing feel about it. When the story begins, Cormoran Strike has been hired to find a missing author by the authors wife. Find him Cormoran does; only he’s dead. Now, because the police force of Great Britain seems to be bumbling boobs, they arrest the wife. Cormoran knows she’s not the killer and of course Cormoran is always right, so most of the book is taken up with finding the real murderer. How does he do this? Well, he seems to do a lot suspect questioning in restaurants and pubs. We get to watch him go from one food place to another as he questions all of the suspects. Lots and lots and lots of boring questions. This is not a thriller; actually there isn’t any tension at all.
When I read a mystery/murder story I like to be given enough information to see if I can solve the crime before Hercule/Sherlock/Marple/Spade do. It is always a race toward the end to see which one of us will be first with the solution. In this whodunit the reader is never given any clues. That is because Mr. Strike is a know it all. He either tells us who isn’t guilty or he keeps almost everything to himself with the annoying use of partial sentences and incomplete thoughts. Part of the joy I get out of reading mystery books isn’t reading about the gore that’s covering the pages but trying to solve the problem. After a while I didn’t really care who murdered the author, I just wanted it to end.
I was also disturbed with the glimpse into the publishing world that we are given by Ms. Rawlings/Galbraith. Oh not the murderous villain or the many giant egos that were exposed throughout the tale. No, I was disturbed by a certain biting undercurrent that was representative of the publishing world portrayed in this particular book. This story was filled with unkind people, authors who think they are more literate than other others because they write words with four syllables, all the while they belittle authors who write "female porn" (romance.) While I realize that all businesses have vicious backstabbing people in it, this one seemed to have an overabundance of it. There wasn’t one character in this book I could cheer on. This seemed to be a book with an axe to grind.
Let me talk about our hero, Cormoran Strike. For some reason in this story I didn’t care for him all that much. Sure, he had his leg blown off in Afghanistan, but I got tired of hearing about it hurting or being red or swollen or his prosthetic not fitting or having to wear crutches or his balance being off…whine whine whine. It’s time for Mr. Whiney guy to fade into the background. Then there is his sleazy user attitude toward women. By the way, for all of his supposed brilliance he is very lacking in understanding his partner/secretary/helper Robin. Maybe it's because of his hair. Hair! He has hairy knuckles and hairy hands. He has big big feet, he’s a big guy. He’s almost like Hagrid, and I’m sorry I just never thought Hagrid was all that sexy – but women seem to fall all over themselves to jump into bed with Cormoran.
I did see possibilities in the Robin character, but she doesn’t have as much play in this story as she did in the last. Whenever she made her appearance the book became interesting, although, I hope she dumps her horrible boyfriend. Both Robin and Cormoran could use more character development, because in this book they aren’t any further along than they were in the first one.
I was disappointed in the second Cormoran Strike book; we don’t learn anything new about Robin or Cormoran. It was just a bland story. I may read the third in the series, but if it’s not any better than this one, I’ll probably pass on the entire series.
Time/Place: Current time Great Britain