J.K. Rowling has had difficult time getting away from her ‘Potterdom’ image when she wrote ‘The Casual Vacancy (2012)’ with the same name, critics framed her and readers were literally shocked to see her changed colours. Though ‘The Casual Vacancy’ was not accepted like a potter book, well it confirmed that Rowling has found her new creative groove in mystery writing.
So, she came back with different trick – pseudonym of Robert Gailbraith. First she wrote ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ featuring fictional detective Cormoran Strike and it worked well. Readers found Strike as striking as Harry Potter. Now the second in the series is ‘The Silkworm’. This book delves deep into the dirty politics of book publishing industry of London that has long snubbed J. K. Rowling until she became the Potter Queen.
It is a mystery. Strike, the lead character, here has to find the reasons behind the murder of Owen Quine. Rowling has intentionally placed this writer character snobby and an utter failure. Though he is a failed writer but his last manuscript, before his death, had something nasty to reveal. Probably it was meant to publicize a horrific scandal that involved the big names from the city. However, before things could materialize for him and his book sees the light over the shelves, he is brutally murdered and his body thrown in the ditch as of any animal.
The onus of solving his case is on Strike, as he is of the opinion that he didn’t deserve such bad state of death. More than the murder mystery, the book builds the characterization of Strike and literally takes big sweeps, his past story of Strike in Afghanistan where he almost lost his one leg.
The Silkworm is not a whodunit mystery, rather a fast-paced with credible casts of villains and of course incredible sweeps of Strike. The book takes a politically firm stance on the publishing industry of London. It would be tough to predict why Rowling chose writer and publishing industry as the concurrent backdrop for the novel, probably she wanted to vent out her struggling days frustration on arrogant establishments. Overall, the character of Strike is something that you will love carrying with yourself, the way we do for Hollywood movies. Rowling’s acerbic tone adds the overall substance to the novel.