Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Heard: "Silkworm" by Robert Galbraith

Heard: Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling), 2014, Overdrive.com download.

Another long one by Rowling. Second in the Cormoran Strike series. According to the internets this is being adapted by BBC television.

Short: a novel about the London publishing world.

Long: Cormoran Strike is sleep-deprived and angry at an entitled client when he decides to accept a missing person case. A wife asks him to find her missing author husband. Cormoran starts sleuthing among the man's agent, publisher, editor, not-so-secret girlfriend and others.

Missing Author had just written roman a clef featuring many people in publishing plus several of Missing Author's friends and former friends. [I'd like to point out that I remembered what a roman a clef is all on my own.] Cormoran finds Missing Author in a half-abandoned house dead and gutted like a turkey.  Things get interesting.

Rowling has us following Comoran and, to a lesser extent, his assistant Robin. Comoran is not a particularly complex person, but he does get grouchy. He was raised by an itinerant mother and has only once met his famous musician father. Half a leg was lost to an IED in Afghanistan and he abhors the attention that the injury sometimes brings him.

Cormoran's amputation is always there but Rowling does not delve deeper into how that effects Coromoran until later in the book.  We're left to infer Strike's issues. He hates missing the leg, getting sympathy or pity.  He also hates having to adjust his physical efforts when the stump is overworked and brings sharp pain.He often times refuses to even talk about the leg.

The mystery tale is okay. This is more of a procedural with several suspects and Cormoran announcing the killer in a final confrontation. Most of the time is spent interviewing the suspects, meeting some of Cormoran's long time friends and relatives, and finding out how Robin's relationship with her fiancee seems like co-dependent trouble. Never mind the lingering love/obsession between Strike and his former long term girlfriend.

1. I won't say the novel is great but Rowling is a heck of a story teller and kept me interested the whole way. The characters do not always ring true at times but I still enjoy the visit.
2. What's with introducing each chapter with quotes by another author? Who was the first novelist to do that? I used to think having quotes was neat. Now I think introducing quotes are lame-ass. That's right, I just wrote that J.K. Rowling is doing lame-ass things. So there.
3. I did ponder looking up some of the books she quoted. I won't.
4. The narration is uneven. I was annoyed by the little emotion in one scene of  dialogue but then thought he was better. I think the narrator does better with the male characters. There is a dinner scene in a men's club where a drunken editor answers his mobile. His wife is on the line and he yells, "I drink because I'm fucking married to you!" The narrator's reading of that part made me sit up straight and my eyes went wide same as if I had been there in person.
5. A lot of time spent wondering what and what real people Rowling may be complaining about. Other talk that I assume is part of Rowling's meteoric rise in publishing. Needing a thick skin for reviews. Nepotism in the industry - going as far to publish a spouse's novel even if the novel is crap. Drunken editors. Backstabbing authors.
6. How can a rise be meteoric when meteors fall to earth.

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