Regular commenter Sheila Brennan said a few days ago that my opposition to mysteries seems to be diminishing. She is right, I really have begun to like a certain type of mystery. Mysteries that are about characters and understanding people are interesting. Mysteries that are about violence and ‘who-dun-it’, not as much.
Silkworm is certainly more violent (and vaguely sexually violent) than absolutely necessary. But the point isn’t the violence, but creating the character that would also be violent. At some point the murderer has to be a person that would commit murder. It is a weakness of the genre, either the books are about violence of some sort, or there isn’t a mystery. I thought that Silkworm was somewhat like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (at least in how it related to sexual violence).
About eight months have passed since Corman Strike solved case in the first book. Since then he is doing a bit better. His assistant Robin has helped him get out from under most of his debt and assisting him to work on paying cases. But Strike also hates working for pricks. And more to get rid of a prick of a client than anything else, he accepts a commission from a socially awkward woman to find her missing husband. That husband is a temperamental writer who disappears frequently, who openly has mistresses and who writes very odd books. Together they have a 26 year old developmentally disabled daughter.
As the mystery progresses we get more background on Strike, meet his brother and others that have known him in the past. Robin also is a little less perfect and more of an individual as the book progresses. She is frustrated with Strike for not giving her more responsibility and doing more to train her.
Overall, I think this was a better book than The Cuckoo’s Calling, but content of the murder and investigation is a bit off putting. Strike is a bit too much of ‘I can do it myself’, especially around his prosthetic leg. But that leg is also his thorn in the flesh that limits him as a character, without it he would end up being a James Bond/superman type of hero.