I really enjoyed that first book, The Cuckoo's Calling, which tells the story of a famous supermodel who kills herself by jumping from her balcony.....or did she? So as soon as I heard the second in the series was coming out, I reserved it at my library (along with several hundred others), and just got it last week.
The second book, The Silkworm, features the same detectives--ex-military private investigator Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellacott. This case also has tinges of celebrity, but is set in an industry that Rowling knows well--the world of publishing. The story centers around a fading author named Owen Quine whose days of glory seem to be behind him. But when a draft of his latest book is leaked, the publishing world discovers it is a scandalous mixture of nasty innuendos, shocking exposes, and vicious caricatures of every one in Quine's life. Numerous of his literary victims would like to kill him, except he is nowhere to be found. It is up to Strike to find both Quine and the truth among the stories, rumors, and outright lies told to him by the inner circle of Quine's publishing comrades.
It's a good mystery, and Rowling does a great job of hiding the clues skillfully and honestly (no never-before-mentioned twin or anything like that). I didn't figure out the puzzle until the end, but was satisfied by how everything played out. But on top of the mystery plot, you see a lot of the masterful touches that makes Rowling such a good writer. As in Harry Potter, she has some great names, including Cormoran Strike himself. Even better, she endows each character with unique but believable features. In several of my latest book reviews, I've complained that I can't tell the characters apart, but that is never a fault in Rowling's work. Quite a number of the characters seem a bit skewed, but they never go too far, turning the whole thing into a farce.
So while it isn't a earth-shaking book, it's a good read, and definitely a cut above your typical murder mystery. It is an adult book, but honestly, it has less profanity, sex, and violence than some of the YA novels I've read. I wouldn't give it to a tween who is still enraptured by the world of Harry Potter, but I think it is fine for a teenager with a not-too-conservative value system.