J.K. Rowling’s New Book: Pseudonym Revealed on Crime Novel


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UPDATE (07/15/13, 2:05 p.m. EST) J.K. Rowling’s website has been updated to include the following statement regarding The Cuckoo’s Calling:

I hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience! It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name. The upside of being rumbled is that I can publicly thank my editor David Shelley, who has been a true partner in crime, all those people at Little, Brown who have been working so hard on The Cuckoo’s Calling without realising that I wrote it, and the writers and reviewers, both in the newspapers and online, who have been so generous to the novel.  And to those who have asked for a sequel, Robert fully intends to keep writing the series, although he will probably continue to turn down personal appearances.

UPDATE (5:01 p.m. EST)   As it turns out, the revelation of J.K. Rowling’s new pseudonym is a bit of a mystery in itself, and came about by some degree of happenstance. According to the New York Times, Richard Brooks (the paper’s Arts editor) tweeted that he had loved the novel, and that it didn’t seem to come from a first time novelist. He then received an anonymous tip via Twitter that the novel had been written by J.K. Rowling. Brooks accounted the story in an interview covered by the Times:

“After midnight she got a tweet back from an anonymous person saying it’s not a first-time novel — it was written by J. K. Rowling,” Mr. Brooks said in an interview. “So my colleague tweeted back and said, ‘How do you know for sure?’  ”

The person replied, “I just know,” and then proceeded to delete all his (or her) tweets and to close down the Twitter account, Mr. Brooks said. “All traces of this person had been taken off, and we couldn’t find his name again.”

Brooks did some investigating before taking this hypothesis to Little, Brown, the publisher of the new novel. After discovering some similarities between the The Cuckoo’s Calling and both the Harry Potter series and The Casual Vacancy, Brooks posed a blunt question to the publishers and then received notice that Rowling had decided to release her identity.

A reprint of the book has since been ordered, and will contain a new author’s biography that reflects the revelation.

 

Like a book by a new crime writer named Robert Galbraith? Well, JK! It’s Rowling!

We are all as shocked as you are: J.K. Rowling has been publishing crime fiction under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

This is not a drill, guys: there is a new book written by J.K. Rowling available right now. You can have it on an e-reader, even, in a few seconds.

The J.K. Rowling crime novel is The Cuckoo’s Calling, by “first-time” writer Robert Galbraith. (The Telegraph has a piece up about this here; The Sunday Times actually broke it.)

The book’s true author was revealed by a couple of independent linguistic experts, Peter Millican from Oxford and Patrick Juola from Duquesne University, who were commissioned to JKR’s published books as well as The Cuckoo’s Calling and some other detective books through a program that could detect similarities.

“It was striking that the Cuckoo’s Calling came out significantly closer [in text comparison] to A Casual Vacancy and even Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows than the other [crime] books,” Millican said to the Times.

I had hoped to keep this secret a little longer,” JKR said, “because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience. It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”

If this whole crime novel thing sounds familiar, cast your minds back to the 2007 rumor from Ian Rankin that J.K. Rowling was writing a crime novel set in Edinburgh. The author had said his wife had seen JKR “scribbling away in a cafe…writing her Edinburgh detective crime novel.” 

At the time, the rumors were quickly dismissed by her entire team, and later Rankin called it a joke that had got out of hand.

The book was released in April and has sold 1500 copies.

It has garnered extremely high praise, with a klatch of favorable reviews, including a starred one from Publishers Weekly and a “Mystery Debut of the Month” from Library Journal. It shares the same agency and editor, the latter of which is odd for a debut author.

Robert Galbraith, says The Cuckoo’s Calling’s author profile, “was attached to the SIB (Special Investigative Branch), the plainclothes branch of the Royal Military Police. He left the military in 2003 and has been working since then in the civilian security industry. The idea for Cormoran Strike [the book's protagonist] grew directly out of his own experiences and those of his military friends who returned to the civilian world. ‘Robert Galbraith’ is a pseudonym.” The last line ignited a lot of curiosity about the hit book’s real author.

“A remarkably assured debut,” said Owen Laukkanen. As of this writing the book’s Amazon page has a scant 20 reviews (the last HP book has 7,463) while its Goodreads page has 80, one reader noting that the novel is a true genre-specific murder mystery, without “the misogynistic, machismo tendencies such novels traditionally have.” “Galbraith’s take on contemporary celebrity obsession makes for a grand beach read,” said Library Journal.

The second book in the Galbraith series will be published next year.

Those who know what they’re looking for will recognize Rowling’s writing from the get go. And she hasn’t lost her penchant for names with resonant and sometimes arch meanings: Landry, the victim in the book, who falls to her death on a paved street, means “master of land,” while protagonist Cormoran, described as large and scary but tender with his loved ones, is the name of a sea giant from the fairy tale “Jack and the Giant Killer.”

You can buy J.K. Rowling’s new book right now! We’ll keep updating this piece with info as it comes!

  • Rumsy4

    Oh my what?????

  • kteelee

    WHAT?!

  • deanie98

    MIND BOGGLING

  • asyl

    I HAVE to read it o m g

  • http://www.worldwidecosplay.com/cosplay-costumes_c15.html tealucyy

    I’m looking forward to the J.K. ROWLING’S new novel and new book.But my favorite is still her novel Harry Potter.

  • TrillianBlack

    It seems really hard to get the book over here. I checked online and in bookstores and it has a delivery time of at least 14 days everywhere. Since it’s a J.K. book I really want a physical copy though (and I want to pick it up ceremonially at a local book store – I know, it’s not Harry Potter, but still…), so I ordered it at a bookstore in my neighborhood and now I have to wait.