British writer J.K. Rowling, best known for her series about a certain boy wizard, has a new novel out. In fact she has had a new novel out since April, 2013, but it has only been July, 2013 that anyone knew about it.
According to a Rowling website, the Leaky Cauldron, the novel is entitled “The Cuckoo’s Calling,” about a detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. The book was published under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, who is described as having been “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.”
Strike, according to the book’s listing on Amazon, is a down on his heels ex soldier who has a prosthetic lower limb and who is scraping by as a private detective when he becomes involved in an investigation of an alleged suicide of a super model named Lula Landry, known to friends as “the Cuckoo,” who is suspected of having been done away with by foul play. “The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.”
Rowling published under a pseudonym because she didn’t want to be subjected to the expectations she faced with her mainstream novel, “A Casual Vacancy.” One suspects that she wanted to write a crime novel for the fun and challenge as well. However Rowling was found out when Peter Millican from Oxford and Patrick Juola from Duquesne University subjected the text of “The Cuckoo’s Calling” to a linguistic analysis and found it to be remarkably similar to the Harry Potter books and “A Casual Vacancy.”
The novel has some of Rowling’s classic linguistic and literary allusions. Landry, who ends her life on a paved street, means “master of the land.” Cormoran is the name of a sea giant from the fairy tale “Jack and the Giant Killer.”
“The Cuckoo’s Calling” had been doing middling well before Rowling was outed as the author, with good reviews and steady sales. It has, as of this writing, shot up to number one on the Amazon best seller list.A second novel in the series is already scheduled for next year.