Crime fiction novel by J.K. Rowling proves to be a success

Copy Editor

When The Cuckoo’s Calling was first published in April 4, 2013, Robert Galbraith’s debut into the genre of Crime Fiction was met with widespread critical acclaim yet lukewarm commercial success. Galbraith’s novel sold around 9,500 copies (print, ebook and audiobook sales combined) within the first few months of its release, and ascended to No. 4,709 on Amazon’s best selling book list. Readers and Critics alike noted that Galbraith’s first foray into fiction was considered a major success, even if it didn’t break records or revolutionize the genre.

However, on July, 14, 2013, a source close to Galbraith leaked something surprising to the media: Galbraith was in fact just a pseudonym for one of the the most famous authors of all time—J.K. Rowling! With this news, sales for “The Cuckoo’s Calling” increased by 150,000%; subsequently, the novel surged up the charts where it held the No. 1 position for quite some time. “The Cuckoo’s Calling” finally achieved commercial success, much to the chagrin of Rowling who loved the animonity and liberation she felt while writing as Galbraith.

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” showcases that Rowling can write something other than magical fiction and succeed (for the most part). There’s an interesting commentary on what fame brings and how the media frames those under the public spotlight; but, for the most part, this is pure pulp fiction–nothing too deep–but still, highly entertaining.

Cormaine Strike is ex-military interrogator who  make his living limping along–both literally and figuratively–as a private detective in London. Coping with depression and poverty, Strike’s life takes a turn for the better when a temp agency sends Robin Ellacot to serve as his new assistant. New help also ushers in a new case–one that concerns the famous super model Lula Landry. Her recent “suicide” is called into question by her brother-in-law John Bristow, who swears that his adoptive sister didn’t jump to her death on a cold winter night–she was pushed–and it’s up to Strike and Ellacot to figure out all they can about the enigmatic model and the circumstances that led to her tragic death.

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” is gripping from the very first page. The London streets and locals and the shady citizens that Strike and Ellacot encounter throughout the novel, are beautifully written and described. Further, dialogue, mostly in the form of interrogation via Strike, is snappy, enticing and wholly entertaining, serving as the main set pieces that propel the story forward. Yet the best part about Rowling’s debut mystery is that her main protagonists are (almost) as interesting and lovable, albeit in a more adult-oriented way, as Harry Potter and friends.

Yet, the novel does have its share of shortcomings. Parts of the book drag on–particularly towards the middle–and the climax is frustratingly anticlimactic and a bit shoehorned.

Nevertheless, the follies of the novel are minor. Rowling obviously has a love for crime-fiction and her writing clearly shows it. For readers yearning for more Rowling, check out “The Cuckoo’s Calling.”