Because of my inquisitive nature (I guess), I’m always suspicious of bestselling authors attempting to “try something new” under an alias. Romance novelist Nora Roberts writes crime as J.D. Robb. Really? Not making enough money as Nora Roberts? Did Stephen King really have to become Richard Bachman to prove his worth as an author?
Well, when the latest foray into this anonymous world hit book shelves, I was even more suspicious. This time, it was children’s scribe, Harry Potter inventor and millionaire extraordinaire J.K. Rowling writing crime fiction (adult crime fiction, no less) as Robert Galbraith. Rowling has recently (about a year before The Cuckoo’s Calling came out) made a splash in adult fiction with A Casual Vacancy, which was successful. So why use a pseudonym now? Why use a pseudonym at all? And why a male pseudonym?
As I was contemplating all of these questions, basically trying to come up with an excuse NOT to read this book, I started it. I like crime fiction and moderately enjoyed the writing style of Casual Vacancy (though the story there did not hold my interest), so I thought, what the heck?
And guess what? Surprise, surprise – I loved it. Rowling – I mean Galbraith – really shows off her writing chops with this highly engaging, thrilling tale of fashion and celebrities. Her main character, Cormoran Strike, is a character right out of the pages of Dashiell Hammett – hard-nosed, no-nonsense and crusty with a soft streak. Strike, just like Sam Spade, is a PI, but Strike is down-and-out…almost. He takes a case involving the suspicious death of a supermodel, and he not only sees a chance to revitalize his career, but also a chance to gain some high-profile (i.e. RICH) clients. But the case leads Strike places he never thought it would. A must read for crime fiction fans!