J.K. Rowling Secretly Publishes New Book

What’s in a name? When it comes to book sales, it seems the answer lies in the bottom line.

Almost seven years to the day since publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (the last book in the best-selling series of all time), news broke that its author J. K. Rowling had recently published a crime novel under a pseudonym. The Cuckoo’s Calling was released in April under the name Robert Galbraith — the supposed debut novel of a ex-military man. But the Sunday Times was suspicious that a debut could be so assured and — also prompted by an anonymous tweet that Rowling was the author — investigated, uncovering the creator of Harry Potter as the true writer.

Rowling’s publicist released a statement to the press confirming the Times’ finding and offering these words from Rowling:

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

Last year, Rowling published The Casual Vacancy to strong sales but middling reviews. While The Cuckoo’s Calling received strong reviews, it had only sold a reported 1,500 copies before the weekend. When it was revealed that Rowling had actually authored the book, sales soared, placing it at the top of Amazon’s best-selling list by Sunday.

The crime novel centres on the death of a model after a fall from a balcony. Her brother hires Cormoran Strike, a damaged war veteran turned private detective, to investigate her death.

Along with a starred review in Publishers Weekly, long before the reveal, many acclaimed mystery writers had praised the book.

“The best of traditional mystery fiction, private-eye pace and the kind of writing that reminds me why I love this genre,” Val McDermid wrote in the Guardian.

The publisher, Little Brown, says it plans to publish a second book in the Galbraith series next summer.


Read the beginning of The Cuckoo’s Calling.