This “debut” crime novel written by a retired British policeman has been getting a lot of attention in the last 48 hours and with good reason. The novel, which was published in April was penned by none other than J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame (and to my knowledge, she has never been a man nor a British “bobby”…she is however the parent of two which means that there was some truth to the fake bio at least.)
At any rate, I would like to take a moment to celebrate the fact that 1.) Rowling was able to keep this a secret for any period of time. 2.) That this novel received a lot of critical praise BEFORE anyone knew who really wrote it. and 3.) to her and her publisher for putting the prose ahead of the profit. This gives me hope that the literary world is not completely corrupted by the almighty dollar.
A few months ago when Rowling’s highly anticipated “The Casual Vacancy” came out, I was very unsure of how the public would react and I wondered then if it would have been smarter to use a pen name just in case. She often said she would, she’s no dummy when it comes to knowing that anything she does beyond “Harry” will pale by comparison. Michael Jackson may have spent the rest of his life chasing “Thriller’s” success, but Rowling knows that it’s unlikely lightening will ever strike twice. I read the sample of The Casual Vacancy and decided it wasn’t my kind of book. Honestly, it may have been very good but when I had trouble keeping track of the characters and plot line, I knew it was best to leave it alone. I heard people say wonderful things about it, so maybe it was just me, but I was fine with “Bagging” that title.
This new one however, is better…granted, I am only in the first couple of pages, but it already starts off better and has a much more intriguing plot line: The death of a supermodel and the unfolding investigation. The prose reads better (which should be welcome news for her “Harry” fans) and while there are no wands and wizards, it’s something that does not require British citizenship to understand.
I realize that this is not a “traditional” BBB post, but I think that if we loved Harry…we should give this a chance and not judge Rowling by her other “covers.” As readers we should applaud the fact that she did this quietly. That she realizes she needs to earn our post-Harry respect and after years of being ensconced at Hogwarts, she’s trying to find her literary voice. Bless her for not resting on her Harry Potter fortune. Let’s all Buy It or Borrow it and show some support!