I've written before about J.K. Rowling's naming prowess. Her names from Harry Potter are legendary—Severus Snape, Remus Lupin and the like are perfect names that say something about the character before they even speak! And even in Casual Vacancy, her first "grownup" book, she had some good ones.
So I found it interesting that she picked a pretty bland name—Robert—for her pen name when she tried to publish her first mystery novel in secret. (It's called The Cuckoo's Calling, in case you want to take a look.) But now that the secret's out, we can analyze her name selections, which once again befit the novel and the characters that populate it. There's the alleged victim, Lula Landry, a supermodel with a bit of a bad-girl streak, and the trusty assistant Robin (perhaps a nod to Batman's trusty sidekick?). I'm loving the name she saved for her detective hero best, though—that's Cormoran Strike, a former military man who's dealing with a struggling detective agency, a bad breakup with his on-again, off-again girlfriend, an amputated leg, and a high-profile case, all at the same time.
Cormoran is a very uncommon name—it's popular in Cornish myth, though, as the name of the giant who created the rocky outpost, St. Michael's Mount, just off of the coast of Cornwall. He was allegedly felled by the legendary Jack the Giant Killer, and the treasure the giant had stolen from the Cornish people was returned to them. It's the perfect name for Rowling's hero—a large, stocky man who has a bold and brusque way of dealing with the world.
Cormoran would be an excellent choice for someone looking for an alternative to some of the more popular Celtic/English names—like Connor, Liam, and Cameron. It lends itself to a short-and-sweet middle name pairing—Strike would be an offbeat (and striking) choice, but you could also consider True, Lee or Rex with it.
What do you think of the name Cormoran? Too offbeat, or a cool alternative to some pretty popular names?