Dirty 'Harry' reviewers jump the gun

By Colette Bancroft Times Book Editor
Published July 20, 2007

Despite intensive security measures to protect Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows until its release just after midnight tonight, two newspapers published advance reviews of the book online Wednesday night and in print Thursday.

The Baltimore Sun published a review by Mary Carole McCauley, and the New York Times ran a review by Michiko Kakutani.

An editor's note on the Sun review said it obtained the book from a relative of a Sun reporter who bought it from an online retailer. Kakutani's review said that her copy was purchased in a New York bookstore.

Author J.K. Rowling's response was immediate and unhappy: "I am staggered that some American newspapers have decided to publish purported spoilers in the form of reviews in complete disregard of the wishes of literally millions of readers, particularly children," she said in a statement released by her British publisher, Bloomsbury.

"I am incredibly grateful to all those newspapers, booksellers and others who have chosen not to attempt to spoil Harry's last adventure for fans."

Neither review gives away the answers to major questions, such as Harry's fate. But both hint at the resolutions of some of the book's major plot lines.

One oddity: Although published reports and retailers such as Amazon.com say the book is 784 pages long, Kakutani's review says it is 759 pages.