Crime writer admits faking 'breathtaking' Amazon reviews

Sep 3, 2012

RJ Ellory used pseudonyms to describe his own work as 'magnificent' and denigrate rivals on website

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A BEST-SELLING British crime writer apologised last night for penning fake online reviews describing his works as "amazing" and "breathtaking".

RJ Ellory used pseudonyms such as 'Nicodemus Jones' and 'Jelly Bean' to heap praise on his work on the Amazon book site. In the fake posts, many of which have since been deleted, he gave his award-winning book A Quiet Belief in Angels five stars and described it as “magnificent” and a "modern masterpiece".

"RJ Ellory is one of the most talented authors of today," he wrote. "His ability to craft the English language is breath-taking.

"You find yourself experiencing so many emotions as you read this book and when you come to the end you don't want it to stop. When I did finish it I thought to myself, 'Wow, that is an amazing book, give me more!'"

Ellory also used the fake identities to give his rivals bad reviews and low ratings. Last month he gave Scottish writer Stuart MacBride one star for his book Dark Blood and wrote: "This is the second of this author's books I have read, and, to tell you the truth, I can't be bothered any more."

Ellory, who has won a variety of awards including Crime Novel of the Year 2010, was compelled to apologise for his actions after British spy author Jeremy Duns took to Twitter to accuse him of writing fake reviews.

In a statement to The Daily Telegraph, 47-year-old Ellory said: "The recent reviews – both positive and negative – that have been posted on my Amazon accounts are my responsibility and my responsibility alone.

"I wholeheartedly regret the lapse of judgment that allowed personal opinions to be disseminated in this way and I would like to apologise to my readers and the writing community."

Duns, who claimed Ellory had accidentally signed off as 'Roger' on one of his fake posts, said that while he had not had any posts written about himself, he wanted to expose the "pathetic" practice.

The Crime Writers' Association described the practice, known as "sock puppeting", as "unfair" and "misleading".

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What a jerk!

I have read some of his books and they are excellent

The books are good.