RJ Ellory: fake book reviews are rife on internet, authors warn

Fake book reviews are rife on the internet and readers should be aware of the "fraudulent" practices of some writers, a group of leading British authors warn tonight.

Authors Ian Rankin, Lee Child and Val McDermid: RJ Ellory: fake book reviews are rife on internet, authors warn

Authors Ian Rankin, Lee Child and Val McDermid were among the 49 writers to condemn the "underhand tactics" of colleagues such as RJ Ellory. Photo: CHRIS WATT/GEOFF PUGH/GETTY IMAGES
In a letter sent to The Daily Telegraph, the authors, who have collectively sold millions of novels, “unreservedly” condemned the “abuse” on websites such as Amazon.

 RJ Ellory (right) admitted to using false names on Amazon to attack rivals (Picture: REX FEATURES)

The group, including bestselling writers Ian Rankin, Lee Child, Susan Hill, Val McDermid and Helen FitzGerald, said the widespread use of “fake identities” was causing untold damage to the publishing world.
In an outspoken attack on the so-called “sock puppeting” practice, they urged readers and the literary world to help expose colleagues who used the “underhand tactics”.
Their condemnation came after RJ Ellory, the bestselling British crime writer, was exposed for using pseudonyms to pen fake glowing reviews about his “magnificent genius” online while simultaneously criticising his rivals.
The author of A Quiet Belief in Angels and a Simple Act of Violence, whose real name is Roger Jon Ellory, apologised for his "lapse of judgment".
The 47 year-old, based in Birmingham, West Midlands, admitted he had used fake identities to write about his own work on the Amazon book site, giving himself five star ratings.
Ellory, who went to ground today as he faced a deluge of criticism from fans worldwide – many of whom took to the internet to voice their anger – also gave his rivals bad reviews and low ratings using the same pseudonyms.
The father-of-one, who has won a variety of awards including Crime Novel of the Year 2010, was compelled to apologise after Jeremy Duns, a British spy author now based in Sweden, aired the accusations on Twitter last week.
Another thriller writer, Stephen Leather, has also admitted using different online identities to publicise his work.
More at The Telegraph