RJ Ellory's secret Amazon reviews anger rivals - 2012-09-03
Bestselling authors including Lee Child, Ian Rankin and Joanne Harris are queuing up to condemn the posting of reviews under false identities after it emerged this weekend that the award-winning crime writer RJ Ellory had been criticising his rivals and praising his own work under pseudonyms on Amazon.
Ellory, who won the Theakstons Old Peculier crime novel of the year prize in 2010 for his novel A Simple Act of Violence, was exposed by the crime writer Jeremy Duns on Twitter for posting reviews on Amazon under various identities. Under the pseudonym "Nicodemus Jones", Ellory called his own novel A Quiet Belief in Angels a "modern masterpiece" and said that readers should "just buy it, read it and make up your own mind", because "whatever else it might do, it will touch your soul". "All I will say is that there are paragraphs and chapters that just stopped me dead in my tracks," he wrote. "Some of it was chilling, some of it raced along, some of it was poetic and langorous and had to be read twice and three times to really appreciate the depth of the prose … it really is a magnificent book."
But "Nicodemus Jones" was less positive about some of his fellow novelists: Stuart MacBride was dismissed for his novel Dark Blood with one star, with the book described as "another in the seemingly endless parade of same-old-same-old police procedurals that seem to abound in the UK". Duns spotted that Ellory wrote the MacBride review under the pseudonym Nicodemus Jones, but later in the conversation began posting as RJ Ellory, in a continuation of the discussion. "Nicodemus Jones" also repeatedly signs himself as "Roger" in another discussion, in which he writes that "I won the Nouvel Observateur prize last year for AQBIA [A Quiet Belief in Angels]".