DEEPLY SUSPICIOUS: Sock puppetry and fake reviews: publish and be damned.

Editor preface. I read this, this morning and not for the first time wondered not if but rather for how long this has being going on in some audiophile forums? I remain deeply, deeply suspicious of any forum poster using a pseudonym rather than their full name. Try substituting 'equipment' for 'book' in the following piece. Chilling. Anyway, moving on …

"Authors are increasingly being exposed for fabricating glowing reviews for their own books. But why risk ridicule for the sake of a good writeup?

A Quiet Belief in Angels by RJ Ellory is, according to a review in the Guardian, "thriller writing of the very highest order". High praise indeed, but one Amazon reviewer, "Jelly Bean", goes further. RJ Ellory's story of a man who as a child was at the centre of a series of brutal killings of young girls is "one of the most moving books I've ever read", Ellory himself is "one of the most talented authors of today" and "his ability to craft the English language is breathtaking".

Too much? No, because Amazon reviewer "Nicodemus Jones" agrees: the book is a "modern masterpiece", and "whatever else it might do, it will touch your soul". A reader wondering whether or not to make a purchase might be convinced by this breathless praise: the only problem is, Jelly Bean and Nicodemus Jones are both the pseudonyms of Ellory himself, who was outed this week by fellow crime writer Jeremy Duns as the author of 12 glowingly positive writeups of his own books on Amazon, as well as two reviews critical of his fellow crime authors Mark Billingham and Stuart MacBride. MacBride's novel Dark Blood is, according to Ellory's pseudonymous review, "another in the seemingly endless parade of same-old-same-old police procedurals that seem to abound in the UK".

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