Reviewer gets caught making it up

I bet there are plenty of authors reading this who’ve been stung by a bad review.  And maybe you’ve received a review that made you wonder whether the reviewer even read the same book you wrote.

Well, maybe he didn’t.

Over in Sweden, this reviewer got caught writing a nasty review of a book that was never written.  

In his review of Britt-Marie Mattsson’s thriller “The Power of Fear” :

 Kristian Lundberg claimed the book’s plot was “predictable” and said the characterisations were one-dimensional. 

There was one big whopping problem with his review.

The book didn’t exist. 

Although the book appeared in the publisher’s catalogue as an upcoming release, the author never actually got around to writing the book.  The reviewer simply made up spiteful comments about a book he assumed was actually on the market.

The reviewer’s excuse?  According to the article:

He had got worked up in advance about Britt-Marie Mattsson because “I detest her so very greatly. But let’s hope the book is published so I get the chance to say it for real.”

Doesn’t sound very apologetic does he?

The author’s publisher commented: “We’ve known for a long time that reviewers skim-read books, but now we know what really happens.”

I’d say this isn’t a case of merely skim-reading books.  This is a case of a reviewer who’s a blatant liar.

(with a hat-tip to Susan Gable and NINCLINK for this item)

18 replies
  1. l.c.mccabe
    l.c.mccabe says:

    No he doesn’t sound apologetic, but it goes to show his true character. I hope he loses his job over this as I equate this kind of dishonesty with similar literary sins of plagiarism and passing fiction off as nonfiction.

    It reminds me of a scandal a few years ago when a movie critic named “David Manning” was revealed to be nothing more than a PR ploy for Sony’s Columbia pictures to have positive reviews made of some of their worst movies. See:

    There should be a special place in hell for those who deliberately try to mislead the public.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. joe bernstein
    joe bernstein says:

    in my job as a federal agent,this was called perjury and resulted in the least at being dismissed,and at the worst going to jail-as should be-what a disgusting puke this guy is

  3. ec
    ec says:

    Isn’t perjury lying about a material matter when under oath? I’m not sure writing a bogus book review falls into quite the same catagory, but I agree that this person should be fired. The damage to his reputation should be such that even and Barnes & Noble online decline to publish his future review.

  4. joe bernstein
    joe bernstein says:

    ec-you’re right-in my job fiction wasn’t authorized-the point i wanted to make was that each occupation has lines that souldn’t be crossed

  5. Amy MacKinnon
    Amy MacKinnon says:

    That’s plain terrifying.

    I was once commissioned to write a couple of book reviews by an editor who surely read everything she critiqued. It’s a difficult assignment. Though I read the books quickly, I simply didn’t connect with them and therefore wasn’t able to write anything more than summaries. They were well written, no doubt, but one was a memoir where I found myself judging the author’s character, not the the book, and the other, well, I don’t remember at all.

    I pulled my pieces because I didn’t submit appropriate reviews. I bet Lundberg will soon wish he had done the same.

  6. Meeka
    Meeka says:

    What a laugh! I’m glad someone picked up on it though. And how foolish would he be feeling about now?? Maybe thats why there is no proper apology.

  7. IndyGail
    IndyGail says:

    What I would like to know is…

    If he’s being paid to review books but he’s not reading the books, what’s he doing instead of his job? Spending all his reviewer money on a whetstone so he can keep grinding his axes?

    I vote that Tess murder someone in one of her books for perpetrating a similar fraud. Maybe a medical examiner (but surely not OUR medical examiner) falsifying autopsies? LOL

    Review this, scumbag!

    Sweetly and demurely yours in Indianapolis…

  8. GerritsenFever10
    GerritsenFever10 says:

    Is that the UK cover of the ‘Club’? If so, that’s an interesting choice compared to the US release cover. Does the UK have something against certain covers, or is it just that you and your publisher decided on different covers for ‘x’ reason? I’m just curious, but all the luck to ya Dr. G!!! And yeah, I’ve seen that happen sometimes when people just THINK the novel (or whatever) will be bad because the author has a bad track record (in that person’s eye anyway) and will review the item and bash it and all without it even being released…sad sad people in this world. But have fun overseas! And have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

  9. GerritsenFever10
    GerritsenFever10 says:

    Yeah, well I mean, whatever floats your boat and all…I was just wondering why the cover changes just for an overseas release? It’s not a NEW book, afterall. I don’t know, it seems silly to me, but then again I’m not a world-renowned published bestselling author like yourself. Merry Christmas!

  10. Tess
    Tess says:

    it’s a completely different publisher in the UK. And they like to design their own covers. They make their decisions independent of my US publisher. Mephisto Club hasn’t come out there yet, so for the UK market, it is a brand new book.

  11. Daisy
    Daisy says:

    Heh. Reminds me of when I was the book reviewer for my college newspaper and one time, around finals week, I think, I didn’t have time to read anything, so I made up a book and wrote a review of it. Of course, I owned up about halfway, threw in some shout-outs to the copyeditors (who I figured were the only people reading it anyway) and ended with something like, “and now I’m going to bed”. So I guess maybe it wasn’t quite the same thing.

  12. GerritsenFever10
    GerritsenFever10 says:

    Oh well hell, that makes more sense now haha. I just figured you wanted to change it up a little or something, that’s good though. I’m actually getting The Mephisto Club for Christmas, so I’ve had to wait a while to read it, but you can bet I’ll be reading it ASAP soon after Christmas! Have a great holiday Dr. G!

  13. John
    John says:

    Merry Christmas Tess and to all you other contributors – feel like I’m getting to know you through all your notes and comments.
    re The Club, Tess – when’s it going on sale here in the UK and are you planning on coming over at all?
    With all best wishes everybody

  14. Tess
    Tess says:

    Merry Christmas everyone, and many thanks to all of you!

    Mephisto club goes on sale January 15 in the UK. And yes, I will be visiting there! Check my “author events” link and you’ll see which bookstores I’ll be visiting in the UK.

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