THERE WAS NOTHING special about a review written by a Gary O’Reilly, who loved the book The Mistress, by British actress Martine McCutcheon. “It was funny and moving in parts and well worth the time spent on it,” O’Reilly wrote, awarding the book five stars on Amazon’s British site. Over the years O’Reilly has written a few more reviews, all positive and all for books from the publishing company Pan Macmillan. In summer 2012, the Sunday Times reported that Jeremy Trevathan, head of Pan Macmillan’s adult division, admitted that he was O’Reilly.1

As we were working on this book, similarly alarming stories kept popping up. Here are three more: In 2012, David Streitfeld of the New York Times wrote about ...

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