Attention, sleuths: Can you spot the smoking gun in these Amazon.com reviews?
The spoilers are listed below...
1. All the reviews are posted by the same person.
2. All the reviews are dated "June 28, 2005".
3. All the reviews but one recommend the book "Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate" by Kenneth Che-Tew Eng.
4. The only negative review in the bunch is for my novel DARC AGES (2000), and doesn't refer to "Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate".
5. A mysterious spammer has spammed message boards and Amazon.com with plugs for "Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate" during much of 2005.
Now, who could the "mystery reviewer" behind the pseudonym be...?
Honestly, I'm not mad. This is funny. But strange.
UPDATE: I asked the publisher of "Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate" to look into this, and he denied all knowledge of who's behind the spamming. I also received a strange email from someone who pretended to be from the publisher, and asked for my phone number. The publisher also refused to assume responsibility for that request.
Curioser and curioser...
UPDATE(2): The always eminent Cheryl Morgan comments on the exact same "reviews" in her blog, Emerald City. (Link dead)
UPDATE(3): Hugo-winning SF fan/author Dave Langford comments humorously on the exact same "reviews" in ANSIBLE #221 (December 2005).
(My first mention in ANSIBLE! Thanks, Mystery Reviewer! :))
UPDATE(4): The actual text of DRAGONS: LEXICON TRIUMVIRATE is dissected on the AntiShurtugal messageboard. Jaws drop and eyes widen at passages like "It cut through the air, grazing the ground as it reeled, and hitting his book."