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Quentin Rowan and The Assassin of Secrets

Photo by Rachel Day

“Little, Brown & Company has pulled a mystery novel from the shelves after passages in the book were found to have been plagiarized from “a variety of classic and contemporary spy novels,” the publisher said on Tuesday. The book, “Assassin of Secrets,” a debut novel by Q. R. Markham, was released last week by Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown.” — JULIE BOSMAN, NYT, 11/8

“The publisher has not disclosed how the plagiarism came to light, but Edward Champion of the cultural website Reluctant Habits published side by side comparisons of 10 paragraphs from “Assassin” that bore close resemblance to the work of writers James BamfordCharles McCarryRaymond Benson and Geoffrey O’Brien.

“And that’s only through page 17,” Champion wrote. — SHERRYL CONNELLY, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 11/9

The damning evidence, assembled by Ed Champion

The Debrief, Jeremy Duns

Secret Dead Blog

WHAT WAS HE THINKING has been crashing through the cave of my skull *all day,* man. The man, Rowan/Markham, should be put on suicide watch. Can you you imagine his very real Hell at this moment, this very moment, a week after the major US release of his book, the DAY of the UK release, the shit storm all over the internet, his fucking face EVERYWHERE—he is in Hell! A Hell he himself made keystroke by keystroke! With every word of every lie! This is epic. Biblical. The poor fucking… idiot.

— moi, in passionate commenting



3 replies on “Quentin Rowan and The Assassin of Secrets”

Poor Jeremy. Unless he had read the plagiarized works recently or repeatedly, there is no way he could have been expected to recognize the purloined passages. That’s obviously what Rowan was counting on, although he was clearly deranged to think that nobody would ever stumble on the truth. I imagine the only way one might have been tipped off would be either to sense a certain inconsistency of style, due to the many “voices” Rowan stole, or to deduce that the writing was beyond the skill of a first-time author, since it was taken from the work of so many seasoned pros. At any rate, I sympathize with Jeremey’s unenviable position, applaud his admirable handling of it, agree with those who feel that putting together such a collage sounds like more work than just writing a damned novel in the first place, and hope Rowan is banned for life.

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