Thursday, 3 July 2014

Is Jeremy Duns lying about his book?

The excellent Jeremy Duns - AKA The Witchfinder blog has a fascinating nugget of information about Duns. You can read it here.

It seems he has been boasting and implying his book won an award from the Daily Telegraph.

In fact, it did no such thing.

Given how much time Duns has devoted to attacking other writers for self-promotion, often without any evidence, this is a shocking allegation.

Duns needs to give a full and honest account of his actions, and if necessary an apology. And he needs to do so right away.


  1. No, I'm not lying about it. I've never called it an award. I've said on my website and elsewhere that Free Agent was one of the Daily Telegraph's 'Thrillers of the year' in 2009, and it very clearly was! It was the title of the piece:

    Did it have the seal of approval of the Daily Telegraph? Yes, it was published in the Daily Telegraph. Every year, the paper (like others) rounds up its best books of the year, and it has its contributors pick their selection from each genre, eg poetry, history, crime, science fiction, thrillers. Was it a personal selection? Of course it was. What on earth else could book reviews be other than that? The Daily Telegraph is not a living thing, but made up of its contributors, and the editors commission its experts in each field to contribute to the annual summing up, as all papers do.

    I suspect the article you link to was written by Stephen Leather, as he has on a couple of occasions refused to respond when I have asked him directly if he were responsible for setting up any websites about me. But despiute his own background in the genre and as a journalist he is wrong on this, and his research is very poor. Some of the thrillers he mentions as mysteriously not being included in the Telegraph's 2009 selection of 'Thrillers of the year' were published in the UK in 2008, so not eligible for the 2009 list, eg Child 44, The Dark Tide and Hold Tight, and several of them are crime novels - a separate genre in the Telegraph.

    The latter is a rather basic mistake to make. 'But it is also generally known that the Daily Telegraph’s Crime Reviewer is Jake Kerridge. If anyone was going to supply a list if Daily Telegraph-approved thrillers it would be Jake Kerridge.' This is just wrong. Yes, Jake Kerridge is indeed well known as The Daily Telegraph's *crime reviewer*. For that reason he was the person best-suited to supply a list, not of 'Daily Telegraph-approved thrillers' (which contradicts the earlier point that this was not such a list) but rather a selection of crime novels of the year, which he did:

    The Telegraph splits crime and thrillers. And I write the latter. In 2009, Jeremy Jehu was the Telegraph's thriller reviewer, so he selected the thrillers of the year. Pretty basic! The Telegraph also selected Free Agent earlier in the year as part of its supplement '50 Summer Reads'. As with all such things, it was also compiled by several of its writers.

    'A Google search shows that the only references to a 2009 Daily Telegraph Thriller Of The Year are those made by Jeremy Duns.' It would seem that Mr Leather's Google skills aren't great. This is from Matt Hilton's website:

    'His debut novel - Dead Men's Dust - reached Number 11 in the Sunday Times bestseller list, and was named as one of the 'Thrillers of the Year 2009' by the Daily Telegraph.'


    To sum up: in 2009, the Daily Telegraph rounded up its thrillers of the years in a piece titled 'Thrillers of the year', which was written by its thriller reviewer, and my novel was one of the books selected. This is all very clear. There's been no dishonesty on my part, and it's checkable with about two minutes of research.

  2. Oh, and one of the books Leather lists as being strangely, mysteriously absent from the 'Thrillers of the year' selection - The Complaints by Ian Rankin - was in the crime books of the year selected by Jake Kerridge. Oops.

  3. I feel I should point out that the reason I never respond to questions/accusations from Duns is that it only encourages him. He loves to engage with people so he's best ignored. Very early on when Duns started having a go at me a very good friend said that wrestling with pigs was never a good idea because you only get dirty and the pig enjoys it. And Duns does love to make unproven allegations about people, doesn't he? It seems like only yesterday he was accusing Gerald Killoran of being behind this blog. Did he ever apologise for that?

  4. I did apologise for it, Stephen, as I suspect you well know, on Twitter and to Gerard privately. But Gerard Killoran has also apologised to me for deliberately smearing me online with the same allegations, albeit in a different place.

    I note that you say you never respond to me *while responding to me*! Perhaps as you have deigned to, you can just clear up two quick things:

    1. Have you ever made racist comments online using the alias 'Joe King'?
    2. Have you ever set up any websites about me?

    Thanks for your time.

  5. Duns can twist and wriggle all he likes. A lie is still a lie and this one has been exposed. What he did was disgusting and dishonest.