We have a new plagiarism case and this time it’s not a politician but a thriller author named Q.R. Markham whose debut novel Assassin of Secrets was found to be so heavily plagiarized that the publisher withdrew it from sale.
Edward Champion at Reluctant Habits has a side by side comparison and it looks bad. The comments are interesting, too. They include a further example provided by the son of John Gardner whose father was one of the authors whose work Markham plagiarized. The by now depressingly familiar postmodern remixing argument also makes an appearance.
The editorial reviews quoted at Amazon, where the book is still listed but no longer available, are priceless as well.
Publishers Weekly not only gave the book a starred review (so did “We hate everything” Kirkus), they also wrote:
“Quirky, entertaining … fine writing keeps the enterprise firmly on track, and the obvious Ian Fleming influence just adds to the appeal.”
The obvious Ian Fleming influence is likely due to the fact that Markham copied him. After all, he plagiarized John Gardner’s Bond continuations, so why not Fleming, too?
And Greg Rucka, whose spy comic Queen and Country I liked quite a bit years ago, gave Assassin of Secrets this glowing blurb:
“In Jonathan Chase, Markham has created the perfect cliche-shattering super spy while honoring the progenitors. Dangerously sharp, and genuinely fun–and very, very, very smart. I want more books like this. I want more books from the mind of Mr. Markham!”
Markham’s hero is so cliche-shattering that there is nothing whatsoever original about him and he honours his progenitors by stealing their words.
And I definitely don’t want more books from the mind of Mr Markham. Not unless he actually starts writing them himself.
For that matter, what sort of stupid title is Assassin of Secrets? Is it a novel about an assassin who assassinates secrets? And if so, why did this assassin of secrets fail to assassinate the secret that the author had plagiarized from other thriller and spy fiction writers?