Today in weird: Recently, there’s been an outbreak of would-be hoaxers calling up California bookstores pretending to be authors who are booked for reading events — then hitting up the friendly booksellers for small amounts of cash. Petty crime or pomo art project? It’s hard to say! One recent caller pretended to be debut novelist and litblogger Mark Sarvas, whose new book is all about a dude who gets himself in sticky situations by spinning elaborate and unnecessary falsehoods. “So even though I think it’s a little weird that he’s asking me to help him get his car out of impound, I’m also thinking, ‘Well, it’s Saturday night, maybe he couldn’t reach anybody, and you know, I’m going to see him on Tuesday. . . .’ And he didn’t say anything about money for a really long time,” Skylight Books’ Kelly Slattery told the LAT. Slattery didn’t ultimately fall for the ruse.
Book Soup’s Tosh Berman, who dealt with a hoaxer pretending to be Nick Hornby, speculates that there’s a ‘gang’ on the loose that “has several members — one black man, one English guy, one woman — to make impersonation easier. ‘It’s like the Mod Squad or something.’” This is a dastardly gang indeed. Like booksellers don’t have enough problems!