The Los Angeles Times's Scott Timberg reports on a hoax in which con artists posing as authors are trying to bilk indie bookstore owners out of some Western Union cash.
This tale is typical: Slattery was heading out of the store, not long ago, to see a movie down the street when a staffer handed her the phone. The caller addressed her like an old friend: "Oh -- thank God I got you before you left," he began.
The call came from someone who said he was the Los Angeles blogger and first novelist Mark Sarvas, who was reading at the store in a few days and seemed to be in a pinch. His car had been impounded, he needed money to get it back and he needed it right away.
"I thought, 'Why isn't he calling his wife?' " recalled Slattery. "But maybe he can't reach anybody, maybe he had an extra drink. . . . It never occurred to me that it wasn't him.
Actually, Mrs. TEV learned to stop taking our calls long ago ...