Independent press Urbane Publishers has pulled "experienced criminal profiler” Paul Harrison’s true crime book from sale, after his claims to have interviewed serial killers such as Ted Bundy and Peter Sutcliffe were questioned.
Described as “the master of the true crime genre” by Martina Cole, Harrison has written more than 30 books mostly about true crime, including his latest, Mind Games, published by Urbane in October 2018. He had claimed to have worked for the police for 30 years as well as working with the FBI’s Behavioural Science Unit in Quantico, Virginia and interviewing various serial killers such as Ted Bundy and Peter Sutcliffe. His author profile page has now been removed from Urbane's website.
Mind Games promised “exclusive interviews with Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, Kenneth Harrison, Henry Lee Lucas, Aileen Wuornos, Ted Bundy, Carl Watts, Donald 'Pee Wee' Gaskins, Donald Neilson, Kenneth McDuff, Jeffrey Dahmer, Joe 'The Cannibal' Metheney”.
Seven former FBI agents who were at Quantico when Harrison claims to have worked there denied knowing who he was or that he would have interviewed Bundy and Gacy, according to the Guardian. Northants police confirmed Harrison had left the force in 1999, after working as an officer in Kettering, according to the newspaper.
In an online statement Urbane, an independent publisher of crime, thriller, women's and literary fiction, and trade business books, said the press is "very concerned by these revelations". On Twitter, Urbane added: “We're shocked and currently trying to get further clarification.” The Bookseller has contacted the publisher for comment.
“You may have seen the article on the Sun website (12th July) calling into question the veracity of Paul Harrison’s claim to be an experienced criminal profiler. Like everyone who worked with Paul Harrison, the attendees to his talks and the readers of his books, we are very concerned by these revelations and are currently seeking clarification before deciding what further action to take," said Urbane. "However, with immediate effect we will be withdrawing Mind Games from sale and endeavouring to remove all stock and details from every relevant retail channel. We will also be donating any profits we have secured thus far from the sales of Mind Games to charities that help and support victims of violent crime.”
Mind Games has sold 523 print copies in the UK. Only 14 of Harrison’s books have recorded sales through BookScan for 27,000 copies (£166,000). The book is now listed as “temporarily out of stock” on Amazon.co.uk and the Doncaster-based author’s website is no longer active.
In a now deleted Facebook post published by the Guardian, Harrison said: “This monster is no longer mine, nor is it what I wanted it to be. I saw it as a tool to give victims a voice, everywhere, but because I’m weak and vulnerable and utterly useless at decision making I was introduced into sensationalising events by promoters who often sent out misleading blurb. Something I had to live up to. I’ve decided to call it a day for now. No more shows or interaction on social media … It seems I’ve let everyone down, I’m sorry for that.”
Sales of true crime have started recover after a few years in the doldrums with sales of £5.7m in 2018, 11.8% up over 2017 and the best result for the category in eight years, according to Nielsen BookScan. However, it is still down from true crime’s peak of the 2000s when it would regularly shift between £9m and £11m per year (2008 is the record year at £11.2m).