Publisher: No crime in ghostwriter for Garth McVicar

04:33, Mar 29 2011
BESTSELLER? Garth McVicar says he has read all of his book but not the finished product.
BESTSELLER? Garth McVicar says he has read all of his book but not the finished product.

The publishers of crime crusader Garth McVicar's new book are defending promoting him as its author although a ghostwriter was used and McVicar is yet to read the finished product.

McVicar, the head of victim advocacy group Sensible Sentencing Trust, was approached by Penguin to do the book, titled Justice, in 2009.

It was published this year under McVicar's name and is listed on the Penguin website with him as the "author".

The book is described as the story of how an "ordinary cocky from Hawke's Bay became a spokesperson for the victims of violent crime".

"Justice is [McVicar's] story told in Garth's straightforward no-nonsense style," the blurb reads.

However, the book was actually penned by writer Michael Larsen - whose name doesn't appear until the second title page - and McVicar is yet to read it right through.

"I haven't read the whole book but I've checked the facts, made sure that things are right," McVicar told student magazine Salient this week.

"But I understand it's a phenomenal read."

He later clarified to Stuff that he had read each chapter individually, but not the finished product.

"I have read it, but just not all at once," McVicar said.

Penguin Group general manager of marketing Sandra Lees said the procedure was "quite common".

"This is Garth's book, it's his words," Lees said.

She said the practice of using a ghostwriter, but leaving their name off the cover, was not misleading.

"We're certainly not hiding anything," she said.

Lees said it depended on the publisher as to whether the ghostwriter's name was on the cover or not.