A best-selling author who apparently likes lying about himself has admitted to a whopper: He never really had brain cancer, the BBC reports. Dan Mallory's admission came in response to a New Yorker profile about his many alleged fabrications. "I felt intensely ashamed of my psychological struggles—they were my scariest, most sensitive secret," says Mallory. The author of the suspense novel The Woman in the Window, published under the pseudonym AJ Finn, claims he "was utterly terrified of what people would think of me if they knew" and decided that "dissembling seemed the easier path." Like others with "severe bipolar II disorder," Mallory says he also suffered from "crushing depressions, delusional thoughts, morbid obsessions and memory problems."
Seems Mallory also lied about his mother dying of cancer (she's still alive), his brother killing himself (still alive) and his completing a PhD at Oxford University (not according to the school), per the Guardian. A former book editor, his reputation preceded him in the bidding war for Window; several publishers dropped out when they realized who AJ Finn really was, though he still got a two-book, $2 million deal. The New Yorker describes him as a charming, self-assured man with a thing for Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley novels—which are about a charming imposter who kills people. Publisher HarperCollins UK is still standing by him, and the film adaptation of Window starring Amy Adams and Gary Oldman is due out later in 2019. (A killer's ex-girlfriend says "he lied about everything.")