Best-selling novelist admits to false brain cancer claims

A.J. Finn, whose real name is Dan Mallory, issued an apology, attributing mischaracterizations he made to a bipolar diagnosis.
3:36 | 02/07/19

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Transcript for Best-selling novelist admits to false brain cancer claims
We're back now with new fallout from that report about best-selling author, Dan Mallory. He is now admitting to lying about his past including a claim that he had brain cancer. Paula Faris is here with that story for us. Good morning, Paula. Reporter: It's all very stunning, those false claims also including he held two ph.d.s and his brother and mother are dead which they are not. Some call him a con artist. He claims it is mental illness. I'm aj Finn. Reporter: The animated and often enigmatic editor turned author behind 2018's number one "The New York Times" best-selling thriller, "The woman in the window," a debut novel that's currently being adapted into a film starring Amy Adams. I'm actually as Daniel Mallory a private person and disinclined to chat but as aj Finn I can talk about literally everything. Aj Finn does not shut up. Pretentious has that sounds it helps me organize myself. Reporter: His real name is Dan Mallory and he is being compared to a real-life talented Mr. Ripley, the con artist character made famous by Matt Damon who creates a new life through lies and impersonation. It's Tom. Tom Ripley. Tom Ripley. Reporter: The author is now speaking out after a new Yorker article which uses named and unnamed sources accusing him of systemically lying to industry colleagues and superiors saying the author claimed among other alleged falsehoods to have brain cancer and cancer-related surgeries as well as claiming that his mother and brother were dead and they are not. One unnamed co-worker tells the magazine that Mallory's gasp lighting, lying and manipulation at the workplace was cruel. When I was 21 years old going way, way back now, I was -- well, but thank you. I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression and for the next 15 years, I resorted to every treatment imaginable. Reporter: Mallory who has been open about suffering from mental illness in the past now attributes these mischaracterry sayings to a bipolar II diagnosis issuing an apology telling ABC news in a statement that in my distress I did or said or believed things I would never ordinarily say or do or believe, things of which in many instances I have versus no recollection. Adding that on numerous occasions in the past I have stated, implied or allowed others to believe that I was afflicted with a physical malady instead of a psychological one, cancer specifically. I was utterly terrified of what people would think of me if they knew that they'd conclude that I was defective in a way that I should be able to correct or worse still that they wouldn't believe me. His story is so bizarre. Mallory's rep wants it to be known his work is fiction. None was fabricated and this "New Yorker" article is told pre-2015 before he was being treated for mental illness. The publisher is standing by him and the paperback version of "The woman in the window" released in March and if you have the time, 12,000 words, that article is fascinating. It is an incredible piece of investigative journalism showing a pattern year after year after year, lies on multiple fronts. It's really incredible. Doesn't take away. He is still a brilliant writer but fascinating. All right, thank you so much for that, Paula.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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