True Crime Analysis, Breakthroughs, Insights & Discussions Hosted by Bestselling Author Nick van der Leek


The latest review, posted yesterday [December 27th], is the 7th straight five star review for RAPE OF CASSANDRA. RAPE  OF CASSANDRA is currently a #1 Bestseller in the Trial Practice category on Amazon, and #18 in the Hoaxes & Deceptions category.

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One reason, I think, for the strong ratings, RAPE OF CASSANDRA is by far the most voluminous of the four books currently available in the series, and for that reason it’s also the most expensive.

While writing RAPE OF CASSANDRA the intention was  to cover essential narrative territory, including the status conference [when the plea deal was announced] and the sentencing hearing. The idea was not to drill into the discovery. I wanted to leave that for the fifth book in the series. In the end, I decided to do some analysis from the discovery dump, simply because the books are meant to be the most current narrative available when they come out, so to not refer to the discovery in some detail would be a failure to do due diligence.

Unfortunately, dealing with the discovery meant sacrificing a fair amount of trial coverage and analysis. Even so, the discovery is only glimpsed at in RAPE OF CASSANDRA. The fifth narrative focuses entirely on the discovery; analyzing, filtering and organizing the information in an effort to make sense of it. That analysis goes way beyond the superlight coverage here on CrimeRocket.

RAPE OF CASSANDRA’s high rating isn’t bad, especially considering the string of poor reviews for the first book that have been coming through of late.

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Many of the complaints about the first book are from folks who are only coming into the narrative now. The complaint is that there’s nothing new in the first book. Personally, I don’t think that’s true, especially the narrative around the dogs which even the Discovery Documents don’t deal with in detail, and much of the information around the dogs is muddled and unclear.

When the first TWO FACE was published on September 10th, the information and the chronology was brand new. The power of the first narrative – in my view at any rate – lies in its prescience. The crime scene and execution of the crime was intuited and three books later, many of those original intuitions still appear to hold water. So the complaint that the first book was written “too early” misses the point – it was intended to be written early for two reasons:

1. To meet the demand of regular Rocket Science [originally #Shakedown] readers who have come to expect and rely on rapid delivery of true crime narratives.

2. To test and challenge my ability to fathom a brand new case while being mostly in the dark about many, if not most aspects of the crime, crime scene and characters involved.

So, to be fair, the first narrative ought to be evaluated within those parameters.

It should also be mentioned that in order to enjoy these books, to get the most out of them and the series as a whole, it’s important to catch the narratives as soon as possible after they come out. Besides being the first narratives to bite at the various cherries in this case, many of the links referred to work early on, but over time are sometimes removed by the original source. That is one reason why CrimeRocket exists. It serves as an archive of content – including photos – for the narratives to refer to, without the risk of them being removed months or years later.

Coming in January…



  1. Karen

    I just think that when people leave bad, or less than good reviews for these books that they are just closed minded people and either can’t or don’t want to see further than their own train of thoughts.

    • nickvdl

      Have you noticed C.T.B has left a 1 star review for virtually every Two Face book, both on and Posted this comment on Shakedown:

      Also attempted to post comments on this site, especially around reviews. The comments are about the authenticity of the reviews. Was it a “verified purchase” or not? How many of C.T.B. reviews are verified, and the avatar changes from time time to throw people off.

      C.T.B seem to be big time in the corner of Amanda Knox, and this seems to be the reason for the negative reviews.

      Each review is also calculated to undermine the narrative, using the most popular criticism. So in this case the books are about victim blaming, poor research and spelling mistakes.

      • Kathleen Hewtson

        Hello again, heck I can’t believe you didn’t get death threat reviews on Knox, she has strong adherents, poor Meredith not so much, I loved the book and heard from someone close to the case that you nailed it, now how the Mccans rabid fans haven’t gone mad and sued you and then accused you of being the kidnapper ( their standard modus) is a mystery, are you putting something in their water? The best reveiw I ever got and to my sorrow Amazon removed it was that the author must kill herself and this book made me burn my kindle, do you have any greatest hits? Why don’t you go on Dr. Phil, it would be so much fun on either Mcann or Knox, you,d kill it, oops sorry poor choice of words, maybe I have Tourette’s. Anyway more please 🙂

  2. Karen

    After reading all of those reviews from C.T.B. I think it’s personal

    • amandagildenhar

      I think so too; it’s personal, obsessive and very creepy

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