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

DRILLING THROUGH DISCOVERY now #9 Amazon Bestseller in Hoaxes & Deceptions Category

fullscreen capture 20190130 045617DRILLING THROUGH DISCOVERY is the most expensive of the 5 TWO FACE books, but at 259 pages, it’s also the longest. It was by far the most difficult to write simply because so much information had to be assimilated, filtered, transcribed and then analyzed.

Sometimes when you analyze information there’s nothing in it. There’s an aspect to that in Watts’ interview with the FBI. Large segments of monologue start to feel like circular hogwash that doesn’t get you or take you anywhere. It feels bland, even boring.

What made the fifth narrative so difficult was not simply rehashing everything we already know. Instead I wanted to look for new information hiding [or withheld] in the discovery. I wanted to see the negative space between the stars and dots of data and see if something was hiding there.


What was incredibly compelling, was approaching the FBI interview and the subsequent interrogation from the perspective of law enforcement. How much did they really know and how soon did they know it? What didn’t they know? How did they decide to deal with this guy? What was their strategy? When exactly did they decide to tell him what [or some of what] they really knew? How should they say what they needed to say to get him to start giving them something they could really use, instead of endless bullshit?

It was also weird how I initially regarded Agent Coder as the “bad cop” in the interrogation, and Agent Lee as the friendlier, more benign “good cop”. But as the interrogation goes on, Coder seems to soften, and Lee seems to harden. It’s amazing to follow and watch, and readers are recommended to click on the many links provided at crucial parts of the questioning process.


The other aspect that was difficult but very meaningful was putting the timeline pieces into place. This contextualized the puzzle and makes many things that are puzzling or strange, less odd. For example, Watts seems to be one of the dumbest criminals in high-profile true crime history. But a cursory look at the timeline reveals an obvious and understandable reason for why he made some elementary mistakes. 

It was also interesting to see where the research took the original theories, such as the contentions that the children were murdered first, and that Shan’ann was murdered earlier in the morning, not later.

It’s taken a long time, and it should, but after five narratives we’re only starting to figure out the enigma that is Chris Watts. What I didn’t expect was for a psychological symptom many of us are [or were] very familiar with to reappear in this story. It seems all this talk of narcissism has blinded us from something else all of us know all too well, not only about ourselves but each other.


  1. CBH

    BRAVO. Just got it on Amazon Kindle Unlimited and have already begun reading it; was forced to stop for the time being so I can get some work accomplished. Very intriguing. 👍🏼

    • nickvdl

      Thanks for reading CBH.

  2. KerryA

    I am halfway through the Rape of Cassandra and will be buying this new book shortly. After I am finished (and you are finished writing about this case), I will be moving on to the Van Breda murders. I recently returned to North America after living in Australia for several years and have read bits of these murders in the Australian press but can’t wait to read your books on this case!! I’m so glad to have discovered you as a new author to read 🙂

    • nickvdl

      Kerry you’ll probably notice more than a few similarities between Watts and Van Breda. Although Van Breda was younger, he was also trying to start his life and was interested in the opposite sex. While he wasn’t in a marriage cheating, there is a parallel aspect to that in the sense of a young man finding himself becoming the black sheep in a well-to-do family, so much so he perhaps felt he was about to be disinherited. So the murders were in part about claiming his life back – similar to what we see with Watts.

      • CelesteW

        Van breda murders took place close to where i used to live. I will never forget that morning on my way to work. Ambulance and police cars speeding pass me. Few hours later i heard about this heartbreaking murders. Would be
        interesting to read your books and input on that case.

        • nickvdl

          Van Breda is a lot like Watts in that the prosecutor, the court and the media couldn’t say why he did what he did.

          I seemed to touch a nerve with him in court. A few times when I photographed him with a long lens he glared at me. One of those photos I used as the cover for DIABLO.

          Also something you might find surprising, Van Breda bumped up against me in court after his first day of testimony and chirped something to me. I talk about that incident in the second book.

  3. nancyjames3358

    Nick, do you recommend reading your books in order, ie. first written to last?
    Thanks again for your work!

    • nickvdl

      Hi Nancy

      Yes, each narrative [not only in this series, but all series] is “built” on the previous narrative. So if you come in late, as it were, you might wonder how or why a particular theory came about. Each narrative also focuses on a separate area or psychological theme of the case.

      The first book may feel for some as if there’s nothing new there, but it was meant to be read four months ago. There are some ideas presented in the first book that I still need to address fully in terms of the Discovery Documents. Although we know a lot now, the cadaver dog narrative is still frustratingly uncertain. There’s no clarity for example on whether the dogs were ever allowed to sniff inside any of the vehicles, or at CERVI 319. You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

  4. Diana

    I will be getting #5 tonight! I’ve developed a new habit with your books Nick that I never had before. I’m finding that I’ve been going back to certain parts of your previous books you’ve written to clarify different aspects of this case, I’m never truly done reading one of your books. There’s so much information to sift through, but that’s a good thing! The hardest part for me when it comes to looking for who the REAL Chris and Shan’ann were is learning NOT to believe what I’m seeing in all the videos, photos and their written words, I just need to remember they both had different reasons at different times for presenting a false picture of their true lives. Can’t wait to start reading #5!

  5. Liz

    I finished reading this installation about thirty minutes ago. Looking forward to the next. How many books will there be?

    I still don’t understand why Chris is silent about what he did; I’ll have to go back and reread that part. He’s lost everything, there’s nothing else to lose at this point, except his life and choose death by suicide or cop which to me seems preferable to LWOP. Even at a trial though, I doubt he would have told the truth. Christian Longo told many lies about his wife at his trial. The only way Chris Watts might speak, and I doubt it then, if someone were to say the dilemma he has put N. Kessinger in and by speaking the truth, it would stop the circus that she was directly involved.

    • nickvdl

      At this point, 8 books.

      “I still don’t understand why Chris is silent about what he did.”

      It’s possible you’re reading my books way too fast otherwise you’d know the answer to this question.

      “He’s lost everything, there’s nothing else to lose at this point.”

      Not quite. By telling the truth there is more to lose. For you there’s nothing for him to lose, for him [and others he cares about] there is.

  6. marielangford3311

    Nick, I come from a time before all the new technology, I find this forum and the technique of your books fascinating!

  7. CBH

    Am nearly done with Drilling Through Discovery, having spent the past several hours unable to put it down. Very compelling, extremely powerful and evocative writing.

    Nick’s writing style is so psychologically probing. Really an advance for the True Crime genre. It reminds me of the “thought prints analysis” technique of Andrew G Hodges’s; but the thing is, Nick is so subtle and profound, whereas Hodges himself is so subject to mania.

    • Clean Queen

      I totally agree! Nick’s analysis really goes beyond what I’ve seen any other true crime author do. I often wonder how he does it. Laying everything out so concisely and coming at it from every angle. I also really appreciate an honest look at everyone involved in the crime. The victim isn’t automatically a saint, and the perpetrator isn’t 100% evil all of the time. Then again, that is reality, which is precisely what true crime should document. Nick is the only author that does this to such a remarkable and honest degree.

      • CBH

        Fully agree.

  8. mitzi2006

    Love the book so far, enjoying it the most in the series

  9. Lisa Simmons

    I am patiently waiting on book 6 in February because why try to protect Nichol Kessinger when she has not been that truthful.

    • CBH

      Is there actually a #6 due out in Feb about NK?

    • Nick

      If you’re expecting a book that is going to throw stones or demean or accuse Kessinger you are sorely mistaken. Like all the books in this series, we’re trying to understand these people not judge them.

    • Mustang Sally

      The only person in a position to judge Nichol and would be served by that awareness is Nichol, herself, as she has not been charged with any crime.

  10. Clean Queen

    Yes! Headed to Amazon right now to buy and read! Will probably have it finished in 48 hours or less. I can’t stop once I start!

    • Clean Queen

      Just purchased and…congrats, Nick! The book is now #1 in its category.

  11. Kaye

    I really enjoyed reading the psychological analysis of the interrogation and the points that you made about inversion. Very fascinating! I love how much someone’s choice of words can reveal once you break them down and look at them closely.

  12. nancyjames3358

    Nick, Will you consider tackling the authorities gaslighting us regarding Steven Paddock?

  13. nancyjames3358


  14. Eve

    I wondered the same yesterday when I noticed them talking to him like a child/dog: “you did a goood joob Chris, good boy! Good boy!” I wondered if that was intuitive because he’s so agreeable, or what the prep sessions were like. Were they like “this guy’s an idiot?” Or had they already done behavioral analysis? What I’m referring to is an interview on Tuesday, cause he was coming back the next day for polygraph (and also, forever.)

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