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

Watch Out for this Troll Reviewer

True crime is about the search for truth and justice, right? Wrong, it’s very often also about people trying to feel justified. I’ve always found that weird. In true crime many of us are preoccupied with figuring out the lies, manipulations and deceits of criminals. Is it okay to behave this way when reviewing an analysis of these criminal cases?

In this first review from My Daddy is a Hero the reviewer CM is clearly impressed, but not so impressed that she can’t resist casting stones in the same review at another subpar author – me.

Fullscreen capture 20200117 130753

Apparently I have zero qualifications and have written 30 books on the Chris Watts case. Wrong on both counts. To date I’ve written 10 books on the Chris Watts case. In terms of qualifications, I studied law and psychology at university, I have a degree in Economics, and a postgraduate diploma in Brand Management.

I’ve also sat in on a number of high-profile criminal cases for several weeks at a time, I’ve met with victims’ families, and in one instance I was asked to meet with a victim’s family because they wanted answers they weren’t able to get from the media. I’m also often requested privately to investigate particular cases, most of which regrettably I have to turn down.

I’ve made a career as a professional photojournalist writing for dozens of mainstream magazines and other print media, including international publications, and I’ve written more than 90 books, 90% of which are very positively reviewed and often bestsellers.

Fullscreen capture 20200117 143239

Writing one book on a criminal case does convey expertise on that partciular case, like it or not. Writing a book, self-published or not, means one has a specialized expertise in a particular area. Writing 10 books on the Watts case conveys one with a level of general knowledge, background and insight that is way above the average, or even the insights of most acknowledged experts. Writing 90 books across multiple criminal cases does actually convey something way beyond mere expertise.

I also have a publishing contract with a US publisher so not all of my books are self-published. My work is often cited by reputable sources, I’ve been quoted and published in international media as well as by documentarians. All too often my research is not cited as a source by amateur creators but simply appropriated.

How about you – the reviewer? What are your qualifications?

In CM’s review, she refers to a blog [likely this one] but takes exception to rudeness on it. This seems to be the main gripe against the research in the books reviewed.

Fullscreen capture 20200117 130627

It is simply not accurate or true to state that my books, or work, have “zero basis in fact” when all my work is hyperlinked to sources, and facts. My work is highly factual and filled with references, statistics and matters of an evidentiary nature. So to claim there is “zero basis in fact” isn’t fair.

Fullscreen capture 20200117 130913

Fullscreen capture 20200117 130549Fullscreen capture 20200117 130642Fullscreen capture 20200117 130658Fullscreen capture 20200117 130816Fullscreen capture 20200117 130902

Fullscreen capture 20200117 135038

Fullscreen capture 20200118 105910Fullscreen capture 20200118 105852

Fullscreen capture 20200118 111558

Most people with any common sense when they read one book they don’t enjoy, they stop there. It takes a special kind of reviewer to keep reading books they hate – and reviewing them. Would you describe the above reviews as rudeness?

The next time you read a TCRS book, bear in mind your reviews matter because they need to stand against this sort of thing, and CM isn’t the only troll reviewer out there. CT Brown left 21 troll reviews at last count, and Zarla left 10.

Fullscreen capture 20200117 144252.bmp

Visit the Nick van der Leek Author Page here.

CT Brown is at it again – this is a call to all genuine readers of true crime to report abuse on this troll reviewer



  1. Juliew

    That’s awful. It is trolling because if you read a book and didn’t like it you wouldn’t just keep buying more by the same author. I didn’t realise people did this and I for one will start to leave more reviews to help counteract. And the my daddy is a hero book, which I’ve just read, is not about the totality of the crime and all aspects of it, like your books are. It’s specifically about psychopathology and narcissism and whether they were present.

    • nickvdl

      Thanks Julie.
      I have absolutely no problem with qualified experts and professionals writing books, like Derhally. The Watts case needs more sound minds and fewer circus acts.
      If anything, the marketing they achieve for their work overflows into mine.
      Derhally’s actual insights, I believe, are down to a few chapters right at the end of the book. That’s really her contribution to this case. I suspect she came into this case thinking she had everything figured out, but when she got down to writing was a little less sure of herself. Just a hunch. I don’t agree with her assessment at all, but it’s good that there is another voice besides mine writing intelligently about the case.
      I don’t think Derhally is an expert on true crime, but she is an expert on psychology and that’s worth something. Her expertise on domestic abuse, in my view, is less helpful in this particular instance.
      It’s for the reader to decide whether psychology and criminal psychology are interchangeable, and that’s the difference between her book and mine. So far it seems most of her readers think the narcissism narrative explains everything, which says a lot about the average reader in the Chris Watts case.

    • nickvdl

      Julie would you be open to writing a Guest Post expressing your opinion on My Daddy is a Hero?

      • Juliew

        Yes I’d enjoy doing that. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

      • Gabrielle

        I remember being savaged on your YouTube channel for saying that I” thought CW was just an introvert”. I don’t think that a Post Graduate degree in Critical Literary Theory, regardless of three years of Behavioral Psychology, gives me permission to make Clinical Psychiatric Diagnosis. I am sorry Nick about CTs reviews but it says something about them to be “intrigued” by misogyny. I personally disagree with that perception. My brother is currently reading “Neverest” and as I said on YouTube I received a book voucher for my birthday and am waiting on a hard copy of “Revelations”. Then I will move on to the Madeline McCann series, as I enjoyed the YouTube exploration and debunking the Netflix documentary.

        • nickvdl

          I don’t think you need to be a psychologist to determine whether someone is an introvert or not. It’s common sense, isn’t it? Most people who knew Watts firsthand knew this about him. Shan’ann knew, his friends knew, he knew, his mistress knew, his co-workers knew, his parents, and parent in law knew. Everybody knew. It’s everybody else coming after the fact now who feel they need some “expert” diagnosis beyond that. The joke is the experts don’t know true crime, and they have no clue how Chris Watts’ criminal psychology works.

          • Gabrielle

            That’s exactly why I don’t buy into the “narcissist” label. I personally recognised the introvert in CW and often the rich interior life that goes with it, perhaps not for him but certainly for me.

          • Gabrielle

            One thing that propelled me to fill up the page in something of encouragement, I think about Swift, Johnathan Swift, living his life doing his thing and all the dunces,who’s names are forgotten. You can tell true genius, when all those around you are all in a conderacey against him. True genius is a monumental contribution to what has become a very mediocre conversation thus far. Thank you for starting one.

  2. Sylvester

    Yet C.T., C.M. and Zarla are all buying the books and “wasting THEIR time” reading the books and writing the reviews, right? That makes no sense. I’ve had issues with amazon book reviewing myself, for a few reasons. Anyone can pull up information showing everything a person has purchased that they have reviewed. What’s next – your interested list – things you would like to have or removed from your cart? That’s an invasion of privacy. Also some reviews sound like a rah rah cheer leading review – if I were a newcomer I would be a little suspicious that the reviews were merely penned by the fan club. There is also the idea that we, the internet public, are given too much power over a writer’s work, like gladiators in the ring – thumbs up you live – thumbs down you die. And sometimes there aren’t stars enough to express how much I liked a book or words enough to state how excellent certain books were that I just sit the review out. And have you ever written a review you wish you could take back? I also had a vendor find my email (apparently it’s not that hard to do) and send me an email asking that I reverse my review as they were a family-run business and my one review could put them out of business! At first I was shocked. Then, because I thought that could be true I did modify my review. As a reviewer there is a learning curve – if there is a defect in the product, send an email to the seller, don’t write a review; and take the time to write a helpful review, whether good or not so good. So the system of reviewing has to change at amazon in my opinion. And I do agree that simply going out of your way to write a bad snarky review is the act of a petty person who’s not trying to be helpful but to even some score, and using the amazon rating system to do it. Very sorry.

  3. JBosh

    Trolls are so weak. They don’t write… they troll. These are jealous, mean spirited people who couldn’t write a simple sentence if their lives depended upon it. I’m sorry people are so horrible.

  4. Sue Dickson

    I think anyone dissing any other creator just reveals themselves as not only jealous, but desperate for an audience, views and credibility. I personally make my own judgement and you’re by far the best albeit being sick of the JB Ramsay case. It’s not just about me though…..Your work is excellent and consistent! Thanks

    Get Outlook for Android


  5. anniesezso

    Nick, if it’s any consolation, there are many of us out here who know the reviews are mostly garbage. There are some written that are outstanding. They are the ones that actually critically review with examples from the book. These reviews seem similar to those posted by the shiners on your blog. Hit and run types.

    • nickvdl

      It is a consolation- thanks.

  6. Jenn H.

    These trolls are very rude and don’t make sense, because they keep reading the books they’re complaining about. Continuing to write ill-informed reviews, not just about the material, but it’s author. Which is specific, and insulting to say the least. None of it is true. Maybe these nasty people should be better informed on the author’s credentials, knowledge, and obvious, expertise, before writing a review. These trolls are an embarrassment.
    It’s in poor taste to waste one’s time leaving negative reviews. If they don’t like the books, why keep reading them?

  7. Janie

    These reviews wouldn’t be from a scorned ex girlfriend of yours would they? 😂 Kidding aside, I don’t get the anger and hate. You’re books are SUPPOSED to be different from the generic books typically written on crime. Accusing you of false facts when they couldn’t get their facts straight about your experience. I’ve in the past asked these type of people to name a couple of facts that weren’t true, and I never hear back. Hmmm..🤔 I didn’t know gracefulness was a component of true crime writing.

  8. Kari Johansson

    I am so sorry this is happening to you.
    Attacking both your work and character anonymously is plain cowardly.

    Small minds cannot comprehend a great analytical mind searching for the truth. A great mind must try to weather the defamation. Know that when they put you down Nick, it’s not about you — it is always about themselves and their own jealousy and insecurity. (and insignificance)

    Personally, I think you have possibly ‘run into’ this person(s) in real life as it has been going on for so many years.

    Never doubt that you are growing a legion of fans that truly appreciate your character and intellect.

    • nickvdl

      Thanks Kari. No, it may be someone from the Reddit cesspool. This isn’t anyone I know personally, which is some consolation.

      Unfortunately the lesson I learn from this is to minimize future interaction with readers or comments. I can’t tell you how often it’s happened that everyone gets along great until they don’t agree, and then they go after my work to get a sense of justification or satisfaction. It’s the equivalent of me not agreeing with something, finding your employer, calling your boss and making sure your monthly pay is reduced. If that’s the case it’s simply not worth interacting with readers. Aside from the financial impact [and yesterday was the worst sales day in weeks], the psychological toll is that one’s writing mojo is assailed. It saps away one’s passion. It disturbs one’s peace of mind. I’m very prolific even when I’m feeling tired or burnt out, but it’s very hard to want to write when there is this kind of depressing and dishonest negativity going around that is so quickly and easily put in place, and one has virtually no recourse against it.

      One bad review – for the right reasons – is enough to ruin one’s day. Ten – out of spite – puts one into a creative hole and it seems the dirt keeps getting piled on. I need to be gearing up to start another book on Chris Watts – SILVER FOX WEDDED HUSBAND, WEDDED WIFE and try to bring it out as close to the Lifetime movie as I can. But this sort of thing sets one far back, which is I think the point of it.

  9. Sylvester

    Andy Warhol struggled with what people thought about him, and his art, until he finally said so what. You can see that these people time their comments for when you are riding high – with good solid reviews, from people who read and digested the material, and in some ways it spoke to them, they couldn’t put your book down, they devoured every link and footnote, they may even be comparing you to other crime writers and thinking wow, this is the most interesting true crime book I’ve ever read. These awful reviewers just want to sap your energy – don’t let them. Here’s a quote from Andy Warhol: “don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” Can’t wait until Silver Fox Wedded Husband, Wedded Wife. And Happy Birthday.

    • nickvdl

      Thanks Sylvester – that’s a great quote and pep talk 😉

    • JC

      “Don’t pay attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.” -Andy Warhol

      • Sylvester

        I’ve missed you JC, where have you been? Warhol was an enigma. Very few knew who he was. When he decided to publish his memoirs, his philosophy, and stories about his life he had ghostwriters, Bob Colacello being the primary one who sort of “channeled” who he was and the who others thought he was and wrote as if it were coming from Warhol. For someone who was extremely introverted – but loved to go out – for someone who did not like to be touched – but had lovers – for someone who would sit for hours and just observe people, he worked and worked and then worked some more, and was extremely successful and really became whatever people think Pop art is. He created a movement of commercial consumption as art in a world where hard-drinking, homophobic, abstract expressionists were the toast of the town. He spray painted his hair silver, he covered his Factory in silver, he debuted his silver helium balloons in galleries and museums, and was the original Silver Fox. He was there, yet he wasn’t there.

        • JC

          Always good to see you here Sylvester! New project in my life absolutely consumes me but I still drop in occasionally to read insightful new posts, and then your thoughtful comments – the comparison to Warhol is so apropos! Love the way you think and your ability to express it…

  10. Sylvester

    You’re welcome. I see her all of the time. She’s buying books though, don’t you have to buy the book or be identified as not having bought it? If you can ever find her tell her thank you for buying my books, sorry you don’t enjoy them, maybe you will like the next one.

  11. Gabrielle

    I remember being savaged on your YouTube channel for saying that I” thought CW was just an introvert”. I don’t think that a Post Graduate degree in Critical Literary Theory, regardless of three years of Behavioral Psychology, gives me permission to make Clinical Psychiatric Diagnosis. I am sorry Nick about CTs reviews but it says something about them to be “intrigued” by misogyny. I personally disagree with that perception. My brother is currently reading “Neverest” and as I said on YouTube I received a book voucher for my birthday and am waiting on a hard copy of “Revelations”. Then I will move on to the Madeline McCann series, as I enjoyed the YouTube exploration and debunking the Netflix documentary.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *