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

Tag: Drilling Through Discovery


Thus far the 6th book DRILLING IN DISCOVERY is the best reviewed book in the series. Thank you to one and all for your support and feedback! Each positive/constructive review is a huge shot in the arm while I continue to work on the next narrative.

I enjoy statement analysis, and the Discovery Documents are a treasure trove to pick through in search of rough diamonds. The fact that we also have bodycam footage in this case, and so much of it, means we can cross reference so much and find our way to brand new information.

It was fascinating while working on the interrogation aspect, figuring out not only how Chris Watts thinks, but how – via Coder – to talk to him.

Now, on to the latest reviews.

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My readers often provide feedback like the reviewer – Rebecca – above that they read a book that took hundreds of hours and several weeks to research and write in one sitting, or in one or two hours. While that’s a compliment perhaps in terms of the compulsive readability of the work, it also means the reader didn’t spend much time referring to the dozens [if not hundreds] of links painstakingly inserted in the narrative. These are an optional extra, of course. They aren’t essential to the narrative but many links, especially in the interrogation, are important to refer to in order to get a really three-dimensional audio-visual-psychological feel for what’s being described.

After reading the book in two hours, and perhaps scrolling liberally through the more congested areas [understandably, if very familiar with the discovery some paragraphs might feel superfluous], the reader then impatiently waits for 2-3 weeks for the next installment.

I do want to encourage  readers like Rebecca to pace yourselves, and to spend at least a week reading these books.  If you’re reading vast tracts of narrative in one go, a good place to stop and take a breather is at the end of a section.

The more time you spend on each narrative, the more seamlessly the next one will integrate and follow-on, and the information and insights will still be fresh in your mind. Overall it will make the series a more flowing and fulfilling read.

Hope that helps!

Two Recent Reviews of DRILLING THROUGH DISCOVERY by British Readers

I try to be balanced when blowing my own trumpet with book reviews, by also providing a poor review, and dealing with the criticisms. This time I’m not going to do that. I do find it strange how the reviews differ in that some [a minority] accuse the writing of being “badly researched”, while others refer to it as “superb journalism”. So which is it?

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It is important to note that, as “Liverbird” points out, one should read the books in the order they are written. The theories presented in the later books are “built” in the first narrative, and tested, developed and improved upon as more and more information is analyzed, integrated and the overall case understood.

More reviews from British readers for the first four books in the series, provided here in reverse order. RAPE OF CASSANDRA is the 4th book in the series.

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Below is a review, also from “Liverbird”, on TWO POLLYANNAS, the 3rd book in the series.

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British review for the 2nd book BENEATH THE OIL.

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I sincerely appreciate the reviewer “madbmad” for pointing out how accurate the first book was [published in mid-September] even though the book was only read in February. It’s easy to forget what we didn’t know prior to the discovery document dump in November. THE MAN UNDERNEATH CHRISTOPHER WATTS referred to the “other Chris” and a “second Chris” two full months before FBI agent Grahm Coder’s interrogation was made public, where he put it to the suspect that there were “two Chrises”.

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More: The Tale of Two Chrises

For American readers, follow this link to read samples or purchase the TWO FACE series from



This book was just so incredibly well done! To anyone that is interested in this case, this is vital reading. It walks you through the interrogation from many different perspectives. I found myself, as I tend to do with Nick’s books, reflecting on this case and gaining incredible new insight into what, when, where, how, and most importantly, why. If there are questions as to why this book isn’t released in hardcopy form, it really isn’t meant to be. The links provided by the author, (peppered through the book) when clicked on, invoke stronger understanding. Nick has such a brilliant mind and was born to do this! I’m ready to go back and start reading the other books in the series for the second time. I just can’t get enough! I’m hooked!


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.

QUIZ: Want to Win Book 5 in the TWO FACE Series? See how many of these 10 Questions you can Answer Correctly

The fifth book in the TWO FACE series is the most voluminous and in-depth yet. With each successive narrative we not only get to know all the characters and players more thoroughly, we’re also able to sketch and color the context of the crime in increasingly vivid detail.

5 months after the murders, and despite unrelenting and focused research, we’re still in the process of getting to know the criminal psychology of Watts himself. Although our understanding is definitely more intimate today than it was before Christmas, to feel our way to the real people, real motives and real circumstances of this unique case has clearly taken time and effort, and though we’ve made substantial progress, we’re not quite there yet.

True crime research is strange. With more information new questions and possibilities arise. Inevitably the basic arc of what we know [and the why] shifts perceptibly forward, but frustratingly, some simple answers remain frustratingly out of reach.

Please note if you wish to stand in the running to win the 5th book please begin your comment with: #Kindle. If you have never read a Kindle book, don’t have an Amazon account or don’t know how to download or read a book on Kindle, please don’t use #Kindle in your comment because you won’t be able to claim/download/read the book.

For more on this read “Why are your books only available on Kindle – and how do I get one?”

Some of the questions asked and answered [and in some exceptional cases not answered] in DRILLING FOR DISCOVERY include the following:

1. Why did Nickole Atkinson go to 2825 Saratoga Trail in the first place on Monday morning? There are two reasons to this answer, one of them obvious, but the other is not very well known.

2. What shoes did Shan’ann Watts wear on the airplane? Motivate your answer.

3. Name three locations for the girls’ shoes that appeared out of place on August 13.

4. When was the first time Watts was asked whether he [or Shan’ann] was having an affair, and who asked him?

5. When did law enforcement become aware that Watts was likely having an affair with a co-worker?

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6.  When did Nichol Kessinger speak to the cops for the first time?

7. Who found Shan’ann’s purse, when and where was it?

8. The colored object on the left hand side in the drawer beside the bed in the master bedroom, is it a kid’s toy or anal beads?

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9. When Watts was asked to suggest various ways of making someone disappear, which answer tied in directly with the way/circumstances surrounding how this crime was committed?

10. The District Attorney believes the children were smothered. Were they? Did Chris Watts confess to smothering his children?

The degree of difficulty for these questions is tougher than for the last quiz. The winner will be selected on Sunday 27. Only one comment per user is allowed.

TWO FACE DRILLING THROUGH DISCOVERY will be available before the end of January.