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.

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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, 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 victim’s families, and in one instance I was asked to meet with families 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 regretaably 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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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


9 Days Before Chris Watts Lifetime Movie, Trio of Rzucek Lawyers Hold Press Conference

The Rzuceks want the public to stop talking about the Chris Watts case. 27 years after West Memphis 3, 25 years after the OJ Simpson case, 23 years after JonBenet Ramsey, 17 years after Laci Peterson, 15 years after Steven Avery, and 12 years after Casey Anthony – there’s a need that the Watts case receive special treatment. That no one report on it.

Less than two years after the Watts Family Murders the Rzuceks want the coverage of the case to…well…go away. They want people to move on.

I’ve said this before, Shan’ann Watts public profile on Facebook has provided ongoing fodder for the media and social media. If the Rzuceks really wanted coverage of the Watts case to go away, they could simply shut down Shan’ann’s Facebook, or else set the account to privacy. They haven’t. Instead, they seem to have taken over Shan’ann’s Thrive account.

One wonders whether these folks petitioning against freedom of speech [to think and express oneself freely] live in a fantasy bubble. If they wanted rumor control, they ought to have followed due process of the law and allowed this case to play out at trial. That wouldn’t have changed the interest in this case, but at least it would have carved certain undisputed facts in stone. It was always ill-advised for the victims’ family to give the perpetrator what he apparently wanted so easily – a plea deal – without making sure law enforcement knew exactly what happened. Almost two years later we still don’t, and that’s the problem. It’s this uncertainty that continues to feed the colossal hamster-wheel of public curiosity around this case.

But reading between the lines, the issue doesn’t feel as much about concerns over storytelling around this case, but the Greeley-based legal eagles being left out of the storytelling projects going on, and more pertinently, the money making. Isn’t that their job in the first place? Aren’t they there to collect any revenues made through Chris Watts as part of the civil suit settlement? Chris Watts has agreed to pay them $6 million, but that money can only be made if Chris Watts participates in a production, or a book, one way or the other, and he hasn’t done that. In Cherlyn Cadle’s case, Watts simply wrote letters to the author and left her to spin these into something.

The Rzuceks and their legal representatives need to actually produce something themselves if they wish to profit in some way, rather than focussing on either shutting other productions down or trying to piggyback or interfere with independent productions. If they have a story to tell, they should tell it. That’s the best way of influencing a narrative.

Like all high-profile cases, this one can’t be controlled but it can and should be more authentic than the storytelling circus its become.

TCRS Reviews Episode 3 Shocker of Killing of JonBenet Ramsey Podcast

Episode 3 is titled “A Father’s Anguish”, and bills itself as John Ramsey addressing inconsistencies in his own accoutns of Christmas Night and the day after Christmas. Except he doesn’t. There is no admission of inconsistencies, and no addressing of inconsistencies.

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That’s to be expected.

In reality episode 3 is a 39-minute moan by John Ramsey and his eldest son John Andrew, Burke’s older half-brother, about how inept and unfair the investigation was into them.

In effect it’s a follow-on to the previous episode which was just as misleadingly titled “The Case Against the Ramseys.” A more honest title would have been “The Witchhunt Against Us” with Episode 3 being Part 2 to that bitch and moan.

Despite the latest episode’s abundance of bullshit and bogus Apologia, episode 3 is chock-full of nuggets. It’s the best and most useful episode thus far thanks to plenty of freeflowing disclosures from the Ramsey patriarch and his eldest son. It’s easy to see how and why there’s a chip on someone’s shoulder here. John Andrew has one, where did he get it from? And if John Andrew has a chip on his shoulder, why wouldn’t Burke? In fact Judith Philipps, the family photographer described Burke in precisely those terms in the CBS documentary [yes, the one they tried to sue].

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The 39 minutes are literally littered with gems and small little revelations that seem incidental on the surface. When one knows the case back to front, however, it’s clear where to place these little titbits of information. And they’re not titbits as much as the final puzzlepieces missing from the already elaborate mosaic that is the Ramsey case.

In the TCRS Debunk series dealing with this episode, four separate aspects are interrogated in detail.

  1. John Ramsey
  2. John Andrew
  3. “DNA CASE”
  4. Bottomline Suspect

Listen to the TCRS Debunk of the Killing of JonBenet Podcast [episode 3] on Patreon.

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