Thursday, November 30, 2017
True crime maestro Nick van der Leek sat in on Henri van Breda’s testimony-in-chief on Halloween 2017, as well as the state’s multi-day cross-examination. By sitting at arm’s length from the accused and the state prosecutor, Van der Leek absorbs a smorgasbord of direct, first-hand hand insights beyond the range of the livefeed cameras.
Who is the strange young man at the centre of this trial, accused of murdering his own flesh and blood with an axe? Van der Leek performs another meticulous analysis, this time casting an intuitive net over the accused’s marathon testimony. He deals with the young Van Breda recounting that terrible January night in 2015, distilling all the key micro expressions, idiosyncrasies and crucial body language the 23-year-old heir leaks while on the stand.
Van der Leek lays these out in scrupulous detail, showing where blocks of time don’t fit or are added, seemingly ex post facto. Besides a number of critical contradictions, the author also highlights a fascinating key “tell” in the accused’s court room poker game of poker. Are there any instances of duping delight?
The author’s deep dive cross-references the police statement to the plea explanation to Van Breda’s testimony. It plumbs even greater detail than the state prosecutor, but ultimately reinforces many of Susan Galloway’s original arguments.
“A serious problem with Henri’s version of events, both in terms of the police statement and his – far more vague – plea explanation, is that the timeline doesn’t seem to add up.” In the end, Van der Leek’s experience in the court room provides a chilling and at times, terrifying analysis.
“If Henri didn’t love his family then he hated and murdered them. And it’s Henri who gives us this most macabre detail of all, a detail he didn’t need to give, but gives us anyway: that whoever butchered his family, did so while laughing…”
“If one entertains the worst case scenario in this terrible story, the question becomes: what primary driving force could there possibly be to hate one’s own flesh and blood, enough to want to dispatch each in turn with an axe, and then revel in their suffering afterwards?”
They say God is in the details, but what about the Devil?
Diablo is available exclusively on Amazon Kindle.
Sunday, October 1, 2017
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
My 13th artist profile in the ongoing Country Life series is on the controversial British Artist Edward Roworth
My 13th artist profile in the ongoing @sacountrylife series is on the controversial British Artist #edwardroworth. He was a huge giant of a man based in Cape Town who shaped South Africa's #art. But some didn't enjoy the sort of impact he had... 8 page story on the shelves now at mainstream retailers. #amwriting #photojournalism
A post shared by Nick van der Leek (@nickvdleek) on
Thursday, August 3, 2017
Monday, July 10, 2017
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Saturday, April 29, 2017
Friday, April 7, 2017
Sunday, March 5, 2017
Thursday, February 9, 2017
A magnificent work here on the third and final installation of the immensely popular series of narratives,The Craven Silence. I've read Van der Leek and Wilson's work now for several years, and appreciate each and every effort, but for those who haven't, I think the first thing you might notice is just how intelligent they are. This is a boon for obvious reasons, but perhaps the most beneficial asset as regards a quick mind and this case, is the ability to quickly separate at least some of what's relevant, from what isn't. This is invaluable in a case fraught with a voluminous amount of clutter, any number of rabbit holes one could foolishly scurry down at any turn, and one that presents with existing opposing theories. This is no easy feat, but tackle the job though they do, they do it brilliantly, and with aplomb.
A trademark of their work, is the effort they put into research, and in my personal experience in reading other books on the Jon Benét case, this effort sets them apart from others.
This brings me to the second point a new reader will readily notice and appreciate, which is their work ethic and determination. They provide supporting documentation to accompany any and all of their reasoning at each step along the way, dots are connected, and the end result is a theory of this case that finally has legs.
Turns out, this case wasn't nearly as complicated as it initially seemed, but just needed the help of a couple of independent thinkers to apply a healthy degree of discernment, and in some cases, skepticism, to the existing facts of the case, and then present it all in a cohesive manner to the reader. Van der Leek and Wilson have certainly done that.
They can also write. This is a gift that truly can't be underestimated in any genre, but is especially the case in true crime, where good writing is sometimes lacking. With their objectivity, reliance on existing facts and new ones they've most certainly established, these two, Van der Leek and Wilson, could have made darn good detectives should they have chosen the profession. As luck would have it, though, they didn't, and readers everywhere can raise a glass to that.