If you're in the publishing business, you understand there are good reviews and bad reviews. You learn to take the good with the bad, especially if you release a book with the controversial title Into The Blast - The True Story of D.B. Cooper.
Before the book was released at Amazon, we made a copy available on our website for a short time. It was about 85% complete, and later we did a few edits and turned it into a real book. Too cheap to actually BUY the book, a guy named Brent Butler downloaded the free PDF and then (dishonestly) went to the book's page at Amazon later (after the REAL book was released) and posted a review. The only problem was that he got some of the facts wrong and much of his review was based on those errors. We tried to respond to some of his points in a polite manner, and that's when we found out the true meaning of the word 'arrogance'. In addition, when other readers who reviewed the book gave it a better rating than he did, he accused them of being 'shill' (sockpuppet) reviews, which they were not.
Butler began posting up a series of comments to the review that became more and more personal. And believe it or not, he's a Top 1000 reviewer at Amazon and what Amazon calls a 'Vine Voice'. We finally deleted our own comments to cool him off, but this just made him more furious. He deleted his original review and posted up a worse one in revenge, adding more ugly comments.
The staff of Adventure Books finally sent a letter to Sebastian J. Gunningham, Amazon's Senior Vice-President of Seller Services, asking him to take a look.
Judge for yourself whether Brent Butler should be designated as the 'Worst Reviewer Ever at Amazon'.
We didn't ask that Butler’s review be removed. Everyone is entitled to an opinion and reviews can be good, bad, or indifferent. We only questioned how he became a Vine Voice at Amazon by saying things like this in comments:
‘Robert, you lied about lying to an 80 year old woman. You lied to the woman. You lied about deleting your own comments to the first review. Look up ethics in the dictionary. You are clueless about what that is .... son. And of course you are not my son. If you were I'd have tanned your behind for lies and laziness...’
Above: He became angry when we deleted our comments in an effort to defuse the situation.
‘I find his behavior in lying about deleting his own posts to be just unimaginably senseless and stupid...’
Above: There was no lying here. We told Butler that Gayla Prociv, the CEO of Adventure Books, had advised me to just remove all our comments in an effort to cool him off a bit. Then he REALLY got nasty, and moved on to another book, an edited version we did of 'Robinson Crusoe' for kids:
‘However, I would like to once again point out that as a proven liar, your assertions about these "teachers' praise" carry no weight. You might have some that did praise the trash, but since you choose to lie at your convenience, there is absolutely nothing you can now relate that can be trusted. Its the price a liar pays, and the course (curse?) you yourself chose...’
Above: Butler searched out our book for the Kindle, Robinson Crusoe – Special Redux Edition, and trashed it, then called us ‘his nemesis’ and said we were at ‘strike two’ with him. He later admitted that he hadn't actually READ the book, only the short preview Amazon Kindle makes available. His main complaint was that we edited the original manuscript by Daniel Defoe. He didn't realize there have been scores of versions published of the Crusoe story over the last 300 years. His 'teachers' praise' comment refers to teachers who emailed us saying they finally got kids to read Crusoe by using our version.
‘When you lie, you do that as a person. If I do not ignore your lies, but instead reveal them, you regard it as a personal attack. Had you not resorted to lies and other unethical and misleading tactics to sell your book in the first place, there would be nothing to point out...’
‘Name calling? ROFL If you did not lie, I would not have called you a liar. Simple statements of fact are not "Name Calling". Don't lie and write stupid things, and you won't put yourself in the position of being revealed as a liar and a dullard...’
Above: A witness for the book was told she had nothing to fear from prosecutors in the Cooper hijacking, since the statute of limitations had run out in 1976, with the exception of a John Doe warrant specifically directed at the hijacker only. We checked this with the Seattle FBI office, and it was correct. Only the actual hijacker can be prosecuted today. He called us liars multiple times on this one, even after we directed him to the warrant shown on the FBI's website.
‘Robert, I have nothing personal against you, other than that more you write, the more I become disgusted with your lack of ethics, your rude behavior, your complete lack of understanding of PR in an industry where it is an absolute requirement, and your sheer stupidity for lying ... and lying so ineptly...’
‘By the way, you're not going to get out of THIS one by simply deleting your comments. I'll be going back and quoting them ALL in my replies. Kinda gets the butterflies going, huh? ;-)...’
Above: Obvious baiting
‘Robert, grow a pair and take responsibility for you own poor products, rather than trying to demonize reviewers. Take responsibility for your lies. They are proven...’
‘I just have to wonder what kind of an unhealthy obsessive personality makes someone write a post like the one above. Sad...’
‘Robert, you LIED to an 80 year old woman. You admitted it in the book. You thought it was a clever interview tactic. It was a dispicable LIE. Self delusion does not lead to personal growth. You should stick to floor scrubbing. Certainly you should not be insinuating your moronic actions into other people's lives. Keep lying to yourself and leave poor elderly people alone...’
Above: Margaret Ann Geestman was a cooperative witness and we did not lie to her. Describing Margaret as a 'poor elderly woman' is less than accurate. In reality, she runs her own ranch near Twisp, Washington, and still enjoys driving draft horses. (2014 update: After the book came out and the Brad Meltzer's Decoded TV show aired on Christiansen, Mrs. Geestman sold her ranch to the State of Washington Game Department for $491,000 and instructed her lawyer and the bank officer who handled the sale to not reveal her present whereabouts. Mrs. Geestman was interviewed seven times and pointed to her ex-husband Bernie Geestman as an accomplice in the Cooper hijacking.)
‘Robert, I'll give you an out. If you wish, just admit to stupidity, and I'll give you a break on the lies...’
‘I decided to give the entire review a fresh start, so I deleted it and reposted. Robert had a chance at that point to "obey his wife", but evidently is not capable of obeying his wife either as spouse or "publisher". LOL Either that, or the excuse about why he deleted his first set of comments was yet another lie...’
Above: An extension of his anger when we deleted our comments, so he took down his review and wrote an even worse one in revenge. His 'spouse or publisher' comment refers to Adventure Books' Gayla Prociv.
‘Blevins would have been smarter to just let this alone. The review itself wasn't nearly as penetrating into the character of the authors and their penchant for lies as Blevins revealed in his comments under the review. I honestly don't think that Blevins understands his lies or general lack of integrity. He's just not smart enough...’
‘Christiansen does not in ANY WAY match ANY eyewitness description of the hijacker, plus the myriad other idiot conclusions your draw, many of which you backed up with actual lies and completely fabricated fantasy, as we have discussed. Moron...’
‘Blah, blah, blah. More lies from from this author who'd lie when the truth would serve better...’
‘Wow, Robert, it must suck for you that Lynn Doyle Cooper's picture is a virtually identical match to the police artist sketches of Dan Cooper, eh? ROFLMAO...’
Above: Butler added that last comment in December 2011, after the story on L.D. Cooper broke. It was just another effort on his part to bait us. At this point, we began to stand up to him regarding his comments at Amazon and made some of our own. He's still in denial, of course, and continues to toss in the occasional name when it suits him. 'Moron' and 'liar' are the most common.
We think Amazon could do better than Brent Butler as a Vine Voice. What do you think? It's an invitation-only privelege. As far as Butler himself, he continues to keep tabs on both his Blast review and his 'I-only-read-the-preview' review of Robinson Crusoe - Special Redux Edition. Who knows? He may decide to post up a REAL review of the Crusoe book someday. But then he should probably READ it first.
In a more recent development, Amazon finally deleted Butler's review from the current edition of the book. He responded by posting ANOTHER review more than a year later, making reference to this article and accusing us of doing the Revised Edition in an effort to dodge his original review. This was laughable indeed. The Revised Edition replaced the original because chapters on our later work with History Channel and the show 'Brad Meltzer's Decoded' were added. Also, new information on Cooper suspect Kenny Christiansen was included. Brent Butler, of course, was so arrogant and full of himself that he thought we did it strictly on his account. As far as Butler's re-posting of an even lengthier and more ugly review to a book he hasn't even read...we decided not to complain to Amazon a second time. It is so far over the top that we think it should stay because it provides insight into Butler's personality.
Hatred, arrogance, and name-calling are poor tools. The book continues to be a steady seller at Amazon. It is usually found in the Top 100 in the Aviation catagory in its Kindle version. Seventeen of twenty-five reviews on the book are either four or five stars at Amazon.com.
For further information on both Kenny Christiansen, or the DB Cooper case in general, see the DB Cooper Info Page at http://www.adventurebooksofseattle.com/
As far as Butler, maybe he should see the recent video we did on the evidence against Christiansen. It was uploaded to YouTube recently and a link to the video was added to the book's description at Amazon.
Improved version of the DVD which will be presented to the Seattle FBI in July 2015 on 'DB Cooper' suspect Kenneth Peter Christiansen. In addition to this video, they will also receive a DNA profile from Christiansen's brother Lyle (for comparison to the partial DNA sample(s) the FBI gleaned from the tie left behind by the famous hijacker.)
Also included: Sections of photo albums with plastic sheet covers, to dust for fingerprints to be compared to the prints now held by the FBI. The final item is a 74-page written report detailing the evidence against Christiansen and his alleged accomplice in the crime, Bernie Geestman from Port Angeles, WA. This video report dramatically details the testimony provided by witnesses after a six-year investigation, and the confidential written version provides their complete contact information.
Media or other interested parties may contact the creator of this video at adventurebooksofseattle AT G Mail Dot Com. My thanks to the cast and crew of the History Channel show 'Brad Meltzer's Decoded', as well as author Geoff Gray for their invaluable research, some of which was incorporated into this video.
Two things NOT mentioned on the video: Witness Dawn Androsko, sister of the alleged accomplice, testified that she recognized the tie tack on the tie left behind on the plane. She says it matches one she saw Christiansen wearing several times. She also testified (along with other witnesses) that Christiansen owned a toupee which he wore socially, but not after the date of the hijacking. I also forgot to mention that Christiansen's eyes were listed as 'hazel' on his Washington State drivers' license, which is pretty close to the description given by stewardess Florence Schaffner, who said the hijacker's eyes were 'brown'.
Robert Blevins - Managing Editor, Adventure Books of Seattle.