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This is NOT a Review of Hell’s Shadows by Dean Klein – UPDATED

So for those of you that have already read this I won’t make you read through the whole thing to get to the update. (Don’t worry, his e-mail wasn’t 9 screenshots long this time.) This is how Klein chose to respond to me (and my follow-up response.)

There was another e-mail where he said “You put it on the web, knowing the damage it would cause. You didn’t have to do that yet you did. You deliberately defamed my book. “

As he seems unable to get any sort of point here I have blocked him.

For those just entering the scene…

Sci-Fi & Scary has a clause in their review policy that states that if you act like a whiny ass child, you will be treated as such. Furthermore, it states that all communications once you have started acting like said child will be posted publicly.

“If you submit to this site, you are saying that you promise you will be an adult if you receive a negative review. You WILL not attempt to harass or coerce the reviewer about the review that you received. You will not contact them at all about the review that you received. IF YOU DO:

Your communication will not stay private. It will be posted on the site for the world to see, and shared to social media. Your whinging and/or harassing will be publicly displayed, as will any follow-up whinges about it being posted publicly.

If you act like a child, you will be treated like a child.

Our review policy. Don’t believe me just look.

In the months (years?) since I instituted this policy, I have never had to use it before. Not until now. There’s always someone, isn’t there?

Klein has made a few mistakes here. Firstly, he used his (supposed/self-claimed) anxiety as a crutch, sending us a few emails asking where the book was on the reviewers list and such. (Normally I wouldn’t place the emphasis on supposed/self-claimed,but you’ll see why I did in just a bit.)

Authors: Don’t use your mental health as a crutch when seeking reviews. It is okay to suffer from mental health problems, and it is definitely okay to talk about them. However, doing it when seeking a review is seen as trying to influence reviewers to be nice to YOU (aka be nicer about their review of your books). This is NOT GOOD PRACTICE. I say this as someone who deals with anxiety and takes meds for it almost daily. (Credit where it’s due, it’s Jim from Gingernuts of Horror who put it more clearly than I could have when this part of the convo popped up on Twitter.)

(Now, because of his claimed anxiety and we understand that, Sian had two other people go over her review to make it as nice as it could be while still be truthful…but more on that later.)

Secondly, when I nicely sent him an e-mail out of consideration for his anxiety, the response that I got was off the charts.

Here’s the email that I sent him.

Email from Lilyn to Dean stating that the review would not be positive, and because of his saying he had anxiety, advising him not to read it.

I apologize for the 9 screenshots to come, but that’s how many it took me to capture all of his e-mail for everyone to see. Now, there’s some overlap in these because I wanted to make sure nothing was missed,but STILL. No petulant response to the notification of a bad review should ever happen, and it should DEFINITELY never be this long!!

I’ll just wait here for a moment while you all take this in.


…. kind of amazing, am I right? After reading this, you totally want to buy this man’s book and read it, right?!

But wait,dear readers! It gets BETTER.

In the author’s note, Klein writes:

“And please note this – both novels were read by an entire Barnes & Noble store management team and were deemed so good by the two assistant store managers and the store manager that they were ordered and shelved right next to the works of Mr. King himself.”

Dean Klein, author’s note for Hell’s Shadows


I don’t… I don’t know how to break this to you, dear author, but the mostly likely reason you were shelved right next to “Mr. King himself” is that your last name is KLEIN and most stores do tend to shelve things alphabetically in their respective genres. KL comes after KI so… yeah. Draw what conclusion you will there but I think most of us can figure that one out.

I’m not done yet.

There’s also the fact that this fine fellow also tends to be a complete toe-rag to those who have dared to give him a negative review on Amazon.

Now, this is absolutely NOT A REVIEW of Dean Klein’s Hell’s Shadows book, but if it were a review, then it would say this:

Title: Hell’s Shadows | Author: Dean Klein | Publisher: CreateSpace | Pub. Date: 16 November 2012 | Pages: 426 | ISBN: 1480279102 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 1 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy of this book for review consideration

Hell’s Shadows Review

Robin and Gil are married and want to buy a house, unfortunately they don’t like any Estate Agent Elaine shows them until she shows the uninhabited, probably haunted ‘Parsons Knoll’. Parsons Knoll isn’t overly happy to have potential new tenants so tries to kill Elaine. Naturally, Gil and Robin then must buy this house.

The premise for this book could really have been something, and I think with some heavy editing and maybe cutting out 200 pages of the book, could have had the potential to build tension well. This book promises to be the scariest haunted house book you will ever read, yet unfortunately falls short of this promise due to a heavy reliance on dialogue and repetition the whole way through. For example, Robin would find out some information from Alvina which might be a few pages worth of potentially interesting development, she would then feed it back to Gil in almost as many pages (or so it at least felt).

The characters were fickle, especially Robin, who literally spent every other page changing her mind as to whether or not she wanted to stay in the house or not. Gil was patronising and a bit sexist and their relationship with the police was quite unbelievable. I didn’t really like any of them and though that isn’t always necessary it would have helped Hell’s Shadows a good bit. Alvina, this old woman (who’s like over 100 years old so knows loads about the house) accent is too much and it cast a shadow on the read and her character for me.

Unfortunately, for the first third of Hell’s Shadows the writing failed to engage me. The majority of sentences start with ‘But’ which is something that we all fall prey to sometimes, but just doesn’t make for a good read.  It gets a bit better in the middle, but the problem reappears near the end.

Hell’s Shadows has potential, but again it is severely hampered by problems that could be fixed by the attention of a good editor. As it stands it is a painfully slow read that doesn’t allow the premise to shine like it could have. (Sometimes 100 pages feels like 3, and sometimes 3 feels like a hundred. Bookworm relativity.)

Unfortunately this was not a pleasant reading experience, but I do hope the author continues to work hard at refining his skill.

1 star.

That is the review that would have been posted. Because we do try to be nice on occasion. The following is (posting with Sian’s permission) the original review had we not been so nice:

Robin and Gil are married and want to buy a house, unfortunately they don’t like any Estate Agent Elaine shows them until she shows the uninhabited, probably haunted ‘Parsons Knoll’. Parsons Knoll isn’t overly happy to have potential new tenants so tries to kill Elaine. Naturally, Gil and Robin then must buy this house.

The premise for this book could really have been something, and I think with some heavy editing and maybe cutting out 200 pages of the book, could have had the potential to build tension well. This book promises to be the scariest haunted house book you will ever read, yet fails to build any tension and drama due to a heavy reliance on dialogue and repetition the whole way through. For example, Robin would find out some information from Alvina which might be a few pages worth of potentially interesting development, she would then feed it back to Gil in almost as many pages (or so it at least felt). Yawn.

The characters were fickle, especially Robin, who literally spent every other page changing her mind as to whether or not she wanted to stay in the house or not. Gil was patronising and a bit sexist and their relationship with the police was ridiculously unbelievable. I didn’t really like any of them. Alvina, this old woman (who’s like over 100 years old so knows loads about the house) accent is gimmicky and cheapened the read and her character for me.

Now, the plot is bad and the characters are bad, but at least the writing is engaging? Unfortunately not, for the first third of the book, the majority of sentences start with But, for absolutely no reason. I thought this had gotten better later on but maybe I just started to notice it less. Then they started appearing again. Have you ever read 100 pages of a book, and felt like you had made incredible progress, and then looked down at the page count and realised you had actually only read 3? That’s what this entire book felt like. I don’t usually DNF reads but this book has taught me that should be the option I choose in future.

1 star.

So, I said there were a few things that Dean Klein had done wrong. What was the final thing, you ask?

The final thing was that he fucked with my crew. You do NOT talk down to me and my team like that and get away with it, you pathetic excuse for an over-privileged and underwhelming rectal sore masquerading as a man. I don’t need a college degree to spot an asshole, nor one to understand how not to be one.

Published inHorror Book ReviewsRantsUnstarred Reviews


  1. Rick Riffel

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    I want to read Hell’s Shadows by Dean Klein. My curiosity is piqued.

    • Sian

      I hope that if you do, you enjoy it more than I did!

  2. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    Following. As a wannabe author myself, i thank you for throwing this out to the public. His rant is the perfect inspiration for a character. I think i will have the character use “high concept” as a catch phrase.

    • Sian

      It would make the perfect catchphrase! LOL

  3. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    […] This Is NOT a Review of Hell’s Shadows by Dean Klein by Lilyn G is equal parts shocking and hilarious. It basically tells author what NOT to do when […]

  4. K.L. Neidecker

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    Hey, at least you can pick up a paperback copy of this magnum opus for the low price of $899 from one seller on Amazon (the only seller listed, in fact), “academic_book_guy”…

    Seems an oddly inflated price to me. I wonder if, besides a gaggle of sock-puppet accounts he used to review his own books, he may be this seller as well, inflating his own “rare” copies of his novels?

    Maybe not. Just seems a “rare paperback of an out of print edition of Carrie” price rather than the right price for this particular book.

    But, then again, I may just not have the Mensa level mind it takes to really *see* the value in owning a paperback copy of this revolutionary piece of literature. It could be that the sheer density of wit and writing skill combines together in this tome to form a sort of *singularity*, and owning one would change one’s life forever!

    Also, those sock-puppet reviews! Love them. God damn. I mean, really, *write your fraudulent copy in a different voice than your own* is like sock-puppet 101.

  5. Heidi Kok

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    The best clue he’s an utter failure? He’s bragging about being a MENSA member. To me, that’s “back away slowly” time. No good ever comes of it.

  6. Laura

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    In a word, “yawn….”

  7. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    I’d love to remind him that not only the greatest literary genius gets made into films. All three “50 shades” movies made it to the big screen.

    • So very true.

    • Sian

      hahaha so true!!!

  8. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    […] the author a heads-up that the review was not a straightforward gush, and the author wrote back … quite the screed. My favorite part is when he breaks out his SAT scores to explain why no one could possibly ever […]

  9. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    Just read your update. He doesn’t seem to understand that while yes, you put his letter online, it wouldn’t have harmed him or his book if he hadn’t been an asshole in the letter! It’s his own attitude that people are laughing at and astounded by!

  10. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    Imagine for a moment that the author’s preface to Stephen King’s PET SEMATARY went something like this:

    Think you’ve read every book there is about cemeteries? WELL YOU HAVEN’T! I once saw a movie, or maybe I read an EC Comic, I don’t remember, that was about a creepy cemetery, but what I did in THIS book is make all the characters and everything EVEN SCARIER, and guess what: there’s a pet cemetery in this book where when you bury dead people or pets in them but mostly people because that’s the twist — THEY COME BACK TO LIFE! But when they come back to life they’re weird and evil and gross, TWIST AGAIN! So spoilers, I guess. Kind of weird that I’m telling you all the secrets in the opening pitch but whatever. Also: I was an English teacher so you know all this writing is amazing, I’m the best, believe it BECAUSE I SAID SO.

    Would you continue reading that book?

    Before stumbling upon Mr. Klein, I have never in my life encountered an author with a tinnier ear for the most basic elements of writing: voice, point-of-view, pacing, characterization, dialogue, and most importantly, SHOWING, not telling. Let’s start there. Absolutely everything Mr. Klein does is Tell, not Show; even his dialogue attribution — the worst sins of which are usually just lazy adverbs (he said smugly) — races to TELL you what he meant, rather than simply letting the dialogue itself show us the way. Take this absolutely mind-bogglingly awful sentence:

    “This is as far as I go,” were the words of someone flatly disinterested in getting any closer to the property than this.

    That’s right, Dear Reader. Mr. Klein is so chronically unable to Show that he will inexplicably Tell his reader what the preceding dialogue is meant to convey. Forget context, mood, characterization, clever dialogue, or even internal monologue; just flat-out TELL the reader what you meant. And this happens in almost every paragraph, on every page, over and over again.

    Just for fun, here are some of my absolute favorite snippets from a writer with a 4.0 GPA and numerous writing awards under his belt:

    Now, nothing save his own death would ever diminish the effects of having suffered so many frightening all the way to grisly experiences while living in that horrid place.

    Gil and Elaine were simultaneously frightened by what was a completely unexpected and possibly major medical emergency.

    Vivid mental imprints of the eerie to terrifying events thrust upon them from the moment he and Robin set foot on that property still raged inside Gil.

    Given the condition of the old crumbling house as they would soon see, there was little reason for anyone to consider that place as their home even if it didn’t come with all the stories that ranged from disturbing to gruesome.

    Sounds like sort of a shit place to live, doesn’t it? Completely ramshackle, with hundreds of years of bad mojo attached to it, and the very first time you drive past it, your wife has a Grand-Mal seizure and is nearly killed because Psychic House Attack. FUCK IT, LET’S BUY THIS HOUSE AND MOVE IN! This may be the world’s first haunted house story where the audience doesn’t even have to yell “Get out!” at the first sign of the haunting; the house itself is yelling that at this couple from page one (hell, from the author’s note before the book even begins!) and yet they purchase it anyway. By page three I was solidly rooting for the house.

    Mr. Klein’s nine-page email in defense of his skills is made incandescently farcical with even a side-eyed glance at any single page of HELL’S SHADOWS. There is no narrative cohesion here whatsoever: one moment you’re meant to think Gil is the novel’s third-person limited narrator, as we begin inside Gil’s head, share his memories and reflections, and are left to marvel at the author’s choice of telling us in the first few pages that an evil house killed Gil’s wife (spoilers!); but then a page or two later, we’re in a third-person omniscient POV that knows things Gil does not or could not know (“Robin never knew her fainting spell occurred at the exact moment of Julianna’s death.” Oh. Who are you again? Who’s telling this story? What’s happening?).

    Horror stories are almost always best when told from a well-managed set of POVs, each carefully controlled to mete out the plot’s surprises in character-driven ways. Dan Simmons managed his cast of characters masterfully in the horror epic CARRION COMFORT by weaving the story in and out of their POVs with a deftness that feels organic, and when the terrors come in that book — and they are relentless, often unbearable terrors — we as readers feel them all the more deeply because we know and love the characters. Mr. Klein expects me to care about Gil because he says so: he’s intelligent and possessed of a “can-do attitude” with a “very responsible job”; he’s average looking, “very blond”, affable, sharp, popular, and good at his job, until he’s not, because his wife died, I guess? I’m still not sure, because Mr. Klein gives us all of two whopping paragraphs on Gil’s backstory and character before slipping in that his wife died, a blow from which he apparently cannot recover. Gil is, of course, ruminating over these losses with a glass of scotch (sic), but after two miserable sips he pours the remainder of his glass back into the bottle; we aren’t even given the comfort of an understandable bender as a means of connecting with Gil.

    Mr. Klein goes to great lengths — both in his desperate self-defensive email and in the book’s insufferably self-aggrandizing promotional material — to tell all of us dumdum readers that we’ve never experienced such sophisticated originality before (even as he readily admits that the book owes its origins to Stephen Spielberg’s POLTERGEIST), and promises a “hugely out-of-the-box storyline”. And yet the seasoned reader of horror will immediately start picking out the most exhausted of tropes: the protagonist with the mysterious extrasensory perception (good lord, need I even list any?); the haunted house with a mind and life of its own (throw a stick at any Horror section in any bookstore and you’ll hit two dozen of these); the Ancient Evil Long Thought Dormant (zzzzzzzz); the Charming Small Town Hiding A Secret But What Could Possibly Go Wro–OH NO A DEMON!; and on and on and on. Even the name of the evil house is a direct crib from a Stephen King story: Parsons Knoll (sic, again; where, oh where, is the possessive apostrophe, Mr. Klein?) sounds awfully close to Preacher’s Corners, a King creation that just happens to contain a pure and manifest evil with roots in the mid-1800s. COINKYDINK!

    I’m sorely tempted to pay my ten bucks, cash on the nightmarish barrelhead of Mr. Klein’s bucket full of narcissistic delusions, and push myself grimly, Bataan-style, through the entire thing. I must admit to some curiosity as to how a story could possibly become interesting when I already know the fate of its protagonist at the hands of so obviously evil a house. When you’re told in the author’s preface what happens and why, there had better be SOMETHING in the story itself worth paying for, right? But on the other hand, life is far too short to waste on bad books. Any single page of the aforementioned CARRION COMFORT brings more pathos, wonder, dread, awe, and character with it than a thousand HELL’S SHADOWS could manage.

    But still…

    • [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
      Hahaha I’m so glad you gave us these snippets. I was almost tempted to read the book myself to see how awful it was. Now I don’t have to.

  11. BF Chase

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    Wow. Just wow. Go you, Lilyn!

  12. Josh

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    Omg I can’t even. What an asshole.

  13. Rebekah Martin

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    Of course he’s a great author. He’s told you so several times.

    Damn. That email of his was painful. There’s always one douche that sees an opportunity and says, “Hold my PBR.”

  14. AshEricsson

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    I agree with you fully that this author is immature.

    However, regarding the policy I’d publicizing discussions that don’t meet your standards of maturity … I don’t feel like immaturity is a problem where toy can fight fire with fire.

  15. Lexi B

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    Y’know, being a Marine, I’m no stranger to people shooting themselves in the foot (occasionally literally). But I’ve never seen it down with 155mm artillery.

    To have even a fraction of that confidence in my own writing.

  16. casadega

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    My God, did Donald Trump write this book (and the rant about how absolutely perfect it is?)

  17. Nita Round

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    Good grief! I would not have believed that anyone could be like this.
    But it has an upside (for me) – I’ve found a new site to read. YAY!

    • Happy to have you join us!

  18. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    Now I really want to read this… But I’m stuffed if I’m going to pay for it lol could the fact the author is a total ass-hat, who is mired in his own narcissism, be sufficient to validate book piracy? He doesn’t deserve to get a cent of our money, as we are obviously of no value to him and his “genius”.

  19. Erinn R Reimann

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    OMG I couldn’t even get through the third shot of his email, I can’t imagine trying to read a whole novel by this guy.

    I love the way you’ve handled this though.

    • Thank you. It’s probably too much to hope but maybe potential asshat authors will think again before trying to act that way towards myself or my team.

  20. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    I adore this. I thought most authors suffered from crippling self-doubt, but this guy makes up for all of it with an incredulous deity-level self-absorption. I guess we’re just not worthy.

  21. Kia

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    I love how he emphasizes how “original” his work is and how everything in there has “never been done before!” but then I read the premise and it’s literally the plot of every white horror film

  22. Joe B

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    Don’t blame you for posting the whole coorespondance.

    I’m not an author, but engaging in any hobby with as much depth as writing should teach you a tremendous amount of humility if you can be even partially honest with yourself.

    He will never get better at writing because his ego will never allow it. It’s a shame, but again, I think you were in the right to post this.

  23. Symmes Culbertson

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    I know it should go without saying, but this guy is delusional if he thinks it would cost $200 Million to make a movie about his book. To be clear, “Avengers” cost $200 million, it cost $250 million to make the final TWO “Harry Potter” films, a series to which he directly compares his own writing. Horror/Thrillers don’t demand anything CLOSE to that kind of budget, in fact its the reason the genre is popular to make; it’s cheap. Even the new version of Stephen King’s IT was made for only $35 million. A more believable comparison would have been Amityville Horror” (2005) as it seems to be what his novel is based on. The remake only cost $19 million, however even that may be overselling the value of Mr. Klein’s work when you consider that budget was put towards the remake of the incredibly popular 1979 original “The Amityville Horror”, which was not only adapted from a popular book but was billed as a true story. Something tells me Dean Klein isn’t popular enough for any studio to spend $20 million on an adaptation, much less $200 million.

    • I love it when people fact-check stuff like this! Thank you!

  24. Soter Lucio

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    He is so full of himself!

  25. Julie

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    I’m sort of torn between feeling like he really deserves and needs the reality check, and feeling like it’s maybe not so great to publicly air the ravings of someone with such mental illness (I’m referring to the delusions, not the anxiety). Hard to know what’s fair and in his best interest (and let’s be honest, none of us ever read the T&Cs). I thought the original review was well articulated, specific, and, by the sound of it, pretty generous.

    • Yeah it was pretty generous. Tbh I wasn’t looking forward to posting his ridiculousness but I’ve came up against his type before as a reviewer and have found they’re utter cowards who will try to browbeat you in private. I gave in once and vowed never to do so again. Now when someone pulls crap with me, I air it and let them choose what to do next.

  26. deliariadavis

    I couldn’t even be bothered to finish his e-mail with the error’s it was riddled with. No self-respecting editor, nor author, would send an e-mail as such. I have gotten bad reviews and embraced them. Made teasers out of them even.

    He has no sense of mortality in the book world. No sense of respect. No sense of humility.

    I have no want, or need to read his book after this exchange.

    • The part where he told me to read it myself rather than trust Sian’s judgement had me agoggle.

    • Essdee

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      The fact that you’ve misused an apostrophe on the word ‘errors’ is top class irony

  27. gracedraven

    I came across this on Twitter and wanted to drop a comment here thanking you for making it public. I posted about it on my FB page as an example what NOT to do when presented with a unfavorable/negative/critical review of your book. As I said in my post, there is no one-star review written that can do the kind of damage to a book’s sales that this author’s response did to his. It’s a prime example of a supremely wrong reaction to something every product (including a book) is subject to the moment it becomes available to the buying public. Again, thank you for sharing.

    • You’re welcome! Yeah, he has done all the damage to himself with this.

  28. Because it’s in my nature to fact check things, and I have access to comScore web measurement, I have to point out that doesn’t have 400,000 users. It doesn’t appear at all in the last 12 months, which means it’s getting less than 20K a month.

    Also, the only Simon at Fox I can find is the guy in charge of Fox Faith, so I don’t know that I trust his opinion on horror.

    • Ooh I like your fact checking!

    • [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
      Simon Swart was an EVP at Fox until 2016. DK didn’t say when he was contacted… Just that he was. Not defending the loser, just providing info.

  29. Amy Meredith

    How i read it…”i is good writer…I make the pretty words too hard for dumb peoples…”

    • Yeah, pretty much.

  30. Wow. Just, wow. Can we put that in the dictionary next to ‘entitlement’? o.O

    • [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
      Nah, that comes after “entertaining” in the dictionary so he’d take it as a compliment

  31. Eric H.

    Anyone out of their mid-20’s (Dean is, I presume, at least in his late 50’s if he has been writing professionally for 40 years) who quotes their GPA and/or SAT scores to try and prove they are intelligent is just being laughably, miserably pretentious. A legend in his own mind…

  32. Sam Welbaum

    Reading the preview on Amazon was glorious. I’m a professor, so reading something worse than my Freshman philosophy papers was nice change of pace.

    • Ouuuch! Hahaha

    • JT

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      Ouch! That might be the sickest literary burn I’ve ever read! But from the excerpts I’ve seen it’s absolutely accurate. Wow.

      Also, honestly…the most astounding thing to me isn’t even him trying to brag about his SATs and his English grades, no, somehow it’s not any of that; it’s the idea that he is anywhere near the level of Stephen King.

      STEPHEN. KING. STEPHEN KING!!! You notice he tries to compare or sidle up to comparisons to King? Because he does, and PFFTT!!!

      Are you kidding me, bro? You have to have HUMILITY to hone your skill to that level, and I’m not sure your “60,000 word vocabulary” includes that word.

      If Stephen King’s talent for writing is Everest, Klein’s (again, judging by the excerpts, at least one of which I could swear made me physically twitch) is in the Marianas Trench. And being convinced that a marketing degree and good English grades in college = Great American Novelist? Yeah, that is not going to help you so much as get your head above water, let alone mount the summit King sits near.

      What do you want to bet Mr Marketing Major who thinks writing “highly technical marketing reports” prepares him to write fiction, let alone horror-thrillers, has never actually read any Stephen King, and only knows of him as The Most Famous Horror Writer Dude That You Could Possibly Name Drop?

  33. Lucky Thorn

    Mr. Klein, being such an accomplished writer, should not entrust something as important as a review to just anyone. Everyone knows a self-written review is much more honest and believable than that of a disinterested third party.
    Just tell them who you are, Mr. Klein.

  34. In the end, he wrote the positive review himself. He got what he wanted lol

  35. Holy crap, you can’t make this stuff up. I am flabbergasted by the sheer arrogance of this.

    “It is as shiny as it can be”
    “I am an expert in report writing/story ideation and construction”
    “My ability to conceive and prepare prose are off the chart high”
    “I know a good book when I write one”
    “Hell’s Shadows is flawless”

    I think the straw that broke the book’s spine for me, though, was attacking a 4-star review. That’s not just arrogance, that sheer hubris.

    But, like everybody else, I will say thank you to Mr. Klein for introducing me to a new blog. 🙂

    • Exactly. That really surprised me as well. Apparently he won’t accept anything less than a 5 star review. I also found it a bit disturbing that he badgered three more reviews from the site he mentioned.

      Thank you! We’re happy to have you!

    • Cassie Simpson

      [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
      Reminds me of Drumpf

    • Lille Sparven

      [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
      Also, “my ability” and “are” wreak subject/verb disagreement. I’m sure he would be appalled, given his flawlessness.

  36. Franny

    God, his reaction reminds me of the time I replied to a thread about Mark Lawrence by saying I just couldn’t get into “Prince of Thorns” and Mark came out of nowhere and replied to me something like “I guess it just wasn’t your thing, plenty of other people could get into it clearly” and like WHY are they LIKE THIS.

    • I don’t think that some authors can’t understand that while a review can provide some feedback in the end they are for other readers. Not just authors.

  37. It always amazes me how many authors think they should be given the ‘right’ to ‘deny’ a legitimate review only because they don’t like it. Not everyone’s going to like my books. I get that. Acting like a toddler over a bad review? Um, no. I learn from it and become a better author. Or I shrug my shoulders and ignore it.

    I’m an author. Writing is subjective. Get over yourself, grow a thicker skin, and move on.

    Oh, one more thing. Just about any book out there ‘may well be a movie’ one day!

    • Certain books really opened the floodgates on that one, lol. That honestly flabbergasted us as well. Him demanding we not publish his review because it was less than stellar.

  38. The best part was the whole “minor in English with a 4.0” thing. So precious. So clueless.

  39. This is the funniest thing I’ve read this week. I hope you and your team enjoyed exposing this AAA asshole to the world. I’ve certainly enjoyed reading about the spoilt 5 year old protagonist. 😅😅😅🖖

    • I legit hated doing it at first because I don’t like drama, but I refuse to be manipulated or browbeaten so I did what I said I would do. And yes, it has given us all a bit of a chuckle once we got over being irritated and realized how ridiculous it was.

  40. You go, Lilyn! Arrogant assholes need to be chopped off at the knees…and often at the neck.

    • Thank you! Yes, yes they do.

  41. Wow. Just, wow.

    Thanks for sharing, Lilyn.

    • Laochailan Maghouin

      David Gerrold posted about this the other day, so I figured I ought to take a look.

      I am both glad and sorry that I did. Ye gods, this is horrendous behavior on the part of the “author” in question. I’m a former writer (the brain damage I sustained in the military has put a serious crimp in my ability to write fiction), and I’m embarrassed by this nutbar.

      From what little I’ve seen of his writing, I doubt I would have the patience to suffer through any of his books, to say nothing of the “masterful tome” in question here. I’ve run across a number of self-published authors whose books have been too tortuous to finish, but this fellow may be the king of his kind.

      My wife, to whom I read this entire piece (we’re on vacation, and I figured she’d also be amused and/or horrified, commented that if he wrote his books like he did his unhinged rants, he might have something there. I can’t disagree with that.

      (Also, I’ll be subscribing, as the allure of sarcasm and snark is just too much to pass up.)

      • I agree he may just be king of his kind! Thank you for subscribing!

      • We’re happy to have you!

    • Tygrr FitzSapien

      Oh. . .

      Oh dear…

      Good on you for sticking to your principles. Bullybois need to be outed. Fair warnings were given, guess he doesn’t comprehend well. Or just thinks he’s that spesh.

  42. Moby

    I love your policy regarding dealing with children. I have a simple but similar policy on my blog, “All legal threats will be posted’. And yeah, I’ve had to use it as well. Best to you.

    • Thank you! That’s a wise precaution to take as some authors don’t respect boundaries very well. Thank Cthulhu most of the ones that we’ve dealt with have been great and very understanding

  43. The Twitter shenanigans brought me here, and I’m so glad they did. I have followed the site.

    The pomposity of this guy is astounding, could he be any further up his own arse?

    I write, I also review. You put work out there and you know it’s going to appeal to some and not to others. That’s just how it is. Yes, sometimes it hurts, but there’s always something to be taken away from a negative or low starred review (my inability to spell gaol properly comes to mind).

    This ‘author’ needs to get over himself.

    • Agreed! Thank you for following us!

    • We appreciate the follow!

  44. Heather Palmquist-Lindahl


    • I wonder if they know they want his book? 🤔

      • I would love to know if Steven Spielberg knows that this author is using his name like that.

  45. I’m a big fan of Trump’s corpus of wisdom, truth and common sense. If Dean Klein stands for President, he’ll get my vote!

  46. Shale

    The first read of this email was a disbelieving, schadenfreudic delight; the second has just made me sad. He’s not some well-known best-seller hyped on his own glory – he’s an effective unknown with a handful of self-published junk novels, and many of the “five star reviews” on his Amazon pages draw too closely from his own descriptors to be coincidence. In that light, the detailed rant about his accomplishments and accolades reads less like a pompous screed and more like a compulsive fantasy retold many times. A preliminary search has found only small crumbs to support even his more credulous claims; the positive reviews on SF Site and Horror Palace might exist, but I’m not convinced ‘Dean Klein’ does.

    Obviously this is a nuisance for you to have had to deal with, his treatment of others is generally shocking, and I don’t fault your response, but… man. It’s just not as funny when it crosses the line from arrogance to possible ill health. I only hope he has better control outside of screenspace.

    • Merchant

      THIS exactly. His 9 pages of word of carefully crafted word vomit intended to educate Lilyn and Plumreads struck me as VERY similar to many of the great reviews. The number of them that repeatedly emphasized his name (Mr. Klein or Dean Klein), the way so many described it as something they could not put down or begged for more from the author, seemed more like a theme than a genuine review. Add to that his attack of a negative review with emphasis on the authenticity of his good reviews, because they were verified purchasers, and the negative reviewer was now, so how could they even have formed an opinion?

      I was bored and checked the Amazon accounts, some seemed legit, others, less so.Reviews are certainly subjective, so I would expect varying degrees of enjoyment to his work, but these felt too crafted.

      • That could very well be the case but it’s impossible to say with certainty soo. Amazon is still having issues with this even after their scorched earth policy

    • Kathleen

      I think the only mental health issue is narcissism. He’s in love with his own words.

  47. The gushing 5 star reviews on Amazon have many similar qualities to each other. I was looking through all his books and reviews. Some struck me as odd.

    Kudos to you for standing up to his egotistical, obnoxious response.

  48. Ham

    essentially this just says “i am very smart and have never ever gotten a negative review in my life so you’re not allowed to give me one and also no one is allowed to dislike my books at all ever.” as if personal preference isnt a thing. also the comment about his name made me laugh. this author is more childish than most teenage writers that i’ve seen. smh. this just verifies that i’m never going to read any of his books.

    (also i have totally dragged myself through books I hated in hopes of it turning around. he’s incorrect.)

    • I have too! You think “It’s got to get better…right?” And then you hit the “Ok, its obviously not going to get better but at this point I might as well finish it.”

  49. Wow. Those emails where he talks about his education and then literally lists out all the good reviews he has got…LOL. Who asked him for that?! And there’s this point he makes, he says he won’t change anything in his book according to the negative review so don’t send it to him either. BUT WHO ASKED HIM TO CHANGE ANYTHING? Reviews and critiques, before and after publishing are so different. I guess they don’t teach that in the English minor he took in university. But he should be knowing that since he was the ONLY one to get a A in a class. Oh my God, this is so funny. I now have so much unasked information about this author I don’t even care about XD I’m all the more shocked that he didn’t understand your email that CLEARLY talks about reviews being subjective and that no one is forcing him to read it…I mean, what was so difficult to wrap his head around? Also, that bookstore staff LOVE HIM SO MUCH! HAHHAHA! I think every horror writer should change their last names to something with ‘KH’ or ‘KI’ or ‘KJ’ It’s the best way to sit next to Mr. King himself on the bookshelves.

    Anyway, all this aside, I’m sorry you had to deal with such an author. And thanks for putting this out there because now I know which book and author to stay away from!

    • Yeah it was a whole load of special. You’re welcome 🙂

    • I find it interesting that he isn’t going to change his book at all (even though we never said that and just made suggestions which he was free to ignore). Yet he demands that we not post our review of it because it doesn’t meet his requirements.

  50. Lana K

    This is fascinating. I came across this on Twitter and checked out the Amazon pages for his e-book. Dean is responding to every critical review and engages in lengthy exchanges with people who went there from this site. He claims to have over 40 years of writing experience, which makes him in his late 50s at the youngest, but he behaves like a narcissistic teenager who thinks the shattered the world with his writing.

  51. I solemnly swear that if you ever feel compelled to write a negative review of a book I write I will meekly agree with you

    • No! You shouldn’t feel like you have to agree with me! Reviews are subjective and all that. You just shouldn’t write me a nine page letter about why I was wrong.

      • [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
        Some of the best advice I’ve read was to appreciate your negative reviews because they lend the book a certain amount of legitimacy. And given the number of comments on here that have scoped the guy out for sockpuppeting his own reviews, that appears to be really good advice.
        Skeptics will look your shit up for the entertainment value alone. And this guy is entertaining in all the ways he’d hate to have to said to his face. Or any other way.

  52. jadecary

    Oh..My..God. I’m so sorry, and good for you. That’s all I’ve got.

    • It’s enough. Thank you 🙂

  53. Geez, author’s can be amazinly arrogant sometimes. I recently saw one complaining about a review I wrote on Goodreads A YEAR AND A HALF AGO. I’ve had one berate me doe how I run my blog and another try and mansplain my opinion to me. Good on you foe calling this one out!

    • People can just get special, can’t they?

  54. Sara

    Lilyn and Sian are my new heroes!

    • Why thank you!

  55. John C. George

    Many years ago, I read a comment by an editor: “Never argue with a man who buys ink by the barrel.” Much has changed (the editor’s gender, use of ink) but the basic ideas ring true.

  56. This is amazing.

  57. Mike G

    This story cropped up on my Twitter feed and after reading his response I am blown away. What a disgusting reaction, an essay that only serves as an attempt to intimidate and allow him to grandstand at his own magnificence.

    I Immediately had to track down a copy of this Horror story that is being hailed as better than Poltergeist and Amityville. Unfortunately the only copy I’ve found for sale in the UK is £95 ($122) Checked out the free preview on Amazon and the intro paragraph is just clunky, I honestly would love to try to read this book. To see just how “original” and “unpredictable” it is, that puts it up there with the likes of King.

    Well done for calling out petulant child of an Author.

    • Julie

      [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
      What about the local library, or inter-library loan?

  58. Cara

    I have to say I almost feel sorry for the guy…I’m guessing he really is mentally ill, even if the illness isn’t anxiety (I mean, he expected you to believe his response when he was published by CreateSpace and sold probably 10 copies, he thinks people will believe he’s in B&N and on the verge of being optioned.) He must feel like a failure and is only trying to protect himself through rage.

    Tomorrow he’ll wake up and maybe write a fake review or two, and yet again try to convince himself he is a good writer in spite of it all. I almost want to give him a hug.

    • Thank you Cara. I was beginning to feel like I was the only voice in the wilderness. I do suspect his mental illness is way more than anxiety-related. He is self-delusional and has these grandiose ideas.

      • We try to be as open-minded and as sensitive to people’s issues (whatever they may be) as possible, which is why we led with a polite letter to the author out of courtesy. However. This does not give someone to demand, belittle or verbally abuse us. It does not give an author, or anyone else, the right to be a bully to someone because they didn’t like the feedback that they got from us. Which they requested.

        Thank you for your thoughts on the matter.

    • It’s possible. Either that or he’s very good (or bad depending on your perspective) at trying to spin and market his own book.

  59. Holy cow…the entire email response from him felt so condescending and slimy, down to the very last letter. I’m so glad you didn’t back down.

    • Gave in once to this sort of dumbf*ckery. Vowed never again.

    • Plumreads__s


  60. Holy crap, Batman. Just reading this makes me want to ask you to review my book series, and I don’t even know if you review my genre.

    • Thank you for reading!

  61. Ren

    I read the beginning of the sample yesterday after this saga came across my Twitter feed. Based on what I observed, even the unaltered review seems extremely generous—but I wouldn’t expect anyone who uses a “seal” from a site that sells only 5-star reviews as the focal point of his book cover to take any amount of criticism like an adult.

    • Sam_B

      Based on his response to a four-star review, I really don’t think any review would have been deemed worthy of his masterpiece.

  62. BTW: I just submitted a comment, and I never even saw a bot filter checkbox.

    • Yeah its a problem I have to debug.

      • JT

        [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
        Huh, yeah, I didn’t have that happen either. Then again, I’m mostly replying, but still.

  63. Al Petterson

    … so what you’re saying is that for the 250 days we all thought the president was golfing, he was really sitting in his hotel room in Mar-A-Lago writing horror fiction under a pseudonym.

    • Sam_B

      It would explain so much, wouldn’t it?

    • I had pretty much this exact same thought. Yikes.

    • Kelleah Metzger

      😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 Mystery solved!!!

  64. I don’t generally read reviews, and I’m sure there are many like me, so his response to a not-totally-raving review was a complete waste of time! I’m also not a Stephen King far, so comparing himself to Stephen King isn’t a plus in my mind. I barely made it through his response – and the entire time I was reading it I just kept thinking “the level of ego and narcissism of this idiot is staggering!” Kudos to you for bringing this to light!

    • Plumreads__s

      He hasn’t actually read my review…

    • Terra Necessary

      I LOVE King, he is my favorite, and that made me giggle. I love King because his writing is down to earth and fun, not because it’s high floutin literature.

      He also listed off a book King has openly stated he doesn’t remember writing because of drugs. Heh.

  65. Argyle Trayvon Wolf-Knapp

    What an entitled, blind tool. At least he convinced me not to waste my time on his writing, so there’s that.

    • Olly_C

      Yep, he’s done the world a public service really

  66. Having worked at Barnes and Noble – yes, ALL of are books are in alphabetical order.

    Also, MY GOD WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE? The mansplaining is so strong in this one that I think he might be (ahem) making up for some “shortcomings’.

    • Olly_C

      We couldn’t possibly speculate

    • But…but…it’s geared to women with a WOMAN protagonist! How could not ALL women love it??

      • JT

        Wait, it just occurred to me…the book begins with the husband’s POV, telling us the wife died?? Apparently?? But he wants Feminist Woke Points for having a ~female protagonist~ and slightly more female characters than male ones??

        Unless there is some really M Night level twist here, those two things do not add up. You can’t fridge the wife before you even start the story and then open with the mourning husband’s POV, AND have her be first to get psychic-whammied by the Hell House, etc, and have HIM SURVIVE…

        ….and then ALSO call HER the ~main protagonist~. At least, not easily you can’t. Main VICTIM, sure, but “protagonist” seems like a stretch, given from the sounds of it, her main purpose in the story was to be confused, tormented and then die to give the husband Grief Feelings so the author can pretend the story has Pathos and Gritty Realism. Which makes it sound an awful lot like she was at best a co-protagonist, while the husband was the main one.

        Then again, we’re talking about someone who, as he admits, was a chem, bio and marketing major, not an English major. It’s entirely possible that despite having a “60,000 word vocabulary” and ~high SATs~ he does not actually know the meaning of the word “protagonist”.

        (…I’m sorry, I really really still can’t get over the “60,000 word vocabulary” claim. I really can’t. It’s just…so irrelevant to everything else! But also, I just. I looked it up, because it was going to bug me not knowing, and: “Studies have shown that the average English native speaker knows about 20,000 words with university-educated people knowing around 40,000 words. When actually speaking and with everyday writing (emails, letters, notes etc.) this goes down to about 5,000 very common words that are used repeatedly.” So like…..a. knowing 60k words in a language with literal millions of words is unusual but not really THAT impressive, even assuming he’s not lying, which given how Plausible his other claims are is a pretty strong possibility and b. most people have no NEED for that many words day to day anyway. Loquaciousness is not exactly a component of good horror-thriller writing either, unless you’re trying to imitate Lovecraft’s most irritating prose quirks, so, yeah. lol.)

  67. Ned N

    I just read through all the replies hoping to see the man himself respond and dig himself in deeper but sadly he hasn’t. Yet. I’ll be back later!

    • Olly_C

      That would be an interesting turn

  68. Oh my gracious. (And I’m sorry y’all had to suffer through that, especially when anxiety is part of the mix for you, as it is for me too.)

    Also, I have a fully estranged parent who is SO MUCH like this fool – just usually rather sneakier / more effective about it, unless you happen to become a target of his Wroth and Indignation – and reading all of this was extra-cathartic for me. Especially the part where it’s glaringly obvious to all and sundry how ridonk he is. THANK YOU.

    (Plus, hooray! new shiny book review site to read. *grins*)

    • Olly_C

      Glad this shenanigans helped you to find us! I can’t promise we are always as entertaining as this, but we do try

  69. Jessica S

    I think my eye started to twitch somewhere after screen 2, and by the end I was left gobsmacked. As an author, I know that not everyone will love my books. Not only is every reader allowed to have their own opinion, but sometimes those 1 star reviews are what make someone else buy the book. What the reviewer didn’t like might be exactly what the next person is looking for. Do I tend to refresh the retail pages the day after a release to see if anyone liked my book? Yep, I do. I know I shouldn’t, but I’m usually so convinced that it’s utter garbage and everyone will hate it that I decide to be brave and see if just maybe someone actually liked it. The fact he claimed to have anxiety as his reason behind the novel-length email he sent you is beyond infuriating. I suffer from anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, ADHD, and other fun things. I would never think to send an email to a reviewer, stating my mental issues, and demanding a positive review. Just wow… I’m so glad you decided to post the non-review anyway 🙂

    • Plumreads__s

      I didn’t read that entire book to not have my opinion on it posted.. trust me! Haha

      • Don’t you mean…

        But I didn’t read …

  70. Unbelievable! I laughed so much with this post. How can someone be this unprofessional and so full of themselves? I’m pretty sure the author would be the kind of person to post the navy seal copypasta meme. Ugh.

    • Plumreads__s

      Haha we were all talking about that yesterday!

    • Sam_B

      Hahaha it was 100% my first thought when I saw his email!

  71. Emily

    First: Wow. This is so near-perfect that it felt like satire–but, as someone above said, no ALL CAPS, and I can’t imagine satire leaving that out. So, it’s real then.

    Second: Just one day, for five minutes, I want this kind of confidence–to write a nine screen screed about how wonderful my writing is and how people couldn’t possibly understand it, and actually believe what was coming out of my mouth (keyboard). That must be glorious. Not a way to live, like you wouldn’t want to live your whole life on roller coaster, but for a few precious moments? If someone could bottle that…

    Third: awesome guidelines!

    • Sam_B

      Right, the things we could achieve with that level of confidence/self-delusion would be astounding. And thank you!

    • Sadly I received a very cringe worthy ramble from an ex-boss that used ALL CAPS repeatedly, as well as “u” for “you” in what she deemed a professional e-mail to send. It was no way a parody and real. She even compared herself to a Nazi in it like it was a favourable thing. It was in response to my giving intention to resign :-/

      • Oh, dear. I’m cringing too!

  72. This is bringing back memories of an associate I had when Yahoo Groups were still quite young…

    Thank you for your thoroughness! Mr Klein is staggeringly self-confident for someone crippled with anxiety. He strikes me as being about as anxious as Atilla the Hun on MDMA, but I suppose we all come across differently.

    I’ve hit the subscribe button for your site. You made a bad day much better.

    • I’m glad it was able to improve your day. Your ‘Atilla the Hun on MDMA’ made mine! Thank you for subscribing. You will find we’re a friendly lot around here (although our snark and pun games are strong).

    • Terry Tyler

      The Attilla the Hun comment is a beauty!

  73. I’m an author who *actually* suffers from anxiety. When I get reviews that are all positive I’m 100% skeptical. I still am. Like, thank you guys for the kind words, but, what’s wrong with it? I know it’s bad somewhere, isn’t it? Stop lying to me!
    I’ve taken negative feedback badly sometimes, but it’s usually from friends and we talk it out and then I make the story better. I’ve replied to reviews in my college courses because, in my experience as an editor, a back and forth discourse between author and editor is how changes get made that need to be made. **My professor and the other student didn’t see it this way, they just got mad at me for pointing out the flaws in every suggestion she’d given, like out-dated/inaccurate medical practices. But when I was given accurate hospital procedures, which went against my writing, I changed my story entirely! That’s how reviewing and editing works! (Way to make this about me… Sorry.)
    This author does NOT have anxiety. There is no way. Disgusting he would use mental illness as a tool of manipulation. He’s continually replying to reviewers on Amazon as well! What a terrible human-shaped creature, he is. I can’t imagine he’s anything but pompous ego and frothing spite wrapped in a fleshy shell.
    It’d be interesting to see how many negative reviews he *actually* receives that aren’t public…

    • Yeah being a pompous windbag is one thing but trying to fake a thing that many people legit suffer with on top of that? All sorts of pissing off going on.

      I applaud you for still striving on with your writing. As I disclosed I have it too and the idea of doing anything besides a blog post makes me want to reach for my ‘chill pills’.

      • Me: *comments on this blog post*
        Also me: *has an anxiety attack and second-guesses writing things about myself because no one wants to read that, right? I’m just being a windbag!*
        Lilyn G (fabulous to the extreme): *replies positively*
        Me: She hates me. My comment was bad.

        Literally how anxiety works. Ech. Can we just erase people like him? I hope this goes super viral and ruins his… I mean is it really a career if he only has like 10 reviews per book and many appear to be fake or friend reviews just to bolster the algorithm?

        • Yeah I don’t think he can come close to calling it a career, lol.

          Also yeah this post has went somewhat viral. The amount of views for it has blown my mind. I feel like I wanna be like “Uhm, hi everyone, welcome to the site. I swear it’s not normally like this. I only rant when I have to.” And also part of me wants to hide under the nearest rock because holy crap too much attention!

          • It’s okay. I shall join you under said rock, but not too close because no-touchie! Honestly, I love rants and i love when people are called out for their crap. <3

            • Anxiety sufferers unite! From a distance. And quietly. With no eye contact.

              I like reading people being called out for stuff too. I just don’t like being the one doing it. Haha

              • Dragon

                I wanna share the rock, I agree on the no touchie……

                • You can share. It’s a huge rock. Boulder, really.

  74. Marnie

    [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    Dean Klein’s Screed Review:

    I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading. I liked the first scene. The premise that a writer couldn’t handle constructive feedback is rich with opportunity. A great start to a good horror screed. Unfortunately, I don’t feel it really lived up to its potential.

    The protagonist is scary, I guess, but so flat and one-dimensional that it read more like a comedy. Would you ever believe that a grown adult would; in one breath mention his 40 year’s of writing experience and in the next, mention his high school compositions? It’s this sort of ham-fisted character development that dampens the suspense of this thriller.

    Honestly, I feel like this screed could have really benefitted from some editing. It goes on far too long and I found myself skimming near the end. It also completely lacked a section in all caps which I feel is a real lost opportunity to pay homage to the greats of the genre.

    2 stars

    • Oh lord. You nearly got me in trouble at work because I burst out laughing! Thank you!

    • Sian

      This is amazing

    • Sam_B

      You’ve made my morning, this is perfect!

  75. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    Wow. Mind blowing that this is real. Could easily be The Onion. Good with in posting this, and thank you.

    • Yeah, it is mind-boggling. You’re welcome!

  76. We all dread a bad review… But then our work isn’t always for everybody… So…
    Needs to get off high horse…

  77. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    Thank you for sharing this and making it public. I very much appreciate how open the book blogging community is, and how willing everyone is to share things like this as a warning to other bloggers, so we know who not to work with (as well as being a warning to authors on how not to act, my God…). You handled this well, but I’m sorry you had to handle this at all.

    • You’re welcome. I appreciate it too when people gives me a headsup.

  78. Oh my big yikes! I can’t believe I took time out of my life to read that man’s response. Ugh. Y’all did the right thing calling him out. Now other bloggers will be aware and spared the pain.

    • Sam_B

      Silver lining is that at least his email is providing endless entertainment! I don’t think he’s going to be very popular with other bloggers going forward.

  79. I can never quite fathom authors, that reach out and ask for an honest review, who then turn nasty when the response is not all singing and dancing. As a reader who is to say you will like a book just because according to the author it is well-defined and Spielberg movie quality. Hello, wake up. People give up valuable time to read your books given them the same respect that you wish to receive as an author.

    Clearly, if 20th century fox honestly thought this book would be a block buster movie they wouldn’t have put it on the burn pile. Also, if the author is as good as he claims why is he not as well known as others in his genre. Time to wake up! No 4.0 GPA or college certificate means you will automatically be abest selling author who everyone loves!

    • Terry Tyler

      Precisely – writing is something completely different from education. It’s like saying, I got a Masters in history, so I must be a great painter of historical scenes. This guy has limited talent for writing fiction. End of.

  80. Seems like, what Dean lacks in tact, he makes up for in verbosity.

  81. It would be incredible if it wasn’t true. I saw the Twitter messages yesterday and was speechless. I’m not one for following rules, necessarily, but one of the pieces of advice any author would do well to follow is not to respond to negative reviews. If you’re so happy with your writing and so convinced of how well you write, why look for reviews? If the book is fabulous, they should come anyway. If even film studios are interested, it should be selling like hotcakes.
    I agree with Terry Tyler’s comment and her diagnosis. Textbook.
    I also agree with the comments about the nature of reviews. Yes, sometimes the content of a negative review has led me to discover a book I’ve enjoyed.
    So sorry you and the team had to suffer through such experience. It’s made for an amazing post, though. And love your reaction. In name of all reviewers, thank you!

    • Thanks, Olga, and also you’re welcome. A post I wish I didn’t have to do, but sometimes it just needs done.

  82. Well, someone spat out their dummy!😂 I applaud your response and for posting this too. Some wouldn’t but stuff like this needs to be shown so that other bloggers are aware.

    • Thanks, Drew. Sometimes you just gotta make it clear how far you can be pushed.

  83. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    Whoa! I just… so full of himself that he can’t take a 4 star review? And the bit about shelved right next to Stephen King – HYSTERICAL! Thanks for posting this. It made my day!

    • Yeah when Sian pointed that out about the author note we all just about died laughing.

      • Dear Mr. Klein,

        In your letter, you state that a reviewer liked your book ‘a lot’ better than the Harry Potter books.

        I will have you know that I have personally spoken to a movie producer, and that more than thirty (!!!) five star reviews and several very famous British celebrities have said my books are excellent. This proves your alleged “reviewer” is not correct, my books are FLAWLESS

  84. Heather

    [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    Damn. As an author, you have to take all constructive criticism in stride. Acting like an ass never gets you anywhere.

  85. [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    Yikes! What is wrong with this bloke?! The sheer arrogance is beyond me. Just reading his emails was infuriating me.
    I struggle to list 4 or 5 positive things about myself without feeling embarrassed, this dude has 4 pages!! Good way to get himself on every ‘do not read’ list there is!

  86. Lindsay

    [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
    Wowza. I saw this on Twitter and I went on a rabbit hole of looking at his Amazon reviews—most of the five-star reviews are written by reviewers who only have that one review, and almost all of them refer to the author as “Mr. Klein,” and very few are “verified purchases.” So on top of all of this other nutty stuff, I strongly suspect all of those reviews are by Mr. Klein himself.

    • Sam_B

      Quite the rabbit hole to fall down, isn’t it?

  87. Terry Tyler

    Oh well, well, well said. I stand and applaud.

    I read other (vitriolic, pompous and downright rude) comments he had left on Amazon reviews that were not glowing, and they were enough to convince me that this man has Narcisstic Personality Disorder (if that it’s real, it should be, just for Mr Klein). Yeah, and TAD. That’s Total Asshole Disorder.

    After I read what you posted on Twitter yesterday, I went to Amazon and read the ‘Look Inside’ for Hell’s Shadows. It was far from ‘flawless’; it was boring, amateur, and ticked every ‘bad writing’ box. Most notable is that none of his books sell; the Amazon rankings indicate that he sells possibly one book every few months. Also, those glowing reviews; I checked out four of them, three of which were written by people who had not reviewed any other books. A few general products, but not books.

    A book blogger friend and I have a theory that the worse the writer, the more savagely they throw their toys out of the pram. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about all of this.

    • Sam_B

      The consensus seems to be that “flawless” is stretching it more than a little. And really, regardless of the quality of the writing, there’s just no excuse for this level of bad behaviour!

    • [* Shield plugin marked this comment as “0”. Reason: Failed GASP Bot Filter Test (checkbox) *]
      Am I the only one to pose this question? IF the man is genuinely suffering from a mental health issue, does it make it right to name and shame him? I do hope this blog post doesn’t result in some kind of tragedy.

      His tirade appears to me to have all the classic signs of a florid psychotic episode but I’m not qualified to say for certain. I just have enough experience of a close association with forensic psychiatry in the past.

      • You are the first person to bring it up, I believe. However I refuse to accept the stance that I must quietly take verbal abuse without clapping back. I have mental health issues myself. It doesn’t give anyone a free pass to be an ass.

        • I may be the first but that per se does not invalidate my comment.
          There’s a big difference between psychosis and MH issues.
          If he truly is simply an ass, I understand your stance. Time will tell.
          In no way am I being critical of you. Just making what could be a valid observation.

          • You are right. It doesn’t invalidate your comment.

            There needs to be more discourse about mental health. I have been in a few twitter convos because of this where writers admitted they had anxiety and talked to each other about how it is okay to talk about it, but when it is/is not appropriate to bring up in certain settings.

          • Marnie

            I think it’s a huge disservice to assume someone who is acting in an abusive, angry and aggressive way should be shielded from criticism because there’s the possibility that it might stem from a psychosis. When he wrote this screed, he didn’t worry that the recipient might have PTSD from an abusive family or intimate relationship. He didn’t spend any time thinking about the recipient because the only person he was thinking about is himself. Based on his (possibly unreliable) account of himself he’s at least 60, unless he is counting a 40 year professional career that started before his 20s. He deserves treatment for any disorders he might have but he is still accountable for his behavior.

            • I assume nothing. Simply posing a what if. You’re right it doesn’t excuse his behaviour.
              I’m not defending him. Simply saying what if.
              I’m shielding him from nothing. Please don’t shoot the messenger.

              • Marnie

                Here’s the thing, I live in the US, you might as well, and every time a white guy bombs or shoots or rapes someone in a dramatic fashion, there are a million hot takes about whether maybe we should go easy on him and consider that he might have a mental health issue. It sounds good. I am all for better mental health care. I’ve dealt with my own mental health issues, but the actual impact is to silence the person or people who were hurt instead of calling out the hurtful person.

                This is a really low-stakes example. Someone being bad at taking negative feedback isn’t the same as a shooting, but his tone in this email is 100% the sort of behavior an abusive person uses to control others. If he needs help, I want him to get it but not at the expense of silencing people who have had to deal with his abuse.

                And this is not shooting the messenger. I assume if you make a public point you are open to discussing it. That’s a conversation not an execution.

                • Of course I’m open to discussing it. Its a subject close to my heart.

                  I have personal and professional experience of mental illness.

                  I’m so pleased I am not to be executed for saying what if.

                  I have made it abundantly clear I’m not excusing him. He clearly has serious issues.

                  What concerns me is the focus on him and what that could lead to if he is truly psychotic.

                  The problem is Marnie, this isn’t the appropriate forum for the debate. I don’t know how or where to continue it.

                  • Marnie

                    I guess I don’t see a debate here. You cannot diagnose him you can only say that a writer sent an abusive email. This email is consistent with how he interacts with people online when they don’t like his work. He wants to be a professional writer. Sending abusive emails when someone gives you feedback will ensure you are never successful with that goal. One of two things will happen if he reads these comments. He will decide we are all beneath him or that all publicity is good publicity and spin this as more proof of his brilliance, or he’ll realize he’s made a complete ass of himself and maybe start to work on the issue. Guess which one will be better for his career?

                    If you are saying you want to discuss improving mental healthcare access in the US, this is probably not the forum to advance that goal.

                    • Now you seem to have changed the goal posts.

                      It’s late where I am. I’ll answer you in full tomorrow.

                      I must say it’s you who seems to assume things not me. Goodnight.

                    • Hi Marnie, Let’s leave it with your comment – “If you are saying you want to discuss improving mental healthcare access in the US, this is probably not the forum to advance that goal” I agree with that.

                      In the UK (I’m from there) we have a Mental Health Awareness week on right now. The whole point of my comments originally to Lilyn, was to legitimately ask if peeps had stopped to ponder if this guy has a SERIOUS mental health issue, not simply anxiety.

                      You entered at that point and appear to have your own set thoughts on the issue. That’s fine. Maybe you’re right. Who knows?

  88. Beware Of The Reader

    WTH??? Saw this on Twitter and you just won another follower because…come on! I really appreciate your no bullsh** policy and honesty while trying to be respectful. That’s what I always try to do because as you said reviews are meant for readers first but of course it takes guts to publish and we should respect that.
    More pompous than that and delusionnal I have not seen so far!!! Thanks for sharing!

    • To be fair, I have my moments when I’m not so nice but that’s because I tend to say exactly what I’m thinking and I don’t seem to have that filter that everyone else around me does. I hardly ever mean anything by it, it’s just what I thought so it’s what I said.

    • Thanks for the follow!

  89. Steven Spielberg’s agent xD oh this is good morning reading indeed! What I can’t believe is that you actually have that clause in your review policy, and what a smart thing it was to put it there. I am in awe. The best part of his rant is where he says that the review that gave him four stats was high School level 😀 this guy is basically what’s wrong with the patriarchy xD I can’t believe they actually exist. Like, okay, I knew they exist, but I also didn’t really believe it in my heart of hearts. Well, now I know xD

    I also wonder where all of those aforementioned reviews of his are. Goodreads is empty. And if so many Hollywood movie makers are after his book, I really wonder why he needs to waste his time explaining this in such a lengthy letter? 😀

    I hope you are going to be posting this to the retailers and to Goodreads. It just needs to be there.

    • I put it there after a confrontation with a different author troll that I didn’t handle correctly. (I gave in.) After that I vowed never again. I don’t regret it, lol.

  90. OMG!! I don’t even know what to say. I’m actually flabbergasted. Another author to put on the NEVER buy list.

    • It took me a few minutes to move past incoherent rage, lol.

  91. cathbilson

    … He LITERALLY pulled an Anne Rice “They’re interrogating the text from the wrong perspective” = “was unable to appreciate the high-concept etc etc blah blah blah oh god I don’t want to read any more of this idiot’s LETTER let alone 600 pages of his shitty, overblown book.”

    For someone so educated, he’s clearly failed to educate himself on one of the primary rules of being an author; DO NOT ENGAGE WITH REVIEWERS.

    • Yep. It’s more than a little ridiculous!

  92. OMG I thought we was a plank when i had just read the excerpts of his email on Twitter, now that I have read the whole transcript, i think I want to cry, I think I have finally found the source of the infamous deluded juice ( sorry it;s in injoke from work), how one person can be so unaware of their own pomposity baffles me.

    You handled this with way more grace and civility than I ever could.

    • Yeah he is a whole extra level of special. Thanks, Jim!

  93. I find it hard to believe there are people like this in the world.

    • Yeah. This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered crap like this and I still boggle.

    • I hang out on YouTube, this kind of stuff is very unsurprising. This guy’s response reminds me of a certain YT’ers reaction to people criticizing his ‘book’. And I use that term loosely

  94. Ooooh … anyone else tempted to show the author some of King’s mixed bag of reviews? The hubris in thinking the book shelving wasn’t by genre and then alphabetical by author! This guy arguably must be pretty unique, though, if capable of doing a highly professional editing job on his own work; no one I know (including myself) can. Can you imagine — after his reaction to reviews — his reaction to edits if he did hire a pro?

    FYI, unless amazon changed policies since I edited my account there, “verified purchaser” (like using “real name”) is an option not every customer selects. Not that where anyone buys/downloads/borrows a book has anything to do with the quality of the book itself.

    • Oh god, he would probably fire them and flee the room in tears. LOL

    • And tell them they JUST DON’T GET IT

  95. Lilyn, thanks for posting all this. Sorry you had to deal with such a pompous windbag.

    I’ve known several really arrogant people in my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a rantallion before.

    60,000 words in his personal vocabulary? Contacted by the vice president of 20th Century Fox? Had his work read by Steven Spielberg’s agent?

    Good lord.

    • He probably thinks he is the Good Lord. Lmao.

  96. Hoooooooooooooooooooooooolyyyyyyyyyyyyy SHIT. That was one of the biggest clusterfucks I’ve ever read in my life. Kudos to you all for not completely losing your ever-loving minds on this guy!

    • Yes it really was. Thank you.

  97. Stormi D Johnson

    Well, that makes me put his book on the never read pile, what a piece of work!

  98. This is the equivalent of one of my students getting a C on their paper from me and telling me, seriously, that they are an “A student” and want the grade changed.

    Paul Fussell made the point in one of his essays that a fiction author puts work out there to the public, and should be ready for whatever the public thinks. It’s not the author’s job to tell the reader what the reader should think about the book.

    The best answer to a bad review? Write another book, preferably a better one. (Maybe the unfavorable review has some good solid points that less critical readers happened to overlook.)

    The worst answer to a bad review? Writing a letter that attempts to answer it. Fussell’s essay I’ve mentioned was about authors who made the mistake of writing letters to the editors of publications where they got bad reviews. Invariably, the author claims to be talents at the craft of writing, producing works which are filled with human emotion and genuine characters, and have reaped all sorts of praise and awards.

    Yeah, like the guy you’ve just quoted via screen shot. I couldn’t believe how similar that was to the letters Fussell quoted.

    Hey, not everybody is going to like a book, even best-seller top-100-of-all-time books. A PROFESSIONAL author best get used to that truth.

    • Wow. I mean I knew there had to be more like him out there, but damn.

      • Oh, yeah. And Fussell’s reaction was not much different from yours:
        “If the bad review has made him look like a ninny,” Fussell says about the type of prickly author who can’t stomach criticism, “his letter of outrage makes him look like an ass.”

        • Oh, I like this fellow.

    • Love what you said! Just wanted to say hi!!!

      • And hello to you, too, Grace!

  99. WOW. This guy is so incredibly full of himself, and if that longass email he sent is indicative of his writing HARD PASS. It’s because of authors like this that I don’t often accept review requests from authors directly anymore — I don’t enjoy being abused.

    The thing that always gets me with authors like this is that negative reviews don’t always deter me from reading a book? A lot of times the reasons a reviewer lists a book not being for them screams “THIS IS FOR ME!” Really, no two readers read the same book.

    Kudos to you for sticking to your guns and letting us reviewers know not to touch this guy’s work with a 30 foot pole. And given how he tried to bully you, I seriously call into question all his “positive reviews.”

    • Yeah, I am the same way. What one person hates another person may love.

      And you’re welcome. I don’t like to make a fuss but sometimes it needs done.

  100. Don

    The last sentence of this article was priceless. And true, too.

  101. This windbag makes me wish the “dramatic reading” meme was still a thing. Sorry you had to deal with him, but thank you for the public shaming, because I got a good laugh along with the eye rolling.

    • At least some good came of it!

    • Or something!

  102. What an absolute chump. All power to the integrity of your team.

  103. Oh wow… like… wow… I got bored after the 3rd screen shot of the self price and arrogant reply Haha that was all I needed to know and read to be like… this is too much, bye.

    Thank you for sharing this with us!

    • Yeah I can’t even admit to reading every word of that self-indulgent drivel.

      • It is so sad that we have to deal with this sort of behaviors… They should teach modesty in college too… just saying XD

        • They shouldn’t have to, but yeah I wish they did.

          • Hmmm yeah… maybe it is an issue coming from the house? I don’t know :/edutis such a complicated topic xD

  104. Bwahhhh!!!! hahahahaha!
    Is this for real?
    Come on, Lilyn, are you pulling our leg?
    This is too funny to be real!
    Way to break up the routine, kids.
    Happy Trails!
    I’m off to snob school. I obviously don’t know what I’m doing.

    • Oh how I wish we were just trolling the masses, lol. yes, get thee to a snobbery!

  105. I- wow. My god, trying to read this man’s essay of a response had me eye-rolling hard enough to make me look possessed. As a new reviewer and blogger, this is the reason I’m always nervous when asked to review from an author. Thankfully not all are like this atrocious excuse of a man. Thank you for sharing this with your followers. I’m definitely never planning on reviewing or reading anything of his!

    • Yeah. It was ridiculous. You’re welcome 🙂

    • Don’t let this discourage you. There are some very lovely authors out there!

  106. I am blown away by this author’s temper tantrum! Deepest sympathies for all you, having to deal with such a horribly behaved person.
    I’m sharing this on my Twitter, will boycott this author, and I hope that other people will do the same.

      • I also shared this to my personal fb page. I hope this is won’t happen to you again. It’s utterly ridiculous.

        • Oh, it will. But we will clap back always.

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