Amazon's Worst Reviewer

I was looking at the reviews on Amazon of a book I just finished and found a truly weird one-star review that seemed to have nothing to do with the book. I almost never do this but for some reason I clicked on the guy’s name to see what other reviews he’d done.

I fell down the rabbit hole.

Chris Roberts has posted 626 reviews on Amazon. (As of 1/20/14. He writes ten or so a week.) Every last one is a one-star review. Many of them signed, Chris Roberts, God.

A troll? Obviously. Certainly. A famous troll, who gets written up in the indie book world all the time because he picks on them in particular. He casts a wider net, though, with lots of nonfiction as well. Because he comments on not-so-famous books, his one-star reviews brings down the average, sometimes severely.

And this is the topper. He is a respected short-story writer, nominated for the Pushcart Prize. (He won’t be again, is my guess.)

I’m amazed I never heard of this guy before. Now that I have, I inflict him on you. Read some of his reviews. I one-star dare you.

Just another masturbatory douchebag.

First reaction: young writer trying to find an alternative way to get eyes on his work. Maybe a clever idea.

On actually reading: hack.

Thank you. He seems an excellent poet, in the modern mode.

He calls himself “Lord High Executioner of the Amazon One-Star Review”…

I’m not sure if he is worse than obvious paid shills, of which there are many. Or the trainwreckiness of authors (etc.) responding to reviews.


Yes. Having read up on Vachel Lindsay the other day, it reaffirmed my uninterest in the moderns, but this fellow’s stuff seems as valid as any.

*Down in Birmingham
Clockwork racist Bull Connor
High Lord of buzz cut politics.
[snip – twickster]

What sort of citizen goes into the American woods and builds himself an English cabin that is made out in plaster and shingles? It goes against the very grain (pun intended) of the all-American, throw-it-up, log cabin which is entirely more conducive to the sounds and smells of nature pouring through its ill-fitted logs. How quaint this English cabin, wrong on so many levels. Perhaps our man Thoreau was an English spy, plotting to overthrow the Stars and Stripes with his army of muskrats, turtles and butterflies.

*Lena Dunham Collected

Being Lena Dunham Or How the Writing in Her Book Convinces Me She’s Being Paid With Counterfeit Money

[snip – twickster]

*I take Henry Kissinger down from the shelf, dust him off with a few sentences and then put him back in his place.

Kissinger has a barren aesthetic sense, is obsessive-compulsive on an intellectual level and an analytical, anti-humanity devours his every page. He is more a robotic policy propagator, lacking empathy and a heartbeat.

The author is not about peoples in a world order, it’s about players faring as they should, incidental and inclusive and that is their lot absent outside intervention.

Henry Kissinger can never be anymore than a Richard M. Nixon groupie and an underboss in the first presidential mafia. This is his epithet. Go, already, into that good night.*
He’s not wrong.

He certainly does have a chip on his shoulder.

He sounds deranged. Does he write all his reviews while drunk?

I’ve seen this guy’s reviews on amazon.

One needn’t be a mental-health professional to recognize that this poor fellow has serious mental/psychological issues.

It’s sad that he feels such a compulsion to degrade himself like he does.

I’m surprised anyone takes him seriously.

Man, what a dick!

The guy’s probably cum drunk. He musta blown the interviewer. He’s got dildo breath.

Seriously, though, that whole linked article shows the circle-jerk nature of what passes for journalism these days. Let’s review reviews!

I wish that reviewer had asked the only relevant questions.

  1. Do you actually read, all the way through, the books you review?

  2. What is good writing and who is doing it?

All I can say is, “Better Amazon than here.” We get pigeon* whack-jobs here often enough.

*Pigeon x: flies in, shits all over everything, flies out again. Commonly used with “boss”, “inspector”, or “reviewer”.

I think the answer to question 1 can only be “no”, and to question 2, “Good writing is what Chris Roberts writes”. What an ass.

For a couple of years around 2010, there was a guy (JRL I think) whose reviews of classical CDs all followed the same model:

  • 5-6 lines: life of the composer.
  • 5-6 lines: chronology of the major works.
  • last line: good interpretations, well recorded.

Invariably 4 or 5 stars.


10% find his comments helpful, which seems like too many people until you consider that’s probably the same figure that have bought magnetic wristbands.

It may be his epitaph; his epithet, however, is more likely “Schweinhund!”

I dunno. There are a lot of people out there who won’t take an indie book seriously until it’s gotten some bad reviews. It’s supposed to prove that somebody except the author’s mom and piano teacher read it.

So maybe he’s doing a service?

Oh Darn,

I wrote a post for this thread. But it was just too embarassing for me to post it. I was going to send it to you in a Private Message. But it looks like the OP does not want to receive any PMs.

So, Expano, please let me know if you are available to receive a PM from me and hopefully, we can work something out. OK?

Off topic and slightly outdated, but the Amazon reviews of Henry Raddick remain great fun.