My holiday reading reviews (incl. @stephenleather @btrovato @brendanjack)

January 9th, 2012 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “My holiday reading reviews (incl. @stephenleather @btrovato @brendanjack)”

Planning to do absolutely nothing over the holiday period and catch up on some reading proved to be extremely fruitful. Yay me. Here’s a very brief lowdown on what I read, and how awesome they were.


The Tunnel Rats – Stephen Leather (@stephenleather)

This book really hit home for me as the core of it is based around a team of ‘Nam-vets who were stationed in and around the tunnels during the Vietnam war. I’m very fortunate enough to have visited a section of the tunnels in Cu Chi, even crawled through one, so having that as a base (I imagine) really helped me fully understand the extent of what they were going through.

The story follows a series of murders around the world, investigated by British Transport Police initially and followed by FBI, fake-FBI, Thai authorities and more, ending up with a BTP sergeant, a hired assassin, the ‘Nam vets and the killer navigating their way through the tunnels in search of the truth. An awesome book for anyone who loves a good crime thriller.


American Assassin – Vince Flynn (Website)

I’m a big fan of spy books, like Stephen Leather’s “Dan Shepherd” or Barry Eisler’s “John Rain” series’, so when Rich bought me American Assassin for Christmas, I knew it would be a goodie. This is my first “Mitch Rapp” book, which is great, ‘cos American Assassin has been written as a prequel to Vince Flynn’s 11 other books, with one more being launched in a few weeks. Excellent.

Mitch Rapp fans haven’t given it the greatest reviews, but with no history of his antics through the series this was a phenomenal start. It covers his initial draft to becoming an agent, and through his first missions. With a thirst for revenge after terrorists gunned down an airplane with his girlfriend on board, killing bad guys is his first priority, and he’s phenomenal at it. A superb spy book that has started my drive to finish them all. Can’t wait.


The Whipping Boy – Ben Trovato (@btrovato)

Ben Trovato is one mad cat. Smart, funny, crazy, he manages to make you think on a whole new level regarding current affairs, while also shaking your head in disbelief as to how he actually landed at each conclusion. I think it may have to do with the drinking, or perhaps a few very hefty drags of fine cannabis, as he takes you on several journeys through articles he wrote for the Sunday Times (which brought back some great memories of ridiculous happenings in our lovely little country), heated rants to various members of community and bizarre letters of employment to random organisations.

It’s a particularly easy read, as each letter or article is short and punchy enough to get the message across with ease, simplicity and big kick to whoever’s balls he’s targeting (Helen Zille’s included). I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I felt a little dirty after reading it. I do, however, wish I knew how he came up with some of the content he creates. He’s one smart mo’fo’.


Empire – Brendan Jack (@brendanjack)

“Empire: How to Succeed with Nothing but Passion, Great Ideas and a Wealthy Family” is, as you can imagine, a hilarious tongue-in-cheek review from a spoilt rich kid’s perspective of making it big in life. I filed it under “Business” on my Kindle because (and I was as surprised as you may be) there were honestly some great lessons in it that made me think. I know, crazy.

I’ve always enjoyed Brendan’s humour, and it’s followed through with a tornado in Empire. If Richard Branson, Bono, The Queen and Barack Obama all shared a god-child, Lucien Dunlop Fantasia would be him. Able to buy anything (and I mean anything) at a whim, or brunching with celebrities you’ve forgotten about (but are still super famous), mixed with a penchant for hover boards and scented reading pillows, he’s done it. Lucien goes through life learning lessons from investing in ridiculous businesses to spending time in jail to drug-binges beyond compare, finally ending up in the great world of advertising, successfully selling denim fridge jackets, dildo alarm clocks and Ouma rusks. Okay I lied about the rusks, but I’m sure he had a hand in that too.

An absolutely hilarious and engaging book about the utmost extreme edge of where life could be, with a few great gems hidden inside. My favourite: Water always picks the shortest route to flow downhill. Water may be lazy, but it’s also powerful. Find this balance.

Overall, a fantastic holiday spent working my way through four phenomenal books. If you think like me, act like me and like the things I like, you’ll love all of them.

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