Mitch Rapp, James Bond & Jack Reacher

A couple of months ago (for my birthday) I received two “BERKELOUW  Books” gift vouchers from Dopey Daughter and Emma Boo & Luke; and a week or so ago I was browsing through their delightful little bookstore in Mona Vale and espied a boxed set of 6 books by Vince Flynn, aptly named “The Collection”.

I suppose you could call it a “Double Trilogy” pity there’s no such word as “Sexogy” I suppose if there were then the damned Microsoft spell checker would want to start bunging an ‘r’ in there between the ‘g’ and ‘y’.

But then maybe it should be ‘Sexlogy’ which isn’t the easiest thing in the world to say out loud. But back to the gift vouchers and the books; the cost of this “Collection” was the exact amount of one of the vouchers so I considered it fate and bought it.

For those of you not aware of Vince Flynn and his writings I’ll put you into the picture regarding some of his writings. You could say that he’s Americas answer to Ian Fleming in that he has a super hero; one Mitch Rapp.

Now Mitch is not like James Bond in that he doesn’t have an ‘M’ to come up with all his weird and wonderful gadgets. Mitch is like James Bond on steroids. He doesn’t need a licence to kill. He’s an assassin pure and simple; that’s his job working for the CIA. And believe me he’s good at his job.

The pace of these books is fast and furious, flat out nonstop from go to whoa! They probably average around 450 -500 pages each. I’m into the last of the six at the moment so I suppose I’ve averaged a trilogy a week which is not bad going when you consider everything else I do during each day.

It’s only in the last few years that I’ve starting reading books in this genre. They’re light and easy to read and don’t require too much thought, come to think of it they don’t require any; which suits me fine at my time of life.

Speaking of Ian Fleming and James Bond it occurs to me that I’ve never read any of Mr Flemings books. Perhaps I should use the other gift voucher to bring myself up to scratch. Trouble is they would probably appear quite dated. Maybe I should read his works, I’d probably start comparing him to John Le Carré a master storyteller if there ever was one. Real classics!

I suppose an explanation as to what got me onto reading this fare is warranted so I’ll try and keep it a brief as possible but anybody knowing me knows that’s nigh on an impossibility. 😉

Four or five years ago a chum suggested I stop reading all ‘the hard stuff’ and relax and just read something light and easy that didn’t require much thought or intelligence; as I wasn’t getting any younger and I might just as well read something light and easy.Mind you he was in his early 80s and I was only a young buck around 74-75.

Anyway it seems he and a local group of mates swapped their books around and he asked if I’d ever read any of the “Reacher” books. I said “Who?” and he said “Jack Reacher” I said I’d never heard of him and he told me that “Reacher” was a character in books by some bloke by the name of Lee Child and again I said “Who?”. Anyway to cut a long story I went to the Manly library and found they had a couple of books by this Child’s fellow so I took them out and must admit that they were fun to read.

Absolutely ridiculous story lines but light and easy and didn’t require much thought and I kind of became hooked on this genre.

The superhero!

And to digress here for a minute I notice that Hollywood has made a movie about “Reacher”, I think they even called it that; now “Reacher is an ex Major of the USMC stands around 6’5” weighs in around 250 lbs and has hands the size of hams. And who does Hollywood cast to play the part of this ogre/giant?

You guessed it! Tom Cruise; could anything be more ludicrous?

He stands knee high to a grasshopper. Reminds me of Alan Ladd (now I’m dating myself) who stood around 5’4″ (Cruise may be slightly taller), Ladd starred in a film with Sophia Loren that statuesque Italian beauty; in “Boy on a Dolphin” in one scene Ladd was required to kiss Loren and apparently he stood on a box so that he could look down on Loren and she could look up at him.

So is it any wonder that the moneyed idiots in Hollywood chasing more money cast Cruise in the part of “Reacher”?

To cut that long story a bit shorter; the Manly library only had 2 or 3 “Reacher” books and I asked the librarian for suggestions for books along the same lines and he suggested Vince Flynn and Mitch Rapp so now we’re back pretty much to the starting point of this little rave!   🙂

After a couple of weeks of Mitch Rapp I think it’s time I got serious, I’ve now knocked off the six books and it’s been fun. I wonder why Hollywood hasn’t cashed in on Mr Rapp.

Now to be serious for a moment; there are two books that I must read again before I die, the two books that I remember most and had a great bearing on my way of thinking these last 60 or more years.

I know the only way to get copies is to go on line as they are both out of print. The first is “Yankee RN” written in the early 1950’s by Commander Alex H. Cherry RNVR. A brave American who broke the USA Neutrality Act to go join up with the British at the beginning of WWII. His name is engraved on a plaque in the Painted Hall (where Nelsons body  lay after Trafalgar) along with those of a few fellow countrymen, lauded by Winston Churchill.

My brother gave me this book for my 16th birthday I did not put it down until I’d read it through completely.

I literally laughed and I cried all the way through!

The other is “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck, I bought and read this book after seeing the movie starring inter alia James Dean. The movie was great, how Hollywood produced such a triumph is beyond me but in this instance they did: so much so that I went and bought the book. I became devoted to Steinbeck from then on.

In 2008 I had the pleasure of visiting the Steinbeck Museum in Salinas California. I was overwhelmed by his presence and the lump in my throat developed into tears in my eyes and I felt encompassed by him.

Unfortunately the other “BERKELOUW Books” gift vouchers won’t get me these two books but I’m sure I’ll find something in their collection that will grab me.   🙂

All comments appreciated and acknowledged

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