Steve Vincent's Top Five for Thriller Readers

This week we hear from my author mate Steve Vincent on his top five for thriller readers. Take it away Steve...

I’ve never been a ‘favourite’ kind of guy. I can’t name an absolute favourite movie or book or song or travel destination, but instead enjoy a wide variety of all of these (and other) things. This puts me at a natural disadvantage when trying to write blog posts on the topic.

My own writing is a good example of this. The themes my Jack Emery series covers vary widely in scope. The Foundation deals with the concentration of the media, the power that unelected individuals can wield, and the chaos both can cause in certain circumstances. State of Emergency deals with the extent to which laws can be enacted and freedoms curtailed in order to defeat terrorism, and the risks in doing so. The newest, Nations Divided (released 10 December), is about the lengths some individuals and groups will go to in order to win, and the potentially shattering consequences of their actions. Each theme is different, fun to write about and important to me.   

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EVOLUTION - IT'S HAPPENING

There are lots of examples in the world right now of why it is so important to encourage young minds towards good rather than evil. Terrorism, political corruption, cyber bullying – you name it and there’ll be a story about it somewhere in the news today. The biggest issue that strikes me is the opportunity for evil to inveigle its way into the minds of pliable young men who are not being otherwise positively engaged in their daily lives. We need more examples globally of how we should behave towards each other rather than the far too many current examples of how we should not. In a nutshell, we need role models.

And role modelling begins in the home.

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PISTOLS AT DAWN

I've seen a lot of examples of great collaboration over the years, we all have: Lennon & McCartney, Holmes & Watson, Lois & Clark (a little nod to our Kate Stone there), Richard Burton & Elizabeth Taylor, Gin & Tonic. The list goes on. And the basis of all those successful collaborations is that each ingredient, person or otherwise, must seamlessly and willingly complement the other. 

Now, for every successful collaborative association I've ever witnessed there have been, unfortunately, almost as many absolute failures. And as I have a perverse fascination with the workplace as a petri dish for the fungi of social interaction, I thought I'd give some thought to some of those failures and what seems to be the common theme or themes behind them.

Relying on reflection as the substrate to my sociological observations I realised that I have witnessed numerous botched attempts at collaboration in the workplace all of which have, unsurprisingly, failed dismally. When I consider what the primary cause of those failures has been, the words misunderstanding and mistrust spring to mind, followed in quick succession by themes like suspicion, conspiracy and retribution. All of which ultimately result in, to varying degrees, damage. Sometimes irreparably so.

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UNSOCIAL MEDIA

Isn’t it ironic, don’t you think, that we’ve all seemingly gravitated towards this collective self-loathing over our obsession with social media to the point that we are now posting admonishing or other finger-pointing-type memes about the pitfalls of said obsession on our social media platforms? 

Seriously, we’re like moths to a flame with our smart phones, tablets, laptops or whatever. If it’s there we have to look at it, even if what we’re looking at is utter drivel, which it mostly is. I saw one today – yes, I know – that said ‘We’re swamped by information yet devoid of wisdom’. How true! I mean, how many times can you watch that clip of an athlete falling down hard on a race, getting up and continuing to run, with the video clip culminating in treacle about her inspiration and heroism? 

I don’t know how many times as schoolboys my friends and I hit to dirt hard during sporting events, lost bark, bled, got concussed, got up and got on with it. No one filmed it. It wasn’t inspirational. It wasn’t heroic. It was just life. You might have been lucky enough for one of the parents to call out from the sidelines, ‘Up you get mate.’ And, off you’d go again. Do we really need to see that over and over? No, we don’t.

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WONDER WOMAN

There are occasions in our lives when we have the good fortune of meeting people who are genuinely making a difference in the world, every day, without attention, accolade or reward. Sadly, those occasions are all too rare but when they do happen it is quite simply a privilege. When I deployed to East Timor in late 1999 on a humanitarian mission for CARE Australia, I met an incredibly humble, quietly spoken, hard-working, ridiculously smart Canadian nutrition specialist who had devoted her life to changing the lives of others. So, when I learned that this issue of GLOSS was to be all about ‘Game changers’, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to introduce you to a great friend of mine and real-time game changer, and there’s no better way for you to get to know her better than in her own words. 

So, ladies and gentlemen, please meet Allison Tuffs.

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THE COMPLETE 180

There’s been a series of incredibly cool photos doing the rounds online this week featuring 31 year old Sean Connery and 26 year old Ursula Andress, shot between takes during the filming of the very first James Bond film, Dr No.

The pictures provide a ‘time and place’ snapshot of a barely known young Scottish actor clearly out to impress a stunningly beautiful, completely unknown Swiss actress, both totally at ease with each other while utterly oblivious to the international mega-stardom that was just weeks away.

Considering where that film took ultimately Connery and Ursula’s now iconic white bikini scene, what is so remarkable about the photos is the innocence of Connery’s adolescent displays of physical prowess while the clearly impressed Andress looks on. It suggests a time when life was much more simple.

Men were men. Women were women. Men wore the pants. Women hung around looking beautiful in bikinis and all it took to impress them were a few handstands. Good times. 

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