Wednesday, December 17, 2014

RESTORATION - what's it all about?

"As an uncle, I want to say I hope Oscar will start on his healing process as he walks down the path of restoration. As a family we are ready to support and guide Oscar as he serves his sentence." - Arnold Pistorius.

RESTORATION (also referred to as 8RESTORATION) is the 8th and final narrative in the Oscar Pistorius Murder Trial eBook Series. Written over the first three weeks of December 2014, before and after the state's successful application for Appeal, the authors examine a brand new narrative theme.

RESTORATION, in sum, seeks to interrogate hope in the face of #B$. How do we maintain course, how do we break out of the jails of our own making (even when these have become our home) and what gets us to change course when our world is far from perfect (and so are we)?

Over the course of the RESTORATION narrative, the authors - van der Leek and Wilson - draw on all their resources to tie the remaining loose ends together. No stone is left unturned; no character in the familiar cast is spared their scrutiny. The result:


Unusually, in their analysis of the Heads of Argument (HOA) Gerrie Nel is targeted for dropping the baton in several instances whilst his courtroom adversary, Barry Roux, is ushered into an even harsher spotlight. Carl Pistorius, Oscar's pious brother [aka 'Titanium Hulk'] is also placed under a magnifying glass and tested for #B$.

Although the authors intended to touch lightly on evidence and unanswered questions, their investigations were so fruitful the majority of the RESTORATION narrative is 'all about Oscar'. Only towards the final chapters do the authors graduate the narrative away from secret whatsapp messages and updated scenarios to take the narrative outside, deep into the heart of the mountain.

Highlights include:
- the startling similarities between Dewani and Oscar's plea statements
- an in-depth study of the crime scene
- a much deeper contextualisation of social media and other communications
- a re-examination of motive
- a re-examination of what Oscar was actually thinking at the time he fired those shots

Doors will be blasted open, and in the still floating debris, the reader will be asked to walk on through the smoke to the other side. Do you dream, or do you dare? 

Order your copy here.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: THE DEVIL SMOKES DUNHILL: The (un)inspiring (satirical) story of a man's journey into the mad bad world of South Africa's Media Milieu (Kindle Edition)
I love Nick's narrative style of writing. It makes me feel so inclusive and part of the story.
I was first introduced to his books through my concerns relating to Reeva Steenkamps murder.. (see my review of his book Transcendence).

To date he has written 7 books relating to the issues surrounding the Oscar Pistorius trial so

there was a lot of reading and appreciating his energy, honesty and intelligent, well researched approach to the legal, moral, ethical issues surrounding the case. I learnt so much. In some of the books he was joined by Lisa Wilson who has such an impressive knowledge of the legal issues but interestingly it could be argued a tempering affect on Nicks content. A bit of a Lennon and McCartney partnership.

And then Nick was unleashed from Lisa and wrote The Devil Smokes Dunhill!!
I agree with previous reviewer. It is an amazing book, so witty, acerbic, insightful and thought provoking. Reading the book can be a hard read. I laughed, was angry, frustrated and at times sad.

On Nicks first day at work he was told by his boss, His Devil that he could not write.
This controlling belief was drawn upon at every opportunity both from his boss and from Nicks mind.

A similar tactic was used when I worked in the health care business and heard people describing some nurses as unprofessional. Such a subjective phrase but one used to say you are not behaving like me so therefore you must be unprofessional. Its controlling undermining bullying and can be deeply wounding.

Now the best bit. I saved reading the book until I took a trip on the train from Brighton to Cologne. Thought it would give me lots of time to think and reflect on the books content.
On the Eurostar train from London to Brussels I shared a carriage with a group of banking and insurance colleagues who had to attend a meeting in Lille.

When I reached the section describing The Devil I couldnt stop laughing. Some of the laughter was a nervous giggle thinking Oh No Nick you cannot say that to My God I wish I had the vocabulary to describe what a dreadful boss I once had.

I wont repeat any of Nicks descriptions of his boss His Devil. Dont want to spoil it for you.But it is so worth reading. One member of the group asked me what I was reading. My tablet was then passed around for everyone to read the section. The carriage came alive! Everyone was discussing their experiences and wondering if a certain person who worked with them could be described in a similar manner! It got very heated at times!

Now back to the review! Whilst the book is focused on Nicks Devil it gives you an interesting snapshot into the world of journalism.

On a negative point. I thought the ending stopped short or to keep to the train theme seemed to run out of steam. Still an excellent and must read tho.
Finally, throughout the book I kept wondering if The Devil had read the book The Set Up to Fail Syndrome: How Good Managers Cause Great People to Fail Syndrome: by Jean-Francois Manzoni and Jean-Louis Barsoux.

Maybe she did and disregarded it because she thought the authors couldnt write!!!!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

First Review of #RS

The RS of the title of this book stands for Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old South African model and law graduate, shot dead by her new boyfriend, Olympic runner Oscar Pistorius. He is currently in jail, serving a five-year sentence for killing her which could see him released in less than half that time. Prosecutors are appealing. Readers should be aware that it's the seventh in a series of e-books on the crime and subsequent trial, and a certain amount of foreknowledge is presumed. Those looking for a straightforward, basic explanation of how, when and why Reeva Steenkamp was killed, might be advised to start with some background reading.

Even if readers are already familiar with the case, they should be prepared to go on an unpredictable journey that reaches to the stars and moon, and back. The book is a lesson in freedom, and freedom takes a wandering and often complicated path. 'It's complicated' is a phrase repeated several times in the narrative, and it applies to the way this book sets out to tell of Reeva Steenkamp, as well as of the world which made her and ultimately took her away. The black hole her killing created truly is complicated; Reeva could not escape it, but it absorbed all around it and continued to grow until its mass was felt by much of the world. The collapsed, darkened star of Reeva Steenkamp drew the world in to share her darkness and in doing so, brought in the light of freedom.

With her death, and the ending of her life, Reeva was also set free. No person in the world can catch, harm, hold or control her. Nobody can trample her dreams - or make them come true. Nothing on earth can touch her.

Perhaps Reeva might put up her thumb somewhere up there, as Neil Armstrong once did, and blot out the tiny star that is earth and its teeming humanity, if its light should ever pain her ageless eyes. For her loved ones left behind though, they must continue to live with the knowledge they cannot guide, help, comfort or laugh with her either. They cannot celebrate the milestones in her life she will never reach now. True freedom always carries an underside of pain and suffering, for someone, somewhere. Reeva Steenkamp's is no different. That her final cries for freedom were (most likely, in the opinion of this reviewer) terrified screams echoing through the South African night, is poignant, to say the least.

In writing what the authors intend to be a tribute to Reeva, rather than another narrative about the man who killed her, they have freed themselves too; I mention Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, because the book does too. At times it felt like Nick van der Leek pulled me reluctantly to the moon to place my trembling feet in the dusty footprints left by Armstrong, and I resented it. I'm interested in space and the universe the way I am in the vast tundra of Siberia or the great plains and prairies of Africa and the US - from a safe distance. I don't want to be there with even a fully-equipped SAR team on hand, let alone just ghosts for company.

But...the journey of the book covers the first landing on the moon, climate and the world economy, as well as South Africa - Reeva's home country. It also draws in Southern California, via author Lisa Wilson, and both her and van der Leek's personal journeys, as well as the crafts of writing, photography and movie making. It covers beauty and our concepts of it; money and what it means - and what it can do. It embraces Reeva's personal hopes, dreams and efforts, as well as South Africa's, and the world's. It touches upon, almost, the entire world, both past and future, and during the interludes, invites readers up to the moon.

Read the remainder of this review here.

Follow the reviewer on twitter here.