Review: ‘Delete this at your peril’ by Bob Servant

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This is a book that needed to be written. It is a declaration of defiance and warfare against one of the most dangerous threats to civilisation today. This is ‘one man’s fearless exchanges with Internet spammers’.
Ostensibly written by Bob Servant, a 62 year-old ‘unemployed gigolo’, the book is essentially a transcript of eight e-mail conversations between ‘Bob’ and the spammers, people posing as anything from Russian brides to African military generals, all in an effort to extract money from naïve web surfers. In each case, Bob neatly turns the tables, leaving a trail of comic carnage as he gradually draws the unsuspecting crooks into his own outlandish schemes. Granted, the conversations hold little literary merit, but they are eminently readable and absurdly funny. Highlights include a supposed lawyer who becomes involved in creating recipes for ‘Uncle Bob’s African Adventure’, and an exchange with a man who claims to be the son of ‘late King Arawi of tribal land’ and ends up trying to persuade Bob that he can indeed send talking lions to a Scottish zoo.The book is similar in style to other popular humour, consisting principally of ludicrously surreal outbursts to complete strangers and, while certainly amusing, quickly becomes repetitive. Often the funniest parts of Bob’s conversations are the replies, as the bewildered victims resort to increasingly ham-fisted attempts to extract money from a raving madman. However, the book really succeeds as a manifesto on how to take revenge on those who fill our inboxes with junk. We can all sleep a little more easily now that Bob has taken up the challenge of out-spamming the spammers.By Jonathan Tan

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