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Chopper (Chopper (John Blake) #1)

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  689 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Bullied at school and growing up dreaming of revenge, Mark "Chopper" Read determined to be the toughest in any company. He became a crime commando who terrorized drug dealers, pimps, thieves, and armed robbers on the streets and in jail—but boasts never to have hurt an innocent member of the public. His story is one of violence, betrayal by trusted friends, and murder. To ...more
Paperback, 282 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by John Blake (first published 1991)
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Reader Q&A

In Cold Blood by Truman CapoteHelter Skelter by Vincent BugliosiThe Devil in the White City by Erik LarsonThe Stranger Beside Me by Ann RuleColumbine by Dave Cullen
Best True Crime
331st out of 673 books — 999 voters
Tagged by Joseph M. ChironSame Old Truths by Delora DennisThe Mayonnaise Affair by Frank LinnAmerican Psycho by Bret Easton EllisA Smaller Hell by A.J. Reid
Awful People Doing Awful Things
26th out of 69 books — 76 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jan 21, 2016 Geoff rated it really liked it
Good read. Funny, half-truthful, and very entertaining.
Apr 01, 2011 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
After watching the Film so many times over the years I thought I might aswell check out the book.
Its a great read if you`ve seen the film and even if you havnt this book shows how much of a dramatisation the film really was. So expect a very different account on events...good and gritty :O
Its ashame with Chopper that there have been many speculations made as to which parts of his accounts are actually true, but with the character that Chopper Read is you gotta expect a little exaggeration, becau
Sep 08, 2016 Frankie rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have ever read!

I am a huge fan of the film and Eric Bana who played Chopper (Mark Read) and I had always planned to read the book.

I wish i had read it sooner.

His stories and secrets were just incredible.
Even down to how he got the nickname Chopper.

Its a life I just cant imagine.
The gansters he speaks of and the violence.

Full of great quotes and facts about the criminal underworld.

Best bit was when he said the hardest man he ever met was from Glasgow!!

Such a charasmat
Feb 05, 2013 Blake rated it it was ok
Mark Brandon Read is a charming sociopath with enough stories of violence, underworld culture, and the bizarre to fill a hundred beer-soaked nights of telling, or as he's probably more used to, a hundred days of 23 hour lockdown. Unfortunately each chapter of his "story" exists on its own, none of them in chronological order, much less coming together to form a plot arch. And he insists on ending chapters with really bad poetry. Still, you grow to like him despite his obvious lack of formal ...more
Feb 02, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Australia's modern day Ned Kelly (seriously, we love this guy) recounts some of his colourful history. People (police even) argue that ol' Chop-Chop's retelling of certain facts are far from factual. But as many Melbournian's will tell you, I know a guy who knows a guy who...

Well, that's a story for another day.
Ed Pope
Nov 06, 2016 Ed Pope rated it really liked it
This was a great read and an interesting insight into Chopper's background. Chopper says "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story", so you're never sure how much he adds to the story to make it interesting. Either way it is a great read for anyone who likes Australian crime stories.
John Dizon
Jan 22, 2014 John Dizon rated it it was amazing
This is a follow-up of sorts to my tribute to Mark "Chopper" Read back on October 9th, 2013. I ordered his autobiography (which got put on my enormous back burner), and here's the review at long last. I was fascinated to find what Chopper and I had in common. He is two days older than me, owned a .44 Ruger Super Black Hawk single-action Magnum, was a published author and claimed to be absolutely fearless. Fortunately for me, that's where the similarities end.

Most of Chopper's book is chest-thump
Dan Dyball
Finished this book haha
Jan 21, 2014 Kim rated it liked it
This is the first book I have read so far written by an ex-criminal who openly talks about his past. He does not go deeply into his childhood, but his violent actions are told with no shame because he personally believes that he was doing no wrong killing and touring people who are labeled as "bad guys". The action he has performed are appalling and very violent as he describes the scene with senses. How burning flesh smells and how all of his victims' last word is "no"... It was interesting to ...more
Jul 16, 2013 Dale rated it really liked it
I Read this book after being intregued by the film. As always a lot more happening in the book. Mark Brandon Read has not only become one of Australia's most feared underground figures, but also an infamous worldwide 'celebrity'. I loved both the book and the film and also begrudgedly admire 'chopper' himself for the openess and honesty of his colourful background. He doesn't pull any punches when he talkes about the gory events that he has participated in, such as, cutting off toes with ...more
Sep 08, 2008 Ronnie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
Having rewatched the film recently, I thought it was about time that I picked up one of Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read's books. This is the first of ten (so far) and I don't think I'll get too much further.

The concept of this first book is really an introduction to the life and (jail) time of Chopper Read. Unfortunately, there's little detail and no real indication of where, when and how each event mentioned occurs. It reads like a who's who of Australian Crime but, since I'm not an Australian and
Dec 02, 2011 Jo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I honestly don't know how to describe this book. I've worked with some pretty hardened and dangerous criminals within my capacity of Pagan prison minister, but none of them have come across *quite* as "bigging up on themselves" as this Mark "Chopper" Read.

The guy thinks he's superman or some sort of avenging angel akin to "Dexter" but with a far more skewed moral compass. Maybe it's an Aussie thing. I don't know. But I finished the book thinking "What a plonker!" basically.

It was also poorly wri
Beau Johnston
Feb 28, 2014 Beau Johnston rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
I really enjoyed this book. I remember seeing the occasional story about him on the news when I was a kid, and my parents saying "Imagine running into him in a dark alley". Parents say the nicest things to their kids at bedtime.

As an adult, I couldn't begin to imagine how his victims would have felt when they opened their front door and found Chopper standing there.

Story-telling is an art-form, and I have to say that Chopper has mastered it.
Lollipop Lollipop
May 18, 2008 Lollipop Lollipop rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Autobiographies..
Having seen the film, I was not that impressed.
Reading the book, as normal with most life stories, it was far better than the film. I would reccommend this book to whoever has seen the film, because it is far more involved...and quite a lot more personal, with regard too Mark Brandon Read's opinions and feelings, of some of the times he spent incarserated, and of his so called Friends.
Well written and easy to read, a very good read..
Ainsley Thrasher
Jun 12, 2011 Ainsley Thrasher rated it it was amazing
Mister Reed obviously isn't a professional writer, but his book gives you the impression he's sitting across the room from you shooting the shit with you. His stories from his life are interesting and sometimes unbelievable. Often he gets repetitive, but it's not so bothersome it ruins the book. The series has over 8 books in it now I believe. I don't know if I could read them all but I do have the first 3. I started buying them for my boyfriend and got into it myself.
Mar 02, 2009 Lanier rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Australian non-fiction, crime
Recommended to Lanier by: Sasha W.
The follow-up to Read's Best Selling first installation to Chopper's true life of crime. Some consider him a vigilante, most know his stories are partially embellished, but either way, he knows where the bodies (or their parts) are buried and he never denied the really gruesome acts of leveling the playing field.

Quick, easy reading and, at times, he realizes he's gained an audience and can be a bit self-promoting. Funny, horrifying and a bit of the Keystone-Cops Down Under.
Chopper has interesting stories as someone who has spent the better part of his life in jail, however his writing and education lack terribly as he repeats his points and dribbles on trying to explain what he means with lack of detail. Chopper is a good poet and can do poetry on the spot he may have been a good free style rapper. Anyhow to sum it up good insight, lousy writing!!
Mar 02, 2009 Lanier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Australian non-fiction, crime
Recommended to Lanier by: Sasha W.
Aussie loose canon on a killing and maiming spree like no other. Chopper Read has an ingratiating way recounting his dirty deeds, even with the cops and those guarding him in prison. Not the most well-written novels, however he makes you laugh while he and the world wonders how he could've evaded incarceration for so long.

Alan Galli
Apr 21, 2015 Alan Galli rated it it was amazing
Currently reading this and having much fun doing so and all the time engrossed in what the next page entales, Chopper seems a good guy with a wity head and mouth to him as well as his very violent and threatening demeanour, once finished this will swiftly move on to the sequal and others, will reccomend this to any reader of true crime books.
Mar 13, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it
What a delightful book. Equal parts bizarre, tantalizing, outrageous, and hilarious, not to mention more than a bit insightful into the criminal mind. It helps that Australian history is a fascinating subject to learn, and Chopper's story is no less part of the big picture. This is what Chris Moltisanti wishes he wrote.
Jun 20, 2008 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Only brilliant because if you saw the movie- the real Chopper writes how he speaks- a cadence Bana totally nailed- all crazy and repetitious with a few big words and cliches thrown in. You can't not love him. Read has a million stories, most of them dubious, but who cares?! This guy is hilarious, though he can get a bit tedious at times.
Apr 16, 2013 Martin rated it it was amazing
Getting into the warped mind of 'chopper' was interesting. He puts his dark humour into his real life criminal antics and grabs hold of you from the off! His brutal honasty and sarcasm had me from start to finish!
Dec 15, 2015 Tegan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the first few chapters of this memoir, but then it started to get a bit repetitive. Still happy to have read it and understand "Chopper" all the more. The book confirmed the quote, "Every villain is the hero of their own book."
Leonard Jordan
Oct 18, 2014 Leonard Jordan rated it it was amazing
Well I read chopper before I saw the film. I thought this lad has a hard up bringing at times. It's was really interesting on how the life unfolded for him. But I did wonder on how much is true, what was dramatised. Still funny to read and worth the time
Sep 10, 2013 Melanie rated it liked it
Great story where i genuinley liked the chopper and his crmiminal morals, but the book is overated and I found it very tedious to read i struggled to finish it which is a shame as i was so looking forward to reading it glad i didn't watch the film first as it would have made everything worse.
A good, fun and easy read. Quite shocking in its blase violence, but he has a good dry wit and is not a stupid man.

J's diary 6 May 1995
Nov 27, 2007 P.T. rated it it was ok
This is one crazy dude, and his experiences sounded like they'd be a great read, however the book is not that engaging and lacked the entertainment value I had hoped for.
Jul 30, 2011 Angela added it
A complete nutjob. But a likeable one. Can't get over the story of his ears. While i was reading it i thought: 'Oh, i wonder what he's going to do to get out of H section'...Did not expect that!
Dave Smith
Feb 19, 2014 Dave Smith rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
"Never let the truth get in the way of a good story". An entertaining book from a great story teller.
Jan 05, 2014 Psyneko rated it liked it
Mark 'Chopper' Read's tell all tale of Melbourne street thuggery is a brutal yet easy and sadistically humorous read.
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Chopper 1 5 May 17, 2008 05:29PM  
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Mark Brandon "Chopper" Read is an Australian ex-criminal who wrote a series of semi-autobiographical and fictional crime novels.
--from wikipedia
More about Mark Brandon Read...

Other Books in the Series

Chopper (John Blake) (10 books)
  • Chopper 2: How to Kill Friends and Influence People
  • Chopper 3: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Mate Shot in the Arse
  • Chopper 4: Happiness is a Warm Gun
  • Chopper 5: Don't Go Breaking My Legs
  • Chopper 6: A Bullet in Time Saves Nine
  • Chopper 7: Empire of the Gun
  • Chopper 8: A Bullet in the Head is Worth Two in the Chamber
  • Chopper 9: Some Don't Like it Hot
  • Chopper 10: A Fool and His Toes are Soon Parted

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“Referring to another crim he knew. "Tiger...I used to tell him he should use some of his money on plastic surgery and a face lift because he is dog ugly. He had a head like a robber's dog.” 4 likes
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