Rave Reviews for “The Knucklehead of Silicon Valley”
“Gibsen is an oddly compelling protagonist: Not quite an Everyman, he nevertheless frequently finds himself in over his head. The author delivers a complex, meandering plot with frequent hops between years and continents and a wryly conspiratorial worldview that feels more akin to Thomas Pynchon than Tom Clancy.”—KirkusReviews.com excerpt. To access the full review, click here.
These Recent Reader Reviews are Followed by Pre-Publication Praise from Tech, Lit, and Media Titans
“More fact than fiction than perhaps the author even knows. I received this as a gift and found ‘myself’ appearing in the book. Because he has always been a good friend, I will pretend I didn’t read it. In fairness however, it was entertaining and fictionalized enough to spare us all any malfunctions to our brake lines or other unfortunate ‘wet ops’ experiences. I look forward to another installment of what I am sure will be an ongoing series.”–The man that might be McKenna
“So. I’m grumpy, all I wanted was to read a few pages to start this book before going to bed, next thing I know I finished the book and it’s 4:30 in the morning, and I have a workday and a party coming up. I blame you for this whole day 🙂 Also, you promised me a spy thriller, but gave me a great love story instead. Seriously though, awesome. Just don’t start it in the evening, unless you don’t value your sleep.”–Amazon reader review
“A humorous and wild ride through the complex life of a seemingly ordinary guy… With a storyline that seems both beyond comprehension and absolutely possible, and characters that are as relatable as they are deceptive, Vachon’s debut novel is sure to capture the attention of an intellectually curious audience. The writing is quick and humorous and immediately pulls you into Ralph’s complicated world.”–Tracy Burns
“Absolutely devoured the book. The plot is fresh and smart. It pulled me in right away… a thoroughly entertaining, fast-paced spy thriller that will hook you, leave you breathless with the happenings, and then amaze you with spurts of humor. A total PAGE-TURNER!!! Can’t wait to read his upcoming books.”–Abantika, Goodreads.com / To read the full review, click here.
“Really enjoyable read. Funny and thrilling all in one. Ralph is a believable character who bumbles along from one calamity to another. Looking forward to more capers.”–Stella Ofarrell, Goodreads.com
“Not your typical novel, for sure! Ralph is fun and very different from most spy thriller-type character leads. I liked the realistic nature of the content, and the wild imagination of Ralph. A good read that’s hard to put down.—MC, Amazon reader review / To read the full review, click here.
“I had a great time getting to know the protagonist and learning about some of the inner working of Silicon Valley. Altogether a fun read. I await the next installment.–Amazon reader review / To read the full review, click here.
“Loved this book. An easy, funny, joyous read that feels so true and possible it’s scary! The storyline is highly credible… a great antidote to the usual “perfect” heroes in spy thrillers. Congratulations Craig!”–Charlotte Newman-West / To read the full review, click here.
“Ralph Gibsen is not as hapless as the book makes him seem, but he is unaware of the secretive actions of those around him as he stumbles through situation after situation trying to figure out what is really going on… I had a great time getting to know the protagonist and learning about some of the inner working of Silicon Valley… I await the next installment.–Amazon reader review / To read the full review, click here.
“Cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed this book… What a great read. Couldn’t put it down. Highly recommend.”–Arlene
“Fiction, yes… but could some of Ralph’s story be real? Had me thinking hard, worrying a bit and giggling out loud within each chapter. Makes me want to learn more about what is going on down in the Silicon Valley, VC’s, and within the Intelligence Community… Looking forward to travelling with Ralph on wherever his next adventure takes us!–Brenda Rose / To read the full review , click here.
“Read and laugh! … Great read—humor and insight combined!” —Amazon reader review
“… an interesting book that enlightens readers of the current situation of the world, a cyberpolitical storm… The choice of characters of this book is fascinating, with fictional aspects that leave the reader questioning if events in The Knucklehead of Silicon Valley are actually happening in the real world.–Peruser
“Unlike James Bond, Ralph is a funny and relatable character that makes mistakes and commits many blunders in his attempt to save the world…. Although this book is centered around the use of technology, it is not full of confusing jargon or arcane concepts. It is easy for anyone to understand and it might even help you learn a few things in the process. Jokes aside, the author is an experienced venture capitalist with years of experience building his companies, financing tech startups, and traveling the world. His background and insights about Silicon Valley and venture capital shine throughout the text… In short, this book is a must-have for anyone looking for a fun romp through Silicon Valley, the IT industry, and across the world.–RG Jones / To read the full review, click here.
“Ralph is a character that is believable, and likeable; one that could be the guy sitting next to you on the plane… I recommend this book for those in the computer world, as well as those who love a good story about espionage and true crimes. Get ready for an adventure.–Valerie / To read the full review, click here.
“Fun book… Many of the vignettes come across as events that actually happened to the author, which is unbelievable and makes me want to ask him questions while flipping through my dog-eared pages. Another cool thing was learning something of the Silicon Valley ethos. I recommend this for anyone who enjoys “every-man hero in over his head” stories and wants to learn more about venture capital, business intrigue, or cavity searches in airports.–Remo
“If you like high tech, spy thrillers and some comedy, this is the book for you. The adventures of Ralph—a clumsy, international man of mystery—will not disappoint. And, you might learn a little bit about venture capital along the way.”–Tim Martin
“This a great adventure in what some would consider a mundane world of VC lending. If you like Walter Mitty or Tintin you will love Ralph! Hold on as this page turn(er) is a quick reading journey of espionage, foreign relations and some business ideas… Or is it ?!? Enjoy!”–Raymond Novicelli
“Fun, funny, page-turner!… Thoroughly enjoyed reading The Knucklehead of Silicon Valley! It’s a fast-moving, fun spy/tech novel (and scary at times because there seems to be more truth than fiction here!) following “Ralph” through his travels and adventures with all kinds of sordid and wacky characters. Looking forward to Ralph’s next adventure! Put me on a pre-order list if there is one!”–Celinda
“Get Smart for the Big Tech Era… The shoe phone gets a reboot in the world of big data, big egos, and Silicon Valley jet-setting. A fun, zany romp.”–Nina Simon
“Vachon weaves a fun tale of international intrigue and gives a glimpse into the reality of the Venture Capital and entrepreneurial world that most outside of the Bay Area are not allowed to enter… The Knucklehead is a self-deprecating hero who would likely shoot himself in the foot if given a gun to protect himself. Good thing he is protected by others. I look forward to the next adventure.”–JeffPA / To read the full review, click here.
“… a fun and enthralling read. The book gives readers an eye-opening behind-the-scenes look into the investment world of Silicon Valley. Vachon’s in-depth knowledge of situations and locations almost has me convinced this book is more of a memoir than it is fiction. It even reads like a memoir… Despite how frighteningly real the tale gets, especially concerning the perils of technology, the laugh-out-loud moments were endless… The character development was solid, and the characters were unforgettable. Ralph was a complex and fascinating individual… a must-read if you are into spy novels or merely interested in technology and how it can impact our lives. There are also several useful tips for startups, small businesses, and anyone interested in finance. Overall, this is a fun, fascinating, thought-provoking, and insightful book.”—Adedayo+23, OnlineBookClub.com / To read the full review, click here.
“This book reads like it is a true crime novel. Things in the story are scarily possible in our world today… When you get into the heart of the story, which teases you right from the beginning, you realize how plausible this could be, and are sucked in to find out what happens next. I recommend this book for those in the computer world, as well as those who love a good story about espionage and true crimes. Get ready for an adventure.”–V. Penninton / To read the full review, click here.
“Ralph is a great character. I have spent 29 years in Silicon Valley and thought the plot was real, captivating and full of surprises. Great read on a plane or at night. Very entertaining.”–Phillipe
“… a lot of fun, until you think about it and then it becomes a bit scary… The protagonist clearly is smarter than he puts on, and he brings the reader on a fun ride through the new tech fun house. Because the situations feel real, the book also gives the reader a reason to pay more attention to emerging technology… you’re left thinking there is a lot going on in the real world to which we should probably be paying more attention.”–Peter Loge / To read the full review, click here.
“Captivating and thoroughly entertaining.”–Harvey Boulter, Privacy Advocate and Chairman of Cellcrypt Inc.
“Thoroughly enjoyable high tech global hijinx. I didn’t want to put this book down. The writer has an obvious deep understanding of the tech, the business, the art and the craft. It’s so possible that is hard to believe it isn’t real.”–Michael Henson
“Ralph may know a lot, but he certainly isn’t sure what’s going on. Traveling the world with Ralph you get to meet his friends, partners, past loves, and allies as he tries to prevent some dangerous tech from getting out… oh, and to sort out whether he’s a spy or not.”–Brett Dewey / To read the full review, click here.
“It got going quickly and didn’t let up. I loved the characters, story and the high-tech angle.”–Jordy
“Knucklehead” is a great, eye-opening read. Vachon weaves a story that is both impossible to believe and impossible to ignore—It is ridiculously funny and frighteningly real. Be prepared to learn, to laugh and yes, to worry about what’s happening behind the cyber world curtain.”—Rick Roth, Global CEO, Ogilvy Action
“It’s all too rare to find a fun, seat-of-your-pants, literary romp like this. I got wonderfully lost with Ralph in the many cultures as he travels around the planet. And kudos for the author in the entertaining explanation of how investors examine entrepreneurial ventures for investment. As an investor myself, a lot of the anecdotes and stories resonated with me… wonderful reading.”—Raz Zia, former MD at Goldman Sachs and MD at Aldrich Capital
“Craig Vachon has created a thoroughly entertaining international spy thriller that travels the globe with political intrigue in the current hot spots. He discusses the challenges and opportunities behind some of the newest high-tech advances and gives a behind the scenes look into the investment world of Silicon Valley. The author’s deep knowledge of places and situations makes you wonder if the book really is fiction as the author claims. Ralph is a loveable character who I felt connected with from the first chapter of the book. ‘Knucklehead’ is a fun, exciting, moving, and thought-provoking ride that literally had me laughing out loud at some points.”—Greg Post, Regional President, Sprint
“An exciting look at the worlds of cybersecurity and international espionage. The author takes you on a wild ride through the underworld of technology as you jump from country to country, meeting fascinating characters. A must-read if you are into spy novels, or just interested in how technology can impact our lives.”—Anthony Gioeli, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author of “International Business Expansion”
” ‘Knucklehead’ is like being shot out of an Ethernet cable lined with exotic travel and baroque paintings and landing on a sea of electricity.”—Peterson Conway, PayPal Mafia
“A wonderfully exciting and comedic tale of Ralph, a venture capitalist and unlikely spy that leads us through an international tale of intrigue while unlocking the secrets of Silicon Valley. Fascinating and an absolute joy to read!”—Tim Martin, CEO of LifePrint
“Fans of Neal Stephenson’s opus, Cryptonomicon, will thrill to Craig Vachon’s new expose of the wild west of our digital era. As Stephenson introduced us to the beginnings of this era, Vachon’s adventure recounts peak Silicon Valley. Vachon’s protagonist, Ralph, glides into and out of a series of fantastic predicaments that might be less fictitious than we think. This adventure is a good one, and you’ll enjoy every minute of it.”—Michael Gilligan, President of Seek Common Ground
“This novel’s topic is so important: We stand in the middle of a storm—not just a geopolitical one, but a cyberpolitical one. It feels as if no one trusts anyone any more, and suspicion and confusion reign across our delicate cyberworld. Which way do we turn?”—Eugene Kaspersky, Hacker Hunter and Chairman, Kaspersky Labs
“A terrific yarn with characters just absurd enough that they might be fictional, but not quite so absurd that the reading is left wondering who they really are or who they were based on – and that maybe she ought to be paying more attention to the promise and perils of technology. A fun and funny fictional look behind the Silicon Valley curtain at a world or misfits, schemers, brilliant visionaries, and accidental heroes.”—Peter Loge, Associate Professor, School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University and author of “Soccer Thinking for Management Success”
“If a major amusement park ever wanted to build the ultimate spy-adventure ride with mystery, suspense, white-knuckle twists and turns, comedy, and romance, ‘The Knucklehead of Silicon Valley’ would be the perfect blueprint. Not only did I love the ride, but as with all great adventures, I learned a hell of a lot. I thought I knew what went on in the mythological land of Silicon Valley, but I had no idea how insane it truly is.”—Bill Glasser, Former Supervisor and Producer, Fox Television’s “America’s Most Wanted”
“A modern-day ‘Being There’—if Peter Sellers’ Chauncey were a Silicon Valley tech investor! You will not only be thoroughly entertained but thoroughly educated as to the insanity that is the world of IPOs, internet privacy and the potential of high-tech’s misuse”.—Brian Fraser, Author of “Cartoons With my Dad: How art drew us together”
“This thriller takes us through an insider’s view of high-tech Silicon Valley culture, authentically capturing its brilliance and ambition, as well as its silliness and hubris. Smart and captivating, it follows the protagonist who is at times ham-fisted and dim, other times deft and clever, through a fascinating journey of intrigue along the cutting edge of tech. Filled with humor, suspense, whimsy, whit and moments of pure heart, this read is fascinating, educational, and a heck of a lot of fun.”—Jordy Berson, former Head/CEO, BitTorrent
“If ‘Tech/Spy/Finance/Comedy’ wasn’t a genre before, it is now! ‘Knucklehead’ is a page-turning misadventure full of tech investors, shameless karaoke, and seemingly endless air miles. It is a delight to follow Ralph Gibson (who may or may not be a spy) in his globe-trotting tale of Silicon Valley financing, where ‘billions’ and ‘international security’ are daily issues and Ralph seems to know what he’s doing, but clearly doesn’t. ‘Knucklehead’ is not a travelog, it’s not a spy story, it’s not a tech thriller… or is it? Ralph’s just this guy, who happens to travel the world, is involved in billion-dollar investments… and may or may not be a spy. Loved it! You don’t expect this book. A spy story without guns, explosions or poison? A tech thriller where karaoke plays a central role? A comedy with the fate of the world in its hands? A hero who has no idea who he works for? Count me in!”—Brett Dewey, former writer/producer, for “Saved By The Bell”