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Poolside thrillers that really turn up the holiday heat.

Byline: Life of Brian Barwick's sport@liverpool.com Opinions and insight from our man in the know

IT has always puzzled me why a waxwork figure of Sonny Liston made it on to eclectic list of famous names and faces on the Beatles' iconic Sgt Pepper album cover.

In 1967, when the celebrated album was released, Muhammad Ali was the biggest name in world sport let alone boxing, yet it was Liston - the man he destroyed twice - who is guaranteed a place in musical as well as sporting history.

But having just been away on holiday, my annual readathon included two great sporting books and the latest John Grisham page-turner.

'The Murder of Sonny Liston' by Shaun Assael tells the story of how the former world heavyweight champion was found dead at his Las Vegas home in January 1971.

Six years after being knocked out in the first round of a re-match with Ali, Liston, now a junkie, was in the midst of drug lords, mob kingpins and billionaire Las Vegas hoteliers.

The book reflects on his career and his downfall. Dying, it would seem, from an accidental dose. Or was it? My other holiday sporting read was 'Steve Smith's Men' by Geoff Lemon.

This is a fascinating look about how Australian Cricket developed a win at all costs attitude and seriously lost their way because of it. It centres on the sandpaper scandal 18 months ago when the Aussies' ball-tampering exploits against South Africa became world news - and with it the skipper, Steve Smith, lost his job and his reputation.

Powerfully written, the book perfectly set me up for the Ashes series that is just around the corner.

I hope you enjoy whatever book takes your fancy in between taking a dip in the pool and a cool beer at the bar. Happy holidays!

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 21, 2019
Words:305
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