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Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter Paperback – October 11, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 237 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1: “We Must Go Back”
Cluj, Romania, 2009

Wind is suddenly screaming into the cockpit of this aging Antonov biplane. Charts and a half-assed, handwritten flight plan whip by my face and through the cockpit door into the main cabin. In the rear of the plane our director of photography, Evan, who has been filming out the open door, is suddenly thrust forward toward the edge of open space, only to be yanked to a stop by his four-point harness. Documents eject past him and into oblivion.

The sound is deafening and the pressure change so abrupt that I try to brace my arm against the roof to steady myself. Instead, my hand is forcefully bent back by what feels like icicles slicing through my fingers, and I instinctively retract.

Open air. I’m immediately overwhelmed by a terrible realization. The cockpit ceiling is gone.

Our audio engineer, Mike, has the common sense to kick the pilot’s door shut from his first-row seat behind me, closing off the wind tunnel coursing through the interior of the plane and sealing me into the roofless cockpit.

Moments ago I was actually bored, fiddling with a camcorder to get a close-up of the plane’s antiquated controls and weathered gauges, the altimeter needle quivering from the vibration of the plane’s beleaguered engine. The pilot, a stout Russian in a thick wool sweater, was languidly operating the stick. Now I’m craning back to get a view of the tail stabilizer through the gaping maw above me, praying the debris from the roof hasn’t clipped it on the way by. I think twice about unbuckling my harness for a better look and instead concentrate on the ground below, which is getting closer by the second.

I probably shouldn’t be surprised by any of this, of course. As the host of the Syfy Channel’s Destination Truth, I’ve spent the last four years traveling to far-flung locales following reports of cryptozoological creatures and paranormal phenomena. Since there aren’t exactly nonstop commercial flights leading directly to the doorsteps of the world’s most enduring mysteries, I’ve made a career, such as it is, out of flying on board the planet’s most laughably derelict aircraft.

But even by my admittedly lax standards, this plane is a piece of shit. I arrived at the airfield (and I do mean field) after two straight days of begging our field producer, Allison, to procure a plane—any plane—that could take us up and over the purportedly haunted Hoia Baciu Forest, the subject of our current episode. After exhausting every possible charter from here to Bucharest, she managed to find this flying Russian coffin and offered a few bucks to a local pilot to coax it back into active service.

The Antonov An-2 is not the sort of plane most people would agree to climb aboard in the first place. Basically unchanged since its design in 1946, it has wings covered in fabric, not metal. The plane is a flying dinosaur, originally intended for agricultural use. A function it might still fulfill as it threatens to fertilize nearby farms with the remains of my crew.

It is common in moments of potentially fatal catastrophe for the world to close in around us and become much smaller. Disaster is often countermanded by an intense focus, even if it happens to resolve on strange and seemingly arbitrary details. Looking over at the captain, I’m suddenly engrossed by his bald head. Where once there was a comical comb-over, there is now this emancipated ribbon of hair dancing in the vortex and joyfully reaching up to the heavens. It looks like one of those inflatable noodles outside a used-car dealership. Like any pilot worth his salt, though, he seems utterly unfazed by his new coif or by our circumstances in general. Where can one buy a little of that Right Stuff bravado required to shrug off the fact that your airplane is now a convertible?

When Captain Chesley Sullenberger famously ditched that crippled US Airways jet in the Hudson River after a flock of geese turned themselves into engine-flavored pâté, it barely seemed to raise his pulse. He casually noted to air traffic control, “We’re gonna be in the Hudson,” as though he was stopping off there for a cup of coffee. My distress call would have consisted of a jumbled litany of swearwords arranged in no particular order followed by an ecstatic, “Holy JESUS we’re going to crash into a river! MOMMY!” During this particular aviation mishap, I do my best to stay calm and not soil my pants. This is the best I can muster under the circumstances, and I’m feeling fairly heroic about it.

The pilot adjusts the flaps and begins to bank around toward an open field. Time continues to slow down, and I think about the circumstances that brought me to this moment.

How did it come to this? How on earth did I end up here, plummeting in a partially disassembled biplane toward some anonymous field in Romania? A few years ago this would have been inconceivable. But now it’s just another day at the office. I manage to catch the pilot’s gaze for only a moment; above the din he leans over and yells, “We must go back.”

Indeed. We must. Five years, to be exact.

© 2011 Universal City Studios Productions, LLLP.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743491726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743491723
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (237 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a behind the scenes take on the popular TV show: Destination Truth on the Syfy channel (Season 5 airs in January 2012, Season 1 - 4 are on Netflix instant play). You don't have to be a fan or even know the show to enjoy the adventures told within these pages. The author is the host and has an extensive knowledge built by hands on experience. His wit, humor, and charm shine through, bringing the same charisma as he does on the show. They are stories of his travels with a realness you just can't make up, and they center on the people met, the cultural differences, and the chances taken during the exploration of snake infested jungles and ruined complexes. The most important thing anyone can glean from this book is that the fun is in the journey, not the destination.

It's loaded with tips on travel and can inspire any homebody to want to get out and explore. You don't have to hop on a plane. You can take a day trip to a town, any town really, and have a mini adventure all your own. The show may have something to do with legendary critters and ghosts, but the book really gets you in the mood to get up and go. For those who can't travel for whatever reason or excuse can live vicariously through Josh and the DT crew. This book will leave you wanting to know more about our world and other cultures. It's a great look inside the people and the experience of one helluva guy. There's snark, there's personality, and a few curse words but it's all part of what makes Josh and Destination Truth that much fun. I could read this book over and over and still laugh, giggle, and face palm just as I did the first time. Read it slow. Savor it. Enjoy it. Read it again. It's well worth the money.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not only bursting with sharp wit and Josh Gates's trademark humor, but the prose itself is absolutely (and surprisingly) beautiful. I don't know if there was a ghostwriter somewhere in there, but if not, this man deserves serious literary props.
His stories are immediately engaging. The rich sensory details he provides, along with hand-written journal notes and crisp photography, give you the distinct feeling of accompanying him on his journeys. For better or for worse.
I must stress that Josh Gates isn't going to offer tangible proof in anything paranormal, but in that sense, nobody can - you either believe it or you don't. But this book overflows with the adventures of the journey; from Europe to Mexico to Los Angeles to Chernobyl to Boston. It's not so much about any concrete paranormal discoveries, but more about the eye-opening personal discoveries along the way, on a global scale.
He inspires you to want to break out of your own comfy little nook in the world and go out to explore it, in the ways of a wanderer, rather than a constricted confines of a touristy destination vacation.
I'll read this book over and over, and I highly recommend it to anyone.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fast, mostly entertaining read. If you like Josh Gates's funny, snarky narration on the TV show Destination Truth, you'll probably like this book. His commentary is the only reason I watch the show most of the time because seriously? I could give a hairy Bigfoot's posterior about most cryptozoology. I do enjoy his ghostly encounters, but Mr. Gates mostly discounts those as being outside his preconceived notions of the world therefore not real. Which strikes me as funny, snarky, and slightly absurd--but hey, this is a show/book about monster hunting so that fits the bill quite nicely.
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Format: Paperback
When DT first appeared on SciFi, I did not like it. The show seemed goofy (are you really going to find giant sandworms....seriously?) and Josh Gates seemed too cute, with his quips, ect.. After watching several episodes, which then led to several seasons....I am hooked, and would easily call DT my favorite show on SyFy. Josh's book was a fun and fast read. I really enjoyed his writing and could actually hear his voice in his words. I hope that this was actually written by Josh and not ghost written. My only problem with the book...here it comes.. is that I would have liked a little more explanation on some of the "hard to explain" things that have happened on the show. I would give specific examples, but do not want to spoil it for potential readers. Go ahead and get this book, watch DT (hopefully it will return sometime with new episodes) and Josh, write another one!
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By Penny on February 23, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've loved Destination Truth TV Series for years. One reason is Josh Gates' sense of humor. When he's being authentic (not pushed by TV staff execs). You can tell the difference. This book is his 'authentic' self. I read at night and can't help laughing out loud. Josh can be greatly visual, and his story telling abilities is some of the best I've come across.

Interesting story covering his start in travel, adventures, and how he came to be the shows main 'character'!

Been waiting FOREVER it seems for this season's show to begin. Still waiting. Still no release date (although I hear it will be announced soon). Josh's book came at a time where I was needing a DT fix and I was tired of watching reruns...

You'll love this fun book!
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