Category Archives: Lindy Cameron

SheKilda and women’s crime writing in Australia

It’s when someone asks you to contribute a blog post on the state of female crime writing in Australia from the point of someone watching the industry, that you realise you just don’t read enough.

Not nearly enough.

That said, in my view, female crime writing in this country looks in rude health.

Exhibit A is SheKilda this weekend, the women’s crime writing conference I’ve been asked to write this blog post to coincide with. There’ll be 60 speakers spanning fiction, true crime, young adult, ‘crimance’ and screenwriting. With the exception of the Crime and Justice Festival, there’s nothing else like it.

The 53 books by local female writers entered in the current Davitt awards for female crime writing, is Exhibit B.

It’s when you make statements like these that you come up against claims female crime writers are discriminated in reviewing and awards. Certainly, studies overseas have shown that female writers are vastly underrepresented in the review sections of newspapers. I presume the same is true here.

Awards? Let’s look at the top categories for the last ten years of the Ned Kelly Awards, 2002 – 2011.

The results are fairly split in the category of true crime. Five women have won it (it was tied between two women in 2007) and five men (with the result being tied between two men in 2002).… Read more

The dying trade? Private investigators in Australian crime fiction

In the 1940s and 50s, some of the biggest names in Australian fiction were authors unknown today. People such as Gordon Clive Bleeck, Carter Brown, Don Haring and KT McCall were the leading lights of a huge local pulp fiction industry. It produced countless cheap westerns, science fiction and above all crime novels, printed cheaply with lurid covers and sold at news-stands on the street and in train stations. This piece was originally commissioned by the Wheeler Center and appeared on their website here.

In 1938, the federal government decided to levy foreign print publications. As a result of this decision, local publishing houses sprang up to fill the void, releasing hundreds of novels a month, including Westerns, racing and boxing stories, science fiction and crime. Hard-boiled and not so hard-boiled PIs became a standard feature of the pulp crime scene that flourished in Australia for two decades thereafter.

The authors are unknown today, despite some selling in the millions in Australia and abroad. Gordon Clive Bleeck wrote over 200 novels, including PI stories, while working full time for NSW Railroads. Carter Brown, the alias of UK immigrant Alan G Yates, is associated with nearly 300 titles.

Starting off as a hugely popular radio program on the Macquarie Network, the PI Larry Kent inspired a series of novels by Don Haring, an American who lived in Australia or a time, and Queenslander Des R Dunn.… Read more


Redback is a fast paced thriller with a distinct pulp spy fiction feel from one of the newest players on the Australian publishing scene, genre specialists Clan Destine Press.

It opens on a small Pacific island, where ex-Australian army commander Bryn Gideon and her team of retrieval agents, known as the Redbacks, are attempting to rescue hostages being held by local rebels. It’s the first but by no means the last time in the book that things don’t go as planned with bloody results.

The story moves to Tokyo where American investigative journalist Scott Dreher thinks he is onto the story of his life about a revolutionary manga combat simulation computer game that has been pirated and is being used to train terrorists. This quickly takes a turn for the worse when its creator is killed, turning Dreher into a fugitive from the knife-wielding assassin.

What follows is a sequence of apparently unrelated events, including bombings in Europe and America and an assassination in Sydney. Gideon, her Redbacks and Dreher soon find themselves in a common quest to unmask a larger conspiracy on the part of a shadowy international criminal mastermind.

Without giving too much away, the plot of Redback bounces between a number of locations, including Pakistan, France and Thailand, and introduces a host of characters, including rightwing American extremists and mysterious terrorists cum criminals.… Read more

Crime Factory Issue 5 is now live

Issue 5 of Crime Factory is now available on the web here.

Factory management tell me there’s been a few technical problems with this issue, hence the delay. But the wait has been well worth it.

In addition to the usual high quality fiction offerings, issue 5 has some great features and reviews on hardboiled and noir crime fiction and film.

And while I’ve got your attention did I mention that yours truly is among the contributors. Issue 5 includes my interview with one of the veterans of the Australian crime writing scene, Garry Disher. Garry talks about the difference between writing hard-boiled fiction and police procedurals, why after a ten plus-year break he decided to write another Wyatt book and the state of crime fiction in Australia.

I also review the pulp spy thriller Redback by Lindy Cameron, which has just been released by Australia’s newest player on the publishing scene, genre specialists Can Destine Press.