Tag Archives: True crime

Book review: Murder on Easy Street

Back in 2014, I wrote a piece for the Wheeler Centre site about what I described as the ‘new wave’ of true crime works. These books differed from the earlier style of true crime work, which, with a few exceptions, were liable to be by the numbers, often quickly written books about sensational crimes – serial killers being a favourite – put together from various second hand sources, with a bit of local colour thrown into the mix.

The new wave of true crime books I was referring to, were more literary, focused on the political processes around the crime in question and, indeed, had a much broader definition of what ‘crime’ was. More often than not, they also seemed to be written by individuals that were either directly involved in the crime in question or somehow managed to shoe horn their own life experience into what they are writing about, so they become as much about the author as whatever crime they are writing about. When these kind of true crime books work, they can work big time. But they don’t always work.

If I had to classify it, I would say Helen Thomas’s Murder on Easy has more of the former type of book in it than the latter.… Read more

Chopper Read and our fascination with true crime

ASS Chopper

Two weeks ago Overland Editor Jeff Sparrow posted a short piece on this site on the passing of Melbourne criminal identity, Mark ‘Chopper’ Read. It centred on the obvious, although important point the crimes of rich get treated very differently to those of the poor.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the media’s treatment of Read’s death. Partly because as a crime writer I feel implicated by association in the media’s often-salacious interest in true crime, and it raises questions about aspects of what we, as writers of true or fictional crime, do and how we do it.

It’s also interesting to ponder why Read became such a public figure and, by extension, why contemporary Australia is so fascinated with the criminal.

You can read the rest of this piece here on the Overland website.