The Half-Child - Angela Savage, Text, 2010

When I was eighteen I landed a job as a shitkicker on a Paraburdoo iron ore mine up in the Pilbara. It was a strange gig being eighteen working in a place where for every woman there were probably 150 men, natural beauty of the Karinjini gorge country aside. I saved up some money and headed back to Perth. My plan was to head overseas for a few months surfing and travelling around SE Asia. My only problem was that I only had about 700AUD and I didn't know anybody anywhere, or anything about anything for that matter.

Traitor - Stephen Daisley, Text, 2010

I recently came back from a few days tour of the Somme region with my father and brother, who both served in the armed forces as younger men. My father wanted to see where his grandfather had served as a stretcher bearer, before being gassed and sent home, where he spent the next years bedridden - too weak to do anything except struggle to breathe, before he mercifully died. The horrific numbers and the tragic stories from the Somme battlefields are well known.

Below the Styx - Michael Meehan, A&U, 2010

Crime fiction is a broad church, and academic Michael Meehan's most recent novel is a psychological exploration of a murder committed by the central character, Martin Frobisher.

That Deadman Dance - Kim Scott, Picador, 2010

It was a Wiradjuri bloke I know who once told me that, from his point-of-view, every book written in Australia is a work of crime fiction, especially those books that have nothing to do with the ‘true history’ of this country. He was squatting on the old mission land outside Dubbo, a visible reminder to the council (which was considering developing the land) of the generations that had lived there and whose descendents had moved into town, to ‘vegemite valley’ as he called it.

2010 Bests of...

Heartening to see Line of Sight included on a few writers' best novels of 2010 lists.

Gillo's Bookshelf - ABC 720

Line of Sight has just been chosen to kick off ABC 720 Gillian O'Shaugnessy's new bookclub, in January 2011. More details to follow, but in the meantime see -

There's going to be a public event at the ABC studio's in East Perth on January 25, where I'll be interviewed by Gillian and will answer questions from the book club audience.

On Whistleblowers - Simon Illingsworth's Filthy Rat, ABC Books, 2006


The old Chandler dictum was there for me when I decided upon police whistleblower Frank Swann as the central character of Line of Sight – ‘down the mean streets a man must walk who is not himself mean: who is neither tarnished nor afraid.’ The old -school hard-boiled noirish central character seemed like a perfect fit for a story about a man trying against the odds to work his way through the subterfuge, the dissembling and intimidation of his colleagues as they tried to shut him down.

On Killing, and writing...KILLING: Misadventures in Violence, Jeff Sparrow, MUP, 2009

KILLING: Misadventures in Violence, Jeff Sparrow, MUP, 2009

George Stewart - The Leveller: The Story of a Violent Australian

I'm currently reading a true crime account of a notorious Melbourne Painters & Dockers 'gunnie', Billy 'The Texan' Longley. It's written by Rochelle Jackson, who also wrote 'Inside Their Minds: Australian Criminals' , and which I also thoroughly recommend (both published by ABC books, or see

For the copper at the bookshop

I was standing at the true crime section of my local bookshop yesterday and got talking to an off-duty copper. Like all WA coppers, he was very familiar with the Shirley Finn ‘story’. We went and had a coffee. Turns out he didn’t know anything new, but he was pretty forthright in saying that the hit was done by WA detectives, or at the very least they’d helped cover it up. He named all the familiar names, and the familiar reasons why. ‘Bad times, they were’ he reckoned. ‘Bad times and bad bad bastards.’

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