Review: Three Crooked Kings

I must confess to reading this book rather quickly over two nights, so I’m sure some nuances were missed.

Like a lot of Australians, and presumably Queenslanders, I do have a bit of an unhealthy interest in our criminal past. I think I was in grade six when some of the Fitzgerald inquiry was finishing up (or recommendations being handed down, or some such) and getting interested then. Personally, I make a lot of use of our Joh given right to mix metaphors.

Overall I was disappointed by the book. There’s clearly a lot of research gone into it, which is great, and the narrative ties it together reasonably well. There are editing issues and some ham fisted attempts at pop psychology. A glossary for all the colloquialisms would have been useful. The worst thing for me though, is that the main interviewee, Lewis, comes out with nary a red cross against his name. Time and time again Lewis is implicated in the skulduggery of the time, but he denies the worst of it at every turn.

I feel I can’t quite call the book a whitewashing of Lewis’s history yet, as there’s still another half to go, Lewis may well let it all out then and redeem himself. But I also feel the author has let us down by not digging deeper on Lewis. Maybe that was part of the interview deal; or maybe Lewis still has powerful friends.

On a matter that I really should disclose, it appears that family members are named in the book, in none too good a light.

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