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Big Shots : Carl Williams and the Gangland Murders - Adam Shand

Big Shots

Carl Williams and the Gangland Murders

Paperback

Published: 26th March 2014
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'People reckon my life has been glamorous. Well if this is glamour, then they're just off their heads.'

It was to be Carl Williams' last conversation behind bars with his unlikely confidante, reporter Adam Shand. Shortly afterwards, the drug boos and killer was front-page news again, this time being buried in a gold-plated coffin.

This bestselling behind-the-scenes story of Melbourne's disorganised crime scene starts in the late 1990s, when a feud raging between rival underworld families erupted in a spate of slayings on Melbourne's streets. The new generation was clashing with the criminal Establishment. Shand got closer than anyone to unravelling the personal stories behind the headlines, talking to the key figures, the suspects and victims, including Williams, his wife Roberta, Mick Gatto, and many others.

It wasn't a relationship without risks. Crackling with tension, Big Shots documents Shand's plunge into the other side of Melbourne. He watches as notorious criminals are transformed into red-carpet celebrities and finds himself questioning his objectivity – and even whether he is being used to further murderous ends.

About the Author

Adam Shand is a journalist with nearly thirty years experience in television, print and online media. As a freelance reporter, he covered the rise to power of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda and the corruption of Zimbabwe's democracy. Since 1997 he has been an investigative reporter. He is the author of five books including Carl Williams; Big Shots: Carl Williams and the Gangland Wars – the Inside Story and The Skull: Informers, Hit Men and Australia's Toughest Cops.

'Possibly Australia's best true-crime book ever.'
Illawarra Mercury

Prologue

Those intending to embark on a career in the underworld would do well to sit down and watch an old James Cagney movie, The Roaring Twenties. Make the time, because the one thing you have now is time, and later you won't. Call it a training film, or maybe even a prophecy, but it may give you a foretaste of what is to come in this life. The moral is not that crime doesn't pay - it pays well, extraordinarily well if you get it right - but that eventually Death takes its whack.

For the first few reels of The Roaring Twenties, it's all going well for Cagney's Eddie Bartlett. He's knocking off his enemies in fine style and driving big, shiny cars. He has friends in high places, who think it's cool to be seen with Eddie. His pockets are full of cash, and the odd policeman too. He's got the lovely Panama on his arm; a squad of pug-faced retainers enforces his will and whim. But the final reel brings the inevitable shoot-out and demise. Alone and gut-shot, Eddie staggers to a church, seeking sanctuary and salvation, but collapses on the steps. Panama catches up to him and cradles Eddie's head on her suitably ample bosom. The -credits are about to roll on Eddie when a cop steps from stage right, to ask, 'Who is this guy?'

Panama: 'This is Eddie Bartlett.'

Cop: 'Well, how are you hooked up with him?'

Panama: 'I could never figure it out.'

Cop: 'What was his business?'

Panama: 'He used to be a big shot.'

Carl Anthony Williams was a big shot too. For a brief moment, he was atop the foetid dung heap of the Melbourne underworld. Standing on the corpses of his enemies (and some of his friends), he thought the view was marvellous until he sank into the ooze with the rest of them. His is a tale of glamour, but in the true sense of the word. Glamour is a false and empty concept, a creation of the world of advertising and Hollywood. It's a face made attractive with make-up, a triumph of style over substance. So if by writing his story I have 'glamourised' crime or Carl Williams then I do not apologise. A society that worships glamour and hollow celebrity is fertile ground for people like him.

ISBN: 9780143007753
ISBN-10: 0143007750
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 424
Published: 26th March 2014
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 12.9  x 2.7
Weight (kg): 19.7

Adam Shand

Adam Shand is a journalist with nearly thirty years experience in television, print and online media. As a freelance reporter, he covered the rise to power of Nelson Mandela in South Africa, the aftermath of the genocide in Rwanda and the corruption of Zimbabwe's democracy. Since 1997 he has been an investigative reporter. He is the author of five books including Carl Williams; Big Shots: Carl Williams and the Gangland Wars – the Inside Story and The Skull: Informers, Hit Men and Australia's Toughest Cops.

Visit Adam Shand's Booktopia Author Page