HUCKSTEPP: A Dangerous Life, John Dale

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Looking back at the life, and death in 1986 of Sallie-Anne Huckstepp there's a sense of inevitability about her destiny, a long time before she went on television to accuse NSW detectives of shooting her boyfriend in cold blood.  HUCKSTEPP is an excellent book of its type - part biography, part investigation into Huckstepp, and her death, the book looks honestly at Sallie-Anne herself, as well as the crooks, cops and colleagues that she had close contact with over her life.  

Given that there's never been an answer to who killed Huckstepp, this book seems to come as close as we're ever going to come to understanding what happened and why.  It certainly does a number of notorious NSW cop and criminal "identities" no favours in its portrayal of them.  It also is no whitewash of Sallie-Anne herself.  Perhaps the only minor objection would be that its not until the very end that there's much light cast on what got Sallie-Anne into the life that ultimately killed her.  I would have liked to have known a little bit more about Sallie-Anne the person, rather than Sallie-Anne the "identity", although I could also see that it might not have been so easy to get to the truth of that. 

Year of Publication

A powerful blend of biography and the detective novel, Huckstepp investigates the murder of a charismatic woman who has fascinated many Australians since she first appeared on national television to accuse New South Wales detectives of shooting her boyfriend, Warren Lanfranchi, in cold blood. Throughout her short life, Sallie-Anne Huckstepp lived a dangerous existence. This is a true story, brilliantly told, of a courageous woman who spoke out against corruption and murder.

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Karen Chisholm
Friday, March 9, 2012
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