AUSTRALIAN OUTLAW - Derek Pedley
Subtitled "The True Story of Postcard Bandit Brenden Abbott", AUSTRALIAN OUTLAW is the authorised biography of Abbott, once a notorious Australian criminal, although, as it turns out from this book, a bit of a mythological figure in some ways.
Abbott actually contributed to the writing of this book (without recompense) and a combination of his own words, and Pedley's observations really bring him, and that myth to life in a rather unique way. It's an odd experience to hear directly from the criminal in this way, especially as his story isn't a particularly flattering one.
I've often wondered how it is that somebody would turn to such an elaborate and complicated life of crime, apart, obviously from the thrill of the danger. From AUSTRALIAN OUTLAW it definitely seems that the risk had it's attractions, but what's more sobering is also that Abbott doesn't come across as an idiot, far from it in fact. It actually looks more like he was simply easily bored. A classic case of a kid for whom school wasn't engaging, who had upheavals in his life at a time when he was easily led away from the straight and narrow into, frankly, what he saw as the easy way to a quick buck. You actually have to admire the way he was able to dance around the authorities, even though you might not admire the man himself. You also have to wonder about the way that myths and legends build so quickly around a figure like "the Postcard Bandit".
AUSTRALIAN OUTLAW was a really fascinating insight into the mind of a career criminal, with Pedley's voice providing a much needed dose of reality along the way.
(Disclaimer: I generated the epub version of this book for the author, with no obligation to read / review it. Part of what attracted me to read it was the following of the story as I worked through the manuscript format).
Brenden James Abbott - Bank robber. Fugitive. Womaniser. Comedian. Con man. Chameleon. How the Postcard Bandit put his stamp on Australia - and paid the price.
'The jail has intercepted a copy of a book mailed to Brendan Abbott - the Department is examining it to determine what impact it may have on staff, the safety and good order of the centre, and on his victims. We do not allow literature which encourages prisoners to plan and carry out escapes in our prisons, nor do we want literature which gives prisoners information about how to commit crimes. It is unlikely that this book will ever be allowed into Queensland prisons.'
- From a Media Statement by Judy Spence, Queensland Minister for Police and Corrective Services, August 2006.