Blood Money - Clive Small & Tom Gilling

Review Written By
Karen Chisholm

BLOOD MONEY, written by Clive Small and Tom Gilling, looks at the world of organised crime in current-day Australia - New South Wales in particular.  Post the demise of the better known gangs, post the demise of the "gentleman" criminal, this book looks closely at a new wave of gangland bosses, and the ruthless way in which they will form alliances and break the old rules to gain or hold onto power.

The book starts off providing a cast of the major characters and the gangs that they belong to.  It then moves into a series of chapters based around particular people and their alliances.  This includes people that even we Victorians have heard of - Danny Karam, the Ibrahims and so on.  It then looks at the connections between the various people, gangs and activities such as drug and gun running, theft of heavy ordinance, drug trafficking, Bikie Gangs and terrorism.

There is a note that BLOOD MONEY follows on from an earlier book - SMACK EXPRESS, but I don't think you need to have read that to get a clear idea of the impact of the subject matter of this book.  Because this book is talking particularly about a range of individuals that many readers don't know, much of the impact actually comes from the activities of these people - rather than anything about who or what they are.  There are quite a few characters in BLOOD MONEY that I personally have never heard of, but that does not for a moment take away any of the amazement at the length and breadth of their involvements.  And at the way that crime is being used now to fund a range of activities - not just support the lifestyle of the actual perpetrators.  Which is a particularly sobering thought.

Clive Small is a 38-year New South Wales police veteran where he spent much of his time in criminal investigation.  He has also worked as an investigator with the Woodward Royal Commission into Drug Trafficking and with Strike Force Omega - charged with the reinvestigation of the 1984 shooting of Detective Michael Drury.  He also led the backpacker murder investigation which resulted in the conviction of Ivan Milat.  Tom Gilling is a journalist and writer who has written both fiction and non-fiction books before.

The background of both authors must mean that whilst the content is often sobering, and quite revealing - the book doesn't read like an essay on crime.  It's a very readable book, albeit a rather sobering experience.

Year of Publication

Organised crime in Australia is more reckless and more violent than ever before. Controlled by a new wave of gangland bosses, it has broken old taboos and formed alliances that would have once been unthinkable.

So who now holds the power? There are the Middle Eastern gangs whose core business is drugs, the sale and stockpiling of dangerous weapons, extortion and large-scale fraud; the outlaw motorcycle gangs with their fortified club houses and amphetamine labs; and the Calabrian Mafia, always dangerous and opportunistic.

Even more frightening, through the influence of radical Islam, organised crime and terrorism have begun to merge. Our jails are turning drug dealers and car thieves into holy warriors willing to kill indiscriminately for their cause. 

With the same meticulous research that made Smack Express required reading for anyone interested in organised crime, Clive Small and Tom Gilling take us deep into this new, dark and violent Australian underworld. 

Review Blood Money - Clive Small & Tom Gilling
Karen Chisholm
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
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