DEAD BY FRIDAY - Derek Pedley
I'd never heard of the death of Carolyn Matthews until I found out about Derek Pedley's book DEAD BY FRIDAY. In one way, I wish I still hadn't as this has to be, without a doubt, one of the most pointless, selfish, stupid, idiotic, inexplicable and flat out unbelievable crimes from a city that seems to specialise in them. In another, it's been a succinct reminder for a reader of a lot of fictional crime that real life can beat the fictional for weirdness hands down.
(DISCLAIMER: I did generate the ebook version of this manuscript for Derek Pedley, with no obligation whatsoever to review the book). One of the bonuses of generating ebooks for authors is that you do get a bit of a sneak preview of books as you're going, although you don't get a chance to take in a lot of details. But there were snippets and bits and pieces of this book that kept catching my eye, and mostly, they tended to indicate that this really was one of the most pointless true crimes I've ever read about. And because of that it was particularly vicious. There was enough there to make me want to sit down and read DEAD BY FRIDAY properly, which I did, and in that reading most of the "players" in the plot to kill Carolyn Matthews don't exactly come across as rocket scientists, but to think that people who are as base, self-interested, nasty and disrespectful of others as this lot, are also capable of coupling together a plot, is breathtaking to be frank.
The book does an excellent job of outlining the circumstances that lead up to the murder, as well as the aftermath. It describes the impact that her pointless death had on her immediate family, in particular the three sons that were taken, on purpose, into the room to find their mother's body by a father who words just about defy description of. It outlines the sordid, tedious, icky behaviour of that father - Kevin Matthews, and his lover, Michelle Burgess and how Burgess manipulated so many fools of blokes into doing her bidding. It also provides some possible explanations, by way of a Forensic Psychologist, for the behaviour that Burgess, in particular, exhibited.
What it can't definitively explain, and what nobody can ever is why. Why on earth these two people ever believed they could get away with all of this. Why they just couldn't tread the path that most people would and take their sordid little sex affair off into an appropriate location somewhere and leave their families in peace. Surely they didn't really think that at the end of all of this they'd take the insurance money and walk off into the sunset....
This is not easy subject matter, which makes DEAD BY FRIDAY quite an achievement, because out of that sordid horribleness, Pedley has written a story which has a serious go at explaining the inexplicable.
A compelling portrait of murder for hire in the Australian suburbs, it begins with a dangerous sexual predator seducing her husband’s sleazy boss. Their obsessive affair leads to public sex and disturbing fantasies. From the suburbs that spawned the Snowtown killers, enter the hitman. For the first time, the truth about the lovers who wanted their partners dead, but didn’t count on shrewd detectives, a brave husband and a shattered family – all determined to bring three killers to justice.