Adam Shand's autobiography of Brian “Skull” Murphy, enforcer and super cop of the '70s and '80s, reads like Boy's Own and Sherlock Holmes meet The Sweeney in an outhouse and get well and truly done over.
While the blurb says the book goes inside “the world depicted in Underbelly” The Skull is more in-depth than that. Offering a different perspective, and, for a change, one from the hunter rather than the hunted, Shand's writing is deliberate, defined and illuminating.
Tracing the life and (hard) times of The Skull as he rubs shoulders with a pot pourri of crims, bent bureaucracy and not-so-forward-thinking comrades, the book covers Brian Murphy's deadlings with Flannery, Chuck and the Kane brothers, among a flotsam and jetsam of underworld others, against a backdrop of escalating gangland activity in two cities.
For those who are fans of true crime, bad blood, the lost and the found, and Australia in its heyday of crime and crime fighters, Adam Shand's work stands, pretty much as The Skull himself once did, erect and unflinching in the face of many competitors and inferiors.
One of those page-turners that manages to turn back time and make us realise that back in the day, there was no such thing as political correctness, and a copper's lot, while not always happy, was probably far more fluid and open to interpretation than it is today. – Black Inc, RRP$32.99