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Jacks and Jokers - Book Review

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by Marina Marangos (subscribe)
Published September 15th 2015
No joke - these things happened here
Brisbane has its own investigative reporter. He was born here and raised here, went away in slight disgust at how the state was run and came back and dived headlong into the era of the 50s to the 80s to find out in specific detail what had gone on, why, and who were the principal players in Queensland's quite remarkable story of gangs, prostitution and police corruption.

His work has now been published in three volumes.The first volume is called "Three Crooked Kings" and I reviewed this some weeks ago. I have recently finished reading "Jacks and Jokers" which is the second volume and his widely anticipated third volume "All Fall Down" comes out any day now.

Jacks and Jokers book

I found the first volume gripping reading. There is so much background information which Matt Condon has gone into to ensure the veracity of his writing. What was happening at the time was a real eye opener for me about the practices in Queensland at the time, and as I am always keen to have a really good grasp of the places I live in, this captivated me. "Jacks and Jokers" is the continuation covering the period between the 1970s and 1980s which largely coincides with the time when Joh Bjelke Peterson was Premier and when Terry Lewis was Police Commissioner. We heard about Terry Lewis's humble beginnings and his rising through the ranks in the first volume and this volume concentrates more on his reign as the Chief supremo in the police force with a channel of communication right through to the Premier's office.

In his time, corruption became rife once more, protection money was paid by prostitutes and massage parlours to police officers to make sure they were not prosecuted and the police came down hard on civil rights and freedoms. Those who spoke up and tried to whistle blow on the practices were sidelined and the few cases that came to court seemed to lead nowhere. it was not an exaggeration to say that the Premier with the active assistance of the Police Commissioner were creating a police state, and within that police state some policemen were enriching themselves in completely illegal ways.

"Jacks and Jokers" while still written in the same journalistic style and while attractive in its subject matter I felt lost its way a little on the detail. There are so many characters and names that as a reader you need to keep track of, but if you are not distracted by them, and concentrate on some of the principal characters you will soon be totally immersed. Matt Condon, recreates conversations and quotes from the extensive diaries kept by Terry Lewis who I believe collaborated with Matt Condon on the writing of this book.

Matt Condon will be talking about the latest volume "All Fall Down" on Tuesday the 29th of September 2015 at Old Museum, 480 Gregory Terrace Bowen Hills. If you want to hear what is in store in this last and final volume, don't hesitate to book your tickets for this presentation HERE.

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Why? Fascinating insight into Police corruption.
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