If you have read any books about Australian crime in the 1970s and 1980s, the name Roger Rogerson most likely will not be a stranger to you. He was certainly no stranger to the news media, having actively courted them for years. More recently, people like myself made a point of reading the Sydney newspapers to see what was happening in the trial of Rogerson and his accomplice Glen McNamara for murder.
Duncan McNab has previously written about Rogerson, in his 2006 title, The Dodger: Inside the World of Roger Rogerson. Once Rogerson was back on trial again, McNab obviously also followed it quite closely to produce an updated version of The Dodger, including the murder trial.
There is a quote on the book’s rear cover: “a poisoned, evil little man.” And that seems a pretty fitting description of Rogerson. He openly boasted about the men he killed in the line of duty, despite one of those being pretty much a murder that he got away with. Anyone who got in his way on the job seemed to find themselves shoved on the outer. He was a blatant criminal in his drug dealers and apparent involvement in the murder of others getting in the way. Overall there is a sense of astounding arrogance that comes through in the depiction of Rogerson. Despite earlier prison time and being thrown off the force, he still seems to have had an attitude of ‘can’t touch me.’ But by the end, then aged 73, he wasn’t as sharp as he used to be or thought he was. It seems to have never occurred to him that a self-storage facility would have security cameras around the place. Or that driving your own vehicle to a drug-deal-cum-murder was not the brightest of stunts. Or that hiring a block and tackle to lift a body into a boat for disposal might get traced back to them.
McNab is a former police detective, private investigator and investigative journalist as well as being personally acquainted with Rogerson on the job, which gave him a possibly unique outlook in being able to write this and the earlier work. It covers a lot of ground about both Rogerson and McNamara, making it a fascinating account. If you have any interest in true crime, corruption and seeing a truly bad bloke getting his come-uppance, then this is definitely the book for you.
The only negatives for me were the lack of an index or bibliography to help with further reading if interested. But that is all too often the way in publishing of non-fiction titles these days.