Australian Outlaw – Reviews

Reviews of Australian Outlaw – The True Story of Postcard Bandit Brenden Abbott, (Sly Ink, 2006).  

Outlaw is now back on the shelves – it’s available here through Pan Macmillan, or can be ordered through book stores.

The bottom line is that Brenden Abbott is a crook, an outlaw, a crim, a thief, a deadbeat and he’s paying for his crimes. But you can’t help but admire his ingenuity, cunning and professionalism and Derek Pedley humanises the guy with a book that tells it like it is. This is a terrific biography of a helluva life, a life that sits large in infamy alongside the likes of Ned Kelly, Ben Hall and maybe even the old Jolly Swagman.
– epinions review (Rating: five stars) 

Pedley helps the reader tag along with Abbott on his adventure, and shares the ups and downs of life on the run and in jail. It’s an earthy, urban version of the great Australian anti-establishmentarian outlaw fable using people and places we all know to help make it real, relevant and contemporary.
Liz Murray, Daily Magnet blog

A great read for true crime buffs. It’s full of fascinating detail about his exploits, from a ratbag kid in Perth to his status as Australia’s most wanted man and finally to almost six years in solitary as the country’s most guarded prisoner.
Luke Morfesse, The West Australian, Perth

The story of one of Australia’s most infamous modern-day criminals, Brenden Abbott, is an engrossing read of a life on the wrong side of the law.
Ian Orchard, The Advertiser, Adelaide, (three stars)

Adelaide journalist Derek Pedley is the first journalist to speak to Brenden Abbott about his prison breaks, bank robberies, disguises and fake identification that allowed him to avoid police detection for years… Australian Outlaw doesn’t glorify Abbott but it does give an incredible insight into the criminal mind.
Shirley Hardy-Rix, Victoria Police Association Journal

Pedley portrays a larrikin in the Kelly tradition, not inherently bad but always in trouble. Abbott emerges as intelligent and possibly a gifted painter.
Lucy Sussex, Sunday Age, Melbourne and The West Australian, Perth

I’ve actually suggested that it be read by budding investigators and the members of Operation Counteract (Armed Robbery Task Force) so that they can get a good appreciation of the crook’s side of things, especially when investigating robberies.
Detective Sergeant Trevor Jenkins, South Australian police

It was the best book I ever read.
-Marty Sheargold, The Shebang, Triple M national drivetime show

A WA Corrective Services spokesman told (The West Australian) the book, which includes a detailed account of Abbott’s escape from Fremantle prison, would also be banned in WA jails. “The book provides detailed information about how Mr Abbott manipulated the corrections system and escaped from prison facilities and, as such, has the potential to jeopardise prison security and community safety,” he said. Author Derek Pedley laughed off the ban. “I can understand their concern… I mean, from what I’ve written in the book, maybe all those tourists might be able to work out how to get out of Fremantle prison,” he said. “I suppose Papillon and The Shawshank Redemption are on the banned list in WA jails as well.”
The West Australian, Outlaw’s story barred in WA jails

The book is well researched, well presented and doesn’t appear to display any particular bias, though I felt at times that the author had a certain amount of respect for his subject, In a world where theft and robbery is fuelled by the driving needs of drug addicts, Abbott cuts somewhat of a finer figure, even gaining the respect of the very law that he ran from. He is the last of the true Australian crime mavericks.
Noosa Library review, Gold Coast, Queensland

Postcard Bandit Brenden Abbott is furious because prison officials will not allow him to read a new book about his life as Australia’s most wanted man. Jail bosses have refused to give Abbott a copy of Australian Outlaw – the True Story of Postcard Bandit Brenden Abbott by Adelaide journalist Derek Pedley.
Paul Weston, Sunday Mail, Brisbane, August 20, 2006

Notorious armed robber and escape artist, Brendan (sic) Abbott, is serving a sentence of 24 years and 7 months. He is also facing charges in several states across Australia. I am advised the jail he is in has intercepted a copy of a book which was mailed to Brendan Abbott. The General Manager has not given permission for the prisoner to have a copy of this book in the Maximum Security Unit. As the book claims to be an authorised biography, the Department is examining it to determine what potential impact it may have on staff working in the centres, the safety and good order of the centre, and on his victims. For example, we do not allow literature which encourages prisoners to plan and carry out escapes in our prisons, nor do we want literature which gives prisoners information about how to commit crimes. It is unlikely that this book will ever be allowed into Queensland prisons.
Queensland Police and Corrective Services Minister Judy Spence,
media statement, August 2006


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