AUTHOR Rochelle Jackson has made her name interviewing some of Australia’s most notorious criminals including Martin Bryant, Carl Williams and Mark “Chopper” Read.
Now in her new book, Partners & Crime, the accomplished author and investigative journalist has turned her attention to the partners of these dangerous men.
An enthralling read, the book interviews Mary-Ann Read, ex-wife of standover man Chopper Read, Georgina Freeman, wife of illegal casino king George Freeman, and Sylvia Bruno, ex-wife of gangster Nikolai “The Bulgarian” Radev, to name a few.
Ms Jackson said she was both surprised and humbled by the willingness of her subjects to talk about their lives.
“I think one of the bravest women I interviewed was Mary-Ann Read; she has suffered so much violence and domestic abuse and was still willing to talk about it and tell her side of the story,” she said.
“This book idea first came about in 2009 when I was approached by Sylvia Bruno. I met her and thought what a great idea for a book, to interview the women behind the men behind the crime.
“These women are stereotyped and catalogued by the media often without their permission, so this was a chance for them to have their own voice.”
Jackson said she realised early on in her research that although she thought she knew the kind of women who dated criminals, the truth couldn’t have been further from the stereotype.
“Going in to this I thought I knew all about the type of woman who would date these kind of men, but there really isn’t a type at all,” she said.
“Every woman I interviewed had a very complex situation and I realised that there’s no one kind of woman that’s married to or dating a notorious man. I definitely walked away with a deeper understanding of them and their situations.”
Ms Jackson said the book had received rave reviews across the country and she believed it had hit a nerve with Australian readers.
“People are fascinated with the reasons behind why people do what they do and the psychology behind it,” she said.
“And what I discovered with these women ultimately was the power of love and how that can be so overwhelming. Many of them, still to this day, stand by their men, no matter how heinous the crimes he committed.”
Both terrifying and un-putdownable, Partners & Crime is available at Dymocks.