HAV­ING A CRACK

If you must travel into the Aus­tralian un­der­world, it helps to have a guide like best- sell­ing crime writer Tara Moss. She cracked a few Tough Nuts for Guy Davis.

Geelong Advertiser - TV Guide - - FEATURE -

pro­vide an in­sight into who these peo­ple are and what makes them tick.

And who bet­ter to present the se­ries than Aus­tralia’s queen of crime fic­tion, Tara Moss?

With a wealth of law-en­force­ment and un­der­world re­search for her five best-sell­ing crime nov­els un­der her belt, the for­mer model def­i­nitely knows her way around the dark end of the street. And she speaks knowl­edge­ably about the eight peo­ple pro­filed on Tough Nuts.

“ Each of these men was a ca­reer crim­i­nal who made a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on an era of Aus­tralian or­gan­ised crime,” she said.

“ We pro­file ev­ery­one from Aus­tralia’s first gang­ster, Chow Hayes, who came to promi­nence dur­ing the Ra­zor Gang wars in Syd­ney in the ’ 30s to Mel­bourne’s ‘ Mis­ter Death’, the ’ 80s drug baron Den­nis Allen.”

While the paths of many of these men crossed dur­ing their che­quered ca­reers, Moss points out that each of them emerged from a dif­fer­ent set of cir­cum­stances.

“ Most died vi­o­lently by the time they were 40, with the ex­cep­tion of Chow Hayes, Lenny McPher­son, who ruled the Syd­ney crime scene for four decades, and Rus­sell Cox, Aus­tralia’s most wanted man for 11

“ We clearly show not only the most in­fa­mous crimes but also the for­ma­tive years of these peo­ple, the af­ter­math of their crimes, the bru­tal con­se­quences and, in most cases, the vi­o­lent end to these men’s lives,” she said. “ In real life, crime doesn’t pay.”

Ah, but in the world of fic­tion it seems to pay quite nicely. For in­stance, Moss has par­layed her lit­er­ary ca­reer into a nifty pay-TV side­line, not only host­ing Tough Nuts but also pre­sent­ing the se­ries Tara Moss in Con­ver­sa­tion for the 13th Street net­work. years,” she said. “ He’s our only liv­ing Tough Nut, who also hap­pens to be re­formed.”

The re­formed Cox is cer­tainly an ex­cep­tion in the crim­i­nal cul­ture Tough Nuts ex­plores, and Moss be­lieves the show pro­vides an “ an­ti­dote” to pro­grams ac­cused of glam­or­is­ing the un­der­world.

“ Tara Moss in Con­ver­sa­tion is an in­for­mal, author-to-author in­ter­view show where I get to ask ques­tions of some of my favourite lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional crime writ­ers – my dream book-nerd job, es­sen­tially,” she laughed.

“ And at the 13th Street web­site ( www. 13thstreet. com. au), I run a monthly crime book club called Tara Moss Rec­om­mends, where, just as the name sug­gests, I rec­om­mend a new novel each month, cho­sen from among the best clas­sic and con­tem­po­rary crime lit­er­a­ture.”

All this talk leads one to won­der: what’s a nice girl like Tara Moss do­ing spend­ing so much time with the bad guys of the world?

“ I am fas­ci­nated with hu­man psy­chol­ogy and the ex­tremes of hu­man na­ture and ex­pe­ri­ence, in­clud­ing crim­i­nal be­hav­iour,” she ex­plained.

“ I am al­ways sad­dened by the ter­ri­ble things hu­mans do to one an­other, al­though af­ter 12 years of re­search into crim­i­nol­ogy, crim­i­nal psy­chol­ogy, psy­chopaths and se­rial killers it is hard to gen­uinely shock me.”

Fac­ing evil: Tara Moss presents the crim­i­nal case stud­ies of Alphonse Gan­gi­tano ( top), Christo­pher Dale Flan­nery ( mid­dle) and Len­nie McPher­son ( bot­tom).

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