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January 10 , 2010

Dead Centre


When British tourist Peter Falconio vanished at night in the heart of the outback in 2001, it made front page news around the world.
Having been pulled over by a passing stranger in the Northern Territory on the major arterial highway linking the north and south of Australia , Falconio climbed out of his Kombi van and was never seen again. Still in the van, his girlfriend, Joanne Lees, heard a ‘bang’ and then was attacked, bound and gagged and thrown into the stranger’s 4WD. But Lees escaped, and hid in sparse bushland for hours in the desert until she was finally picked up by a passing truckie.
Falconio’s disappearance ignited a massive police hunt and unprecedented media attention. Thirteen months later Bradley Murdoch, a drifter arrested for an unrelated crime in South Australia was charged with Peter’s murder and the attack on Joanne Lees. He was ultimately tried and found guilty.
In Dead Centre , true crime expert Robin Bowles strips bare the story behind the headlines, taking you on her own personal journey through the outback to get to the heart of what happened to Peter Falconio. Based on over 50 hours of exclusive interviews with Murdoch himself, who had unrestricted access to the police file on the case in his cell, as well interviews with key police investigators and comments from the Falconios and Joanne Lees, Bowles paints a vivid picture of a convicted murderer and exposes the behind-the-scenes workings of a difficult investigation.
She also tackles those questions that remain unanswered, despite the trial and conviction. Could Joanne Lees really have eluded discovery for so long? Why wouldn’t she talk to the media? And the biggest mystery of all: where is Peter Falconio’s body?
Every so often there emerges unheralded from the Australian outback a series of events so compelling that the story rapidly becomes part of our folklore forever. A story almost as big and mysterious as the bush itself. A story that will polarize opinion and fuel animated discussion for a generation or more.
In 1996 Robin read a newspaper report about the alleged suicide of Victorian country housewife Jennifer Tanner. Guessing there might be a book in the ‘story behind the news’, she closed her PR business for a year and wrote a best seller, Blind Justice, now in its eighth reprint. She has written a bestseller almost every year since. During her career as an investigative writer she also obtained a private investigator’s licence. Some of the cases she was involved in inspired her novels, The Curse of the Golden Yo-Yo and Mystery of the Missing Masterpiece. Widely recognised as Australia’s foremost true crime writer, Robin is also a national convenor of Sisters in Crime Australia.

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