A collection that will shock readers.
Following on from her first book Murder in Suburbia, Emily Webb has compiled a collection of shocking cases each of which has occurred in suburban Australia. Some of the more familiar cases in this book include, The Butcher of Wollongong, Mark Valera, to little known but no less dangerous killers like Kurt Dumas, who killed his girlfriend with a crossbow.
From her work as a journalist and true crime writing, Emily has been in contact with people who have never forgotten some of these crimes – even though they may have faded from the public eye:
The university friend of a woman murdered in a shocking random attach as she was picnicking with her boyfriend;
The niece of a woman murdered by a suspected serial killer, yet to be caught;
The school friend of a six-year-old girl abducted and murdered when she went a few minutes down the road to get sugar for her mum.
The story of Liz Westwood, the mother of Suzie who went missing in 1987, is one that's had a profound effect on the author. Having met Liz when she did a story about the case, Emily says she often thinks of Suzie, who was almost 17 when she disappeared after a party. No trace of Suzie had been found and there are many questions with no answers. Emily's sincerest hope is that by jogging the memories of some people about the cold cases in the book will lead to information that could solve these crimes.
Emily Webb is a journalist and author, specialling in true crime. She lives with her husband and young children in Melbourne's outer-eastern suburbs. Emily's is the author of Murder in Suburbia and Angels of Death: Disturbing Real Life Cases of Doctors and Nurses Who Kill.
Author: Emily Webb
Question: Where did you get the idea for Suburban Nightmare?
Emily Webb: The idea for the book was a natural continuation that stemmed from my first true crime book Murder in Suburbia. I had so much research and other cases I wanted to write about. I had some interesting and encouraging feedback from readers and that made me want to write another book that focused on Australian crime stories that weren't necessarily well known.
Question: Can you talk us through the research you conducted for Suburban Nightmare?
Emily Webb: My research process starts with going through newspaper archives and finding cases of interest. Some cases I wrote about in the book were expanded versions of stories I had done when I was a reporter for Leader Community News in Melbourne. These included the Tynong North-Frankston murders and the case of missing teen Suzie Lawrance. I have also been contacted by people who had connections to particular cases and I did research and interviews with these people where possible.
Question: Was it difficult writing of these crimes?
Emily Webb: Yes, especially when the victims were children. There comes a point when you write about true crime where it does affect you to a degree but obviously there is no comparison to what victims of crime and their loved ones endure.
Question: What's next, for you?
Emily Webb: I do some freelance true crime writing for a British magazine called Real Crime and I'm going to have a go at writing crime fiction. Otherwise I'm kept pretty busy with my family (I have two primary-school age children) and working in my job in communications in Melbourne.
Author: Emily Webb
Interview by Brooke Hunter