"People reckon my life has been glamorous. Well if this is glamour, then they're just off their heads.'
It was to be Carl Williams' last conversation behind bars with his unlikely confidante, reporter Adam Shand. Shortly afterwards, the drug boss and killer was front-page news again, this time being buried in a gold-plated coffin.
This bestselling behind-the-scenes story of Melbourne's disorganised crime scene starts in the late 1990s, when a feud raging between rival underworld families erupted in a spate of slayings on Melbourne's streets. The new generation was clashing with the criminal Establishment. Shand got closer than anyone to unravelling the personal stories behind the headlines, talking to the key figures, the suspects and victims, including Williams, his wife Roberta, Mick Gatto, and many others.
It wasn't a relationship without risks. Crackling with tension, Big Shots documents Shand's plunge into the other side of Melbourne. He watches as notorious criminals are transformed into red-carpet celebrities and finds himself questioning his objectivity – and even whether he is being used to further murderous ends.