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Publisher's Summary

The matriarch of Australia’s most violent and notorious criminal family, and allegedly the inspiration for the award-winning film Animal Kingdom, tells her side of the story.

Kathy Pettingill is a name that’s both respected and feared, not only by Australia’s criminal underworld, but by many in the Victorian police force. As the matriarch at the head of the most notorious and violent family of habitual offenders in Australian criminal history, her life has revolved around murder, drugs, prison, prostitution, and bent coppers - and the intrigue and horror that surround such crimes.

Her eldest son, Dennis Allen, was a mass murderer and a $70,000-a-week drug dealer who dismembered a Hell’s Angel with a chainsaw. Two younger sons were acquitted of the Walsh Street murders, the cold-blooded assassination of two police officers that changed the face of crime in Melbourne forever. One of the two, Victor, was gunned down himself in the street 14 years later, becoming the third son Kathy has buried.

In this revised and updated authorized edition of Adrian Tame’s best-selling The Matriarch, Kathy Pettingill reveals the chilling truth behind many of the myths and legends that surround her family, including her experiences in the blood-spattered charnel house at the centre of Dennis Allen’s empire of drugs and violence.

But this is no plea for pity. Forthright and deeply disturbing, like its subject, The Matriarch pulls no punches.

Updated and revised for a new generation, this true crime classic is as terrifying and powerful as when it was first published.

©1996, 2019 Adrian Tame and Kathy Pettingill (P)2019 Simon & Schuster Australia. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Matriarch

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Humm

Yes the the book was good, the narrater as well, happy to have read story and hope no proceeds went to this wicked woman, not a fan of her or her spawn. We all have choices. Knowing she is living a life of an upstanding citizen grates me a little, but at least she is giving back to the community, better now than latter I guess.

2 people found this helpful

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Very repetitive

I found this book to be Very repetitive. The timeline was all over the shop and just kept repeating and repeating itself but could’ve been ready in under 4 hours

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A bit Average

The story is more about her son Dennis the junkie / drug dealer. Not in the same league as "The Ice Man" or "Evil has a Name".

1 person found this helpful

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Disturbing Insight into a Melbourne Crime Family.

Well presented format. Kath's character is brought to life brilliantly by Kelly Butler. Fantastic research and inside knowledge by the Author. An interesting, difficult, confronting and outrageous story. Well worth the investment in listening time.

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Prepare to be shocked

A fascinating glimpse into a very strange family, who lived by their own rules, had little regard for anyone outside the family, a total disregard for the rules of an orderly society. Although full of lots of details, I am none the wiser as to how “Granny Evil” could justify her behaviour, and condone the appalling behaviour of her sons as well as the police. The book is also an indictment of the complete hypocrisy of society, in turning a blind eye to drug dealing, gang warfare and murder, as long as it only occurs in the slums of a large city.

I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone interested in recent events in Melbourne.

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Great listen

This has been the best audio book I have listened to so far. The subject is appalling but could not stop listening to this crazy family. KP is very sharp and quite hilarious at times. The best part however are the narrators. They made the audio book what it is. Great listen and highly recommend.

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Interesting and alarming times in Victoria!

I enjoyed this audio. Especially Narrator Kelly Butler.
Lewis Fitz-gerald was very easy to listen also. HR

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Good book

Well worth the credit such a good read enjoyed every minute. She's a tough woman

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granny evil

loved this book. it took me there. also the end. i recommend it highly.


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  • laniferous
  • 02-11-2019

Mind Blowing Lawlessness + Exceptional Narration

Audible says I need to have a minimum fifteen word review, but I think my headline says enough.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Audible Australia acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.