Review: Call Me Cruel by Michael Duffy

Title: Call Me Cruel

Author: Michael Duffy

Published: Allen & Unwin Australia Jan 2012

Synopsis: In the four months of their affair, Kylie Labouchardiere and Paul Wilkinson exchanged over 20,000 text messages. She was a trainee nurse; he worked in the New South Wales Police Force. Although Wilkinson eventually killed his lover to save his marriage, his main weapon was always words. He was a frighteningly convincing liar and left a trail of devastation across the lives of many he met.
The victims of Wilkinson’s stories included his own family and those of his wife and his lover. Another was policeman Geoff Lowe, whom he tried to frame for Kylie’s murder. Thanks to Wilkinson’s lies, Lowe lost his home, his job, and his family.  It took five years to bring Wilkinson to justice. His lies continued to the end, when he sent police to five different locations in the search for Kylie’s body. He once texted his wife: ‘Everybody has reasons 4 hiding a crime. Mine is the family can live not knowing where and why 4 . . . Call me cruel, call me nasty . . . her family can live their lives in misery 4 all I care F— THEM.’ Kylie’s grave has never been found

Status: Read from January 09 to 11, 2012 — I own a copy  (Courtesy Allen and Unwin Australia)

My Thoughts:

“…one of the most disturbing things about this story is not only that he [Paul Wilkinson] left a trail of broken careers and marriages and lives in his wake – a trail of misery an devastation- but that he almost got away with it.” p5

This quote from Call Me Cruel aptly describes why this case is so fascinating. It took five years to bring Paul Wilkinson to account for the murder of Kylie Labouchardiere, and he did very nearly walk away. This book tracks the case from the moment Kylie disappeared until Wilkinson was convicted of her murder. A sad tale of a vulnerable woman whose poor choices led her into the arms of her killer, Call Me Cruel includes the known facts and evidence police painstakingly gathered, the story of the grief felt by Kylie’s family and some conjecture about what exactly happened to Kylie, whose body has never been found.
Kylie Labouchardiere was just 25 years old when caught a train from the central coast to meet her lover, Wilkinson and was never seen again. Their affair had begun only a few months earlier after an encounter in the hospital where Kylie worked and Wilkinson was a patient. Unhappy in her marriage to her Navy husband, Kylie was susceptible to Wilkinsons charm that disguised his penchant for lies and manipulation. At the time an Aboriginal Community Liaison Officer (ACLO), though on stress leave, Wilkinson lured Kylie into his life by pretending to need her help with a case and quickly began a sexual relationship with her despite having a wife and brand new baby at home.
On the night she disappeared it is believed that Kylie, who had just discovered she was pregnant, was expecting Paul to leave his wife and move with her to Dubbo to begin a new life.
Kylie’s murder is undoubtedly a tragedy, and it was made worse for her family by the difficulties police had in proving a case against Wilkinson. Despite the suspicions of the investigators, Paul was arrogantly certain that they would never tie him to Kylie. But as a man who thrived on attention and manipulation he was unable to resist the drama of the case, repeatedly insinuating himself into the investigation with elaborate lies and fantasies which grew and changed over time, placing him more firmly in the frame as a suspect despite the lack of physical evidence. It is rare that a killer is convicted without a body though there is no doubt Kylie was murdered by Paul Wilkinson. In the end is was one of the more than 20,000 text messages that he exchanged with Kylie over a period of less than four months that proved to be the piece that led to Wilkinson admitting (though later rescinding) his guilt.
In his murderous wake, Kylie was not Wilkinson’s only victim – Kylie’s broken family, his own wife and son and a police officer he involved in his fantasies accusing him of outlandish crimes all paid a price and continue to do so, for his selfish decisions. Oblivious, Wilkinson refuses to reveal where Kylie was dumped and cares not at all for their misery.

Michael Duffy, a journalist and fiction novelist, has told the story of the investigation with sensitivity and respect striking a balance between dry facts and high emotion. Call Me Cruel is an interesting look at a victim, her murderer and the procedures of the police in a homicide case.

Available To Purchase

@ Amazon I Boomerang Books I Booktopia


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Esme
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 15:24:48

    What a terrible tragedy.



  2. The Australian Bookshelf
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 17:44:44

    Great review Shelleyrae for what sounds like an intriguing and sad tale.



  3. Jo @ Booklover Book Reviews
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 20:40:45

    That is so chilling… an example of real life being scarier than fiction.



  4. Joy Weese Moll
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 08:08:22

    What a chilling story. I’d never heard of it in the US, although it’s the kind of story that would have been made much of here if it happened in the states.



    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
      Jan 19, 2012 @ 13:40:54

      It wasn’t heard of much here either – it coincided with some other events that were much more newsworthy at the time



  5. Shirley
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 11:32:48

    You have some amazing sounding books on your list! You and I both have an eclectic taste in our reading. It’s good to see. The mysteries and the last book caught my attention!



  6. Tea Time with Marce
    Jan 19, 2012 @ 02:28:24

    I think this will be my year for True Crime, this sounds intriguing. I feel like I will have open mouth moments while reading.



    • shelleyrae @ Book'd Out
      Jan 19, 2012 @ 13:43:10

      I used to read a lot of True Crime at one stage but haven’t read much for a while. I just find it so fascinating



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