Review: A Woman of Force by Mark Morri

Title: A Woman of Force

Author: Mark Morri

Published: 22nd September 2020, Macmillan Australia

Status: Read September 2020 courtesy Macmillan/Netgalley


My Thoughts:

A Woman of Force is ‘The True Story of Deborah Wallace, the Cop Known as The Gangbuster’, penned by veteran journalist/crime writer, Mark Morri.

Illustrating Deborah Wallace’s remarkable thirty six year career as a NSW police officer, from general duties street cop to Detective Superintendent in charge of Strike Force Raptor, a specialised unit which played a major role in dismantling the state’s most dangerous bikie gangs, this a fascinating biography of a woman’s success in a unique role.

Beginning her career in Blacktown in 1983, Deborah enjoyed community policing and thought she would remain a uniform cop but after being invited to assist in the task force investigating the high profile case involving Anita Cobby’s shocking rape and murder (she was the police woman who re-enacted Anita’s journey towards home that night for the media), she earned her detective credentials just three years later.

I may actually have crossed paths with Deborah during her next assignment in Cabramatta when I worked in the suburb from 1994-1996. While she earned the nickname ‘Madam’, I was called ‘Missy’ by my exclusively Chinese and Vietnamese preschoolers and their family’s. I was well aware of the crime that plagued the area, we had to check the grounds and the sandpit each morning for used syringes or weapons that may have been thrown over the fence.

From Cabramatta, Wallace moved up to the South East Asian Crime Squad before taking command of The Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad in 2008, and then the Gang Squad in 2014, which also brought Strike Force Raptor under her leadership. I found her experiences, -sometimes exciting, often dangerous, and occasionally surprising-, within these units, to be engrossing,.

Wallace presents as intelligent, compassionate, resourceful, tough and dedicated. Though she was not immune from some targeted harassment (possibly more from professional jealousy than just plain sexism), it’s also clear that she readily attracted respect from the majority of her colleagues by proving herself to be a strong and supportive leader.

Personal details are sprinkled lightly through the book, including how Deborah met her husband, a little about her family, her friendships with Anita Cobby’s mother and Father Chris Reilly, and her involvement in organisations related to supporting youth, but the focus is on her career.

Deborah Wallace had an extraordinary career and I admire her significant contributions to the prevention, and curtailing, of crime. Interesting, and entertaining, I enjoyed reading A Woman of Force.


Available from PanMacmillan Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mystica
    Sep 26, 2020 @ 17:09:21

    Thanks for a very educative review.
    I have had problems getting access to your blog for over two weeks. It was quite by accident that I managed to get access today.

    Liked by 1 person


  2. divabooknerd
    Sep 26, 2020 @ 19:28:34

    She sounds as though she was a woman who broke through that glass ceiling, I love reading about women succeeding in what have been typically male dominated environments and I imagine she faced quite a bit of sexism through her time in the force. I haven’t heard of her before, being Victorian but this sounds like a captivating read and I like that the main focus is on her inspirational career. So glad you enjoyed this one, lovely review!

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Trackback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon | book'd out
  4. Tracey (Carpe Librum)
    Oct 03, 2020 @ 22:06:24

    I was very close to requesting a review copy of this one so enjoyed your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person


  5. Trackback: In 2020…My Life in Books | book'd out

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