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October 11, 2006

Hi all. As always a bit slack on the blogging front, but this time I have myself a legitimate excuse – I’ve been in hiding since this month’s FHM mag hit the news stands last week.

Inside is a four-page spread devoted to my time as an undercover cop. It’s a little bit cringe-worthy as the photos and the accompanying text aren’t my proudest professional moments.

As I discovered early on into the piece, the FHM people are very fond of sensationalising a topic. I lost count of the sloppy and unintentional errors after I’d taken off my shoes and socks to keep score.

Not to worry. All publicity’s good publicity, so they tell me. It’d wanna be too. After seeing the offending article, I felt like punching every wall in the room. Thankfully, that anger has subsided now.

So, what’s been happening. I’m two-thirds of the way through Wired. I’m happy enough with what I’ve got down on paper, and I’m hoping that it reads okay. Maybe I should chuck down a few pages here on the blog and see what you all think. If half a dozen of you shout out in the comments section, I’ll see what I can do.

Other than that, life marches on, at times merrily. Until next time…

Public Viewing

September 16, 2006

I caught the train the other day. I don’t catch public transport that often, but my car was playing up and I had no other alternative.

Anyway, I took a seat and took a look around. A girl in the seat directly over the aisle from me was reading a book. She was reading Undercover.

I couldn’t help but sneakily watch her expression for the duration of the trip for any signs of life. Was she enjoying the book? I don’t know. She wasn’t frowning. That was a start. I kept hoping that she’d smile or even laugh out loud, and then I’d feel as though I’d been given two thumbs up from a fellow commuter.

She hopped off the train two stops before me. I’m still not sure if she liked what she was reading, and I was too shy to introduce myself.

That was my day out on Melbourne’s wonderful train network. Very surreal.

PS. New book progressing well – I guess that’s why I’ve been scarce around these parts. Hopefully Wired will be done and dusted by the end of October. I’ll try and get here every week to keep you posted. Cheers. DM

ABC Radio Interview

August 22, 2006

Tracked down this radio interview I did back in early March with Richard Fidler, the straight man who played guitar for the Doug Anthony All-Stars. He now hosts the Conversation Hour every morning on ABC Radio in Sydney and Brisbane.

Anyway, thought I’d whack it up here on the blog, so you could download and listen. You could then play it to yourself on one of those nights when sleep won’t come easily.

Researching Wired…

August 22, 2006

I’ve been doing some research the past week or so for the new book, visiting a few places in Melbourne where drugs were dealt and crooks were busted. The memory likes to play tricks, so it pays to get out and about with a pen and notepad.

For Wired, my travels have taken on a seaside theme. On Sunday, I took a trip down to Williamstown Beach, then followed that up with bits and pieces of Elwood and St Kilda. If it wasn’t so cold down here in Melbourne, I would’ve dipped a toe or two in the water.

When I was researching the first book, I made a special trip to Griffith beforehand. For those that haven’t read Undercover, I’m not exactly the most popular person in south central NSW. Well, popular with some; others are not so welcoming.

I arrived late in the afternoon, and decided to de-bag in the same motel I stayed at back in 1994. As I alluded to in Undercover, the owners of this particular motel allegedly have a strong ‘family’ connection. No surprises then that I didn’t book ahead.

When I checked in, I wasn’t too fussy about which room they put me in. I just needed to get a feel for the place. The gods must’ve been smiling because I was given room 314, the same room I stayed in 10 years earlier. Very, very weird.

The next morning I skipped town after checking out all the sights one more time. Speaking personally, the best view of Griffith comes from a rear-view mirror. But hey, that’s just me.

Wired Rundown

August 16, 2006

Now that I’m bashing away at it, here’s a very brief and rough guide to Wired, my next book due for publication some time early in 2007:

Operation Desert Storm: an amphetamines deal worth just under half a mill is under threat when my cover is blown in a Melbourne hotel. The major players are an Iraqi middle man, a Tasmanian bikie with a thing for antique jewellery, and a big-name supplier as cagey as he is dangerous.

Operation Runner: Asian heroin dealers and the complicated sting that sucks them in.

Operation Rex: Cocaine, Chapel Street, and one very angry supplier. Unfortunately, the anger’s directed towards me.

Operation Rada: A clever con-man with an extortion plan. Well, maybe not that clever in the end…

Operation Rapur: Brown hash for heaps of cash.

Operation Faust: Greedy Romanian heavy deals heroin to me in a roadside buy/bust.

But wait, there’s more…

I also detail a few jobs that were short but interesting in their own way. These will be interspersed with the major operations.

So, there you go. Wired is up and running. I’ll keep you posted about the progress.

Also, if you’re reading this and you’re thinking about leaving a message but decide not to, please do! I thrive on feedback, and I’d love to hear what’s on your mind. Cheers.

Brazen Cheapskate!!!

August 10, 2006

Now that I’m clearing out old photos stored in my hard drive, here’s one that some friends sent me a year or so ago.

How’s this guy’s form? He thinks he can waltz into Borders, pick up a copy of Undercover, kick back like he owns the joint, and walk out eight hours later completely up-to-date on all things covert policing.

Hey, mate. Here’s a tip for you. Dive those short arms of yours into the long pockets located in those khaki bloomers you’re wearing, grab hold of your stinkin’ wallet, open it for once, salute the squadron of moths eating away at its insides, and make your way to the cash register.

Can you believe it? Borders is no friggin’ library, and he’s half-way through the book. I mean, come on. Does anyone know this freeloader?

If so, he’s in luck. I’m prepared to smoke the peace pipe, and send him a signed copy of White Lies for free. Yes, free: a concept he is very familiar with. But free, only on one condition. I want proof that he told his mates Undercover‘s a good read…

And thanks for the sneaky photos, Simon and Simone. Ever thought about doing some surveillance work?

Child Exploitation/Neglect

August 10, 2006

Young beachgoer/reader captured enjoying Undercover. Like many, it looks like he’s struggling to get past the Acknowledgements…

White Lies Reviews

August 3, 2006

I’ll give a rundown on the new book Wired soon, but before I do, I have some general house-cleaning to attend to. First, some words on White Lies.

Reviews in the print media have been a bit thin on the ground for White Lies. I did get a favourable one in the Herald-Sun in Melbourne and another in the Gold Coast Bulletin called the book “tantalising”. Here’s a quote from the Hun review:

The author is a natural storyteller, expertly conveying the hardcore grind of undercover work, the cold clunk of dread as a deal turns feral, and the will that controls nuclear-strength panic… the tension in some scenes is unbearable.

All very nice, but compared to the coverage Undercover received, it’s been pretty quiet for the newie. However, I did find one review the other day on the internet when I did a bit of “vanity googling”. Here’s the best bits from it:

Reading White Lies is a little like watching an undercover cop show like Stingers, except that these are real-life cops, real-life crims and real-life events.

Marrett shares his life with a wryly humorous voice which is easy to read and believable. He is also honest about the ups and downs of the job and of the necessarily secretive life he led for six years. For anyone with an interest in police and detective work, this is an absorbing read.

So, seeing as I’m writing a third book now, I’m interested in what people out there think. Which book was the better read? How did you think they differed? What did you like and dislike about the books? I realise I might be opening myself up a bit, but jump right in and have a go. It’s always good to receive feedback, good or even very, very bad…

Damian Marrett Blogs Here

August 3, 2006

Hi. It’s Damian here. Welcome to all of those who have come over from my website. I don’t know. I just thought I’d give this blogging thing a go instead of updating the website. I’ve been so slack on that front that I thought it’s best to start afresh. Apparently, this is where all the writers hang out these days…

I plan to at least post on here weekly. I’m writing the third book at the moment, Wired. Hence the name of this blog, wiredthebook. I’ve got plenty to report on several fronts, but I’ll leave you today with an article in yesterday’s fish and chip wrapper on LA producer Dan Dubiecki.

In conjunction with Melbourne producer Torus Tammer, Dan’s got the film option rights to both of the books. Torus and Dan have been partners for years and are both passionate about making the film. Dan’s currently carving up Hollywood with Thank You For Smoking, so I feel like I’m in good hands. I think The Australian gets rid of content after a few days, so here’s some of the bit that talks about me:

Dubiecki and various partners have options on Undercover and White Lies, by former covert Victorian police officer Damian Marrett; Galax-Arena and Terra-Farma, science fiction books for young people by Gillian Rubinstein; and Syrup, a white-collar comedy by Max Barry.

One of Dubiecki’s shorts was with Melburnian Torus Tammer, who moved home from LA in 2003 and knows Marrett.

“Tell someone in LA that Australia has organised crime and they can’t comprehend there is that aspect to our society,” says Tammer, who is producing the Marrett adaptations with Dubiecki. “But take away all the drugs, sex and seductiveness and the story (Undercover) is about a cop who is addicted to his work. And a lot of people can relate to that.”

They want to find an Australian director and this is also an option for the Rubinstein books, which Dubiecki is producing alongside his Lebanese-Canadian fiancee, Lara Alameddine. Reitman is likely to direct Syrup.

“We want to bridge the gap between Australian film and American film,” Dubiecki says. “As I am gaining more success I can get US funds to fund Australian-made films.