Killing Charlie charts the extraordinary rise and spectacular fall of Charlie Wilson, the most powerful villain to emerge from Britain's crime of the twentieth century: the Great Train Robbery. Wilson's life story is one of greed, corruption and an eventual descent into a living hell as his rivals decide to wipe him off the face of the earth - with the tacit approval of Spanish, British and US drug enforcement agencies. Although he first made his name in the underworld following the Great Train Robbery, it was as a drug emperor of unquenchable savagery that Wilson came to be regarded as an all-powerful criminal capable of cold-blooded brutality that spelt the end for many of those who crossed him. Killing Charlie takes us on a roller-coaster ride though five decades of the London underworld, including a long spell on the Costa del Crime and forays into the deadliest killing fields of all: South America.
Meticulously researched, it uses a strong narrative to pull the reader into Wilson's bizarre, sordid, crime-filled world; one that took him from the slums of south-west London to the drug barons and playgrounds of Colombia and Spain via a lucrative role in developing London's Docklands. A complex web of killings, armed robberies and multimillion pound drug deals lay behind the criminal life and times of Wilson. Yet his story also provides a history of organised crime in Britain, starting when Jack Spot faded out in the '50s as the Krays came to prominence and ending with Wilson's own violent demise in the '90s. Containing interviews with many of Charlie Wilson's former associates, Killing Charlie reveals how Wilson struck fear into many other criminals; how his love of pretty women almost cost him his life; and how he desperately tried to 'retire' only to discover the inevitable - that gangsters never rest in peace.
Wensley Clarkson is a journalist and the author of many other crimebooks, including Public Enemy No. 1, Doctors of Death, Whatever Mother Says, Hit 'em Hard, Killer On The Road and Moody.