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Killing Charlie: The Bloody,Bullet-riddled Hunt for the Most Powerful Great Train Robber [Hardcover]

Wensley Clarkson
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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Book Description

28 Oct 2004
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.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing (28 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840188162
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840188165
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 15 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 292,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

WENSLEY CLARKSON's books have been published in more than twenty countries across the world and sold more than one million copies. He has also written movie screenplays and worked on many TV documentaries in the UK, US and Spain.

Product Description


"Reveals a fascinating life, albeit savage and ultimately wasted (****)" (Lads Mag) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

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.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A smooth operator 30 Jun 2007
Charlie Wilson was one of gangland's most charismatic characters and one who was deeply admired by the underworld. The author of this book, Wensley Clarkson, is a highly talented writer as well as a very skilful investigative journalist. In this well written book, Clarkson manages to get the balance between the crims and the police just right, neither extolling one party, nor castigating the other.

The result is an informative work and I think it likely that more than anybody else, Clarkson has come nearer to the truth about the Great Train Robbery. Certainly, and again more than anybody else, he has provided enough information as to the identity of the person who ensured that Charlie departed this life, sooner than was absolutely necessary.

A very good read.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He never left anyone behind... 10 Oct 2011
An almost romantic biography of Charlie Wilson and his journey from the slums of Battersea (as it was then) to the sumptous splendour of Porta Banus..via numerous robberies (including trains), prison break-outs and international drug deals We meet some of the heaviest 'chaps' on the Costa Del Crime..(Charlie associated with most of these people previously in prison)and learn about his secret basement with the little window We then learn how Charlie is assasinated in his own home in the most undignified manner on his 35th Wedding Anniversary

There were quite clearly two Charlies, the family man who loved his wife and daughters and the darker Charlie who got involved in all sorts of serious mischief placing him at the 'heavier' end of villainy

Charlie was never going to settle for a 'comfortable' life..he wanted it all..and according to this book, he became heavily involved in the drugs trade on the Costa Del Sol.. Importing large amounts of cannabis from North Africa and cocaine from Columbia. Charlie had always been Anti-Drugs, but when he realised how much money could be made, became a major player

Charlie worked hard at whatever he did and wanted to make as much money as possible,irrespective of how dangerous and risky this was. As his own health started to deteriorate (emphysemia) and he mixed in ever more ruthless company, sooner or later there was going to be serious trouble And there was. A huge consignment of cannabis resin (worth over 130 million pounds) was discovered by customs and Charlie, apparently, paid the ultimate price

This book traces the changing face of crime from the bank/train robbers of the early sixties..with their heirachical order and 'modus-operandi', to the drug fuelled psychopaths of today

An interesting read
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read, highly recommended 11 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having enjoyed the fairly recent book The Great Train Robbery: Crime of the Century: The Definitive Account by Nick Russell-Pavier & Stewart Richards, this title took my eye. Very glad it did, highly recommended as an informative and intriguing read. Charlie was a villain but many would feel it a shame he met the end he did. It certainly seemed out of character for such a careful, meticulous planner
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5.0 out of 5 stars brillaint 2 Jun 2014
By trish
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really loved this book about charlie wilson it was a very interesting book very good reading couldnt put it done once I started
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