Carnage

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Millions have been entertained by the viral video of a man being arrested after a ‘succulent Chinese meal’. But when Mark Dapin investigated, it emerged this man's story went to the heart of the Australian underworld. A true crime cult classic in the making.

Whether you know it as the ‘succulent Chinese meal’ video, or ‘democracy manifest’, chances are you have seen the video of baritone larrikin Jack Karlson getting arrested outside a Brisbane Chinese restaurant in 1991. The Guardian called it ‘perhaps the pre-eminent Australian meme of the last 10 years’.

When Karlson called crime writer Mark Dapin out of the blue, though, Dapin hadn’t heard of him. But there was enough that intrigued him about this theatrical outlaw to continue the conversation. Over the following months emerged a dark and complex past. It turned out that Karlson had been in the background of many notorious incidents in late-twentieth century Australian crime, from collaborating with infamous prison-playwright Jim McNeil to befriending hitman Christopher Dale Flannery (Mr Rent-a-Kill).

But most shockingly of all, Karlson’s life story led Dapin to shed new light on a number of unsolved murders, by two serial killers.

The result is an extraordinary, deeply revealing portrait of Australian crime from the 60s to the 2010s – a portrait of carnage.