Comments & Quotes

Writers love feedback! Please send your feedback to me on any of my books or other items of interest. Your name will not be used, but some of your message may be posted here for others to read and comment upon.

From Phoebe’s mother to publisher

It’s always hard to read about what happened to Phoebe and the painful journey it has been to try to uncover the truth. Given the complexity of the story and the tight legal confines, I think Robin has done an amazing job. I appreciate that there are many others involved too and I am so grateful to you all for going out on a limb as you have to tell Phoebe’s story. There has been such amazing support from the general public and the media over this horrific journey, I think people deserve to know the finer details of what went on and Robins book will give them that. I’ll  never forget my first meeting with her at the inquest on the first day. She introduced herself and said she was thinking of perhaps writing a book about the case but she hadn’t made up her mind yet. I was in a complete daze.

It wasn’t until after she had visited us in Mallacoota some time after, that she called to say ‘I’m definitely going to write it’ (despite be warned off by some legal heavies). She’s not a woman to be intimidated!  I have nothing but admiration.

Dear Robin,

Congratulations on your book Into The Darkness re the mysterious death of the above.

I agree on many levels about your opinions, especially the judicial system in Victoria. Nepotism, for lack of better word?

NSW has a fairer system for all, evident in Harriet Wran’s conviction and jail time, despite the fact she’s the daughter of our former Premier Neville Wran. Plus conviction and jail time for former police detective Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara prove we can trust we will get fair treatment in our judicial system.

I pray someone will probe into the above case, pro bono. It seems fishy to me. If it was my daughter, I will not rest easy after the inquest finding. Hope that’s not the last we will hear of it.



Goodreads reviews of Into The Darkness

Hello Robin,

You asked for it. What do I think of your book? Well, I say a lot in a few words (sometimes).

The ‘thank you’ was genuine and complete.  The reference to it being Phoebe’s book was recognition of your work and her legacy to being heard – she was not represented at the coronial inquest. Coronial inquests are about the living not the deceased’s – that’s often left for a book after an Inquest.

The reason I asked about the transcript was a comment I recalled reading in your book saying something like you rely on your notes. I thought you reason might have been associated with the cost of transcripts. Also my suspicious mind suggests it is a way to avoid comeback from the courts for using the transcripts when the quotes came from your own notes. Similar, in your book, to the obscure thank you to some Police who otherwise are not directly named. I was interested to read you note on transcripts having court copyright – they should be publicly available in the public interest. I was certainly not questioning the accuracy of your work.

I smiled a number of times when reading your account. For example Chinese whispers. I have seen in the records of those attending a death just how the scene was handed over and an understanding of what had happened in the scene change at each handover. And yes I am talking about a real case about which I have a connection. 

I am a bit like Lorn Campbell, only I am the father not the grandfather. Hence the reason I am interested in his response. As his response is seemingly no longer on the Coroners web site and you have not mentioned it in your reply, you might like to pass on this email so that he may choose to forward a copy. In my case I told the Coroner what I thought of his finding when evidence showed his finding not possible but where any other finding would have brought into question the inadequacies of the Police investigation. 

I heard about your book on an early morning ABC interview and I purchase the book to inspire me  to keep writing mine. When family and friends are too close you can’t go to them for help and understanding. So thank you once again.


Dear Ms Bowles,

I hope this email finds you well!

I recently concluded reading your true crime book in relation to Phoebe Handsjuk’s death. I fould the book to be compelling, intriguing and frustrating over the course of the trials and tribulations surrounding the death.

I thoroughly enjoyed your ability to portray a fair and excellent combination of objective and subjective analysis.

I am currently a Criminology and Justice student almost in my final trimester.  I have always enjoyed reading true crime books and researching anything pertaining to crime and as your book says, understanding why people do things they do.  I hope to follow in your footsteps one day and develop my own true crime books.

I was hoping to perhaps gain some more insight from you about your experience in writing true crime books (I have no idea where to begin!) and how you began in this industry.  I am located in Melbourne and would be so greatful to meet with you.  Alternatively, if I could perhaps send through some questions if you are unavailable to meet.

Thank you again for providing a compelling insight into an interesting case through your writing.


Hi Robin

Just finished “Into the Darkness” – as usual, a really good read, but with a very unsatisfactory outcome as to what really happened to Phoebe.

I think The Sister knows more ….

It also strikes me that, if fingerprints weren’t found around the rubbish chute on the 12th floor, is there a possibility a chute on another floor was used?  Were they all tested for fingerprints, etc.   Just a thought.

I finished it within a day of Sue and Bob (from Timber Benders) being tragically killed in a road smash during this week.   They were really good people and what a lovely tribute Len paid to his daughter..

Do you still do the “talking bit” at Probus clubs, etc.? 

Kind regards


Dear Robin,

I had to write and tell you what an amazing read “Into the Darkness” was  –  so well researched and well written!  A definite page turner!

I loved your wry comment on page 186 – “Anyway, there were Robert and Sue, having eluded a cordon of Victoria’s finest”   !!!!

I’m not sure that Phoebe received the justice she deserved, however ………………… !

Thank you again for an engrossing read, Robin.

Best wishes,


Unsolved murder

Tue, 7 April 2009

Hi I would like to know if you could please send me some info on any web sites that would be helpful in trying to find out legal info as i am trying to look into the unsolved murder of my brother and am having no luck so far in finding out anything. so if you could give me any advice it would be greatly appreciated. the reason why i have asked you is because i am a big fan of your books and admirer how you seem to be able to come up with things that others don’t seem to know or care to look for. thankyou for your time!

Keep it up!

Tue, 7 April 2009

Hello robin
ur books are fantastic when i began reading bout adel i couldn’t put it down til i knew the out come… then i was hooked ive read all but the one bout jenny tanner am unable to buy a copy or order it in any book shops… any suggestions on how to get a copy??? another question… what’s the next true crime ur working on??? when can i get a copy??? last but not least… were u scared when researching ur books moments in the jayden book scared the crap outa me!!! thanx 4 writing such excellent books keep it up!!!

Thank you for your book

Tue, 7 April 2009

I am writing to you to ask for some assistance with a research project that I am undertaking as an Honours student in my final year of my law degree.

I have chosen to research and discuss the law in WA as it pertains to Euthanasia.  I recently purchased and read your excellent book about the Freeda Hayes case.  I\’d be really interested in asking you a few questions about the case.  I have tried to contact Max Crispe, the DPP and the Supreme Court to request a copy of the transcript of the Supreme Court Trial, but I am not having much luck getting anyone to help me.  If it were not for your book I would know even less about the case!

Thank you for giving me some hope of justice

Fri, 3 April 2009

Dear Robin, I have just finished reading your book Rough Justice and it has certainly proved to me what I was sure I knew. My darling brother has just been sentenced at Downing Centre in Sydney for a crime he did not commit.
We have two elderly parents and their hearts are broken as is mine at the injustice of the legal system. Anthony was told by his legal team which was Legal Aid that he could not possibly be found guilty and when I spoke to his barrister during the trial in regard to some evidence I thought was very important his comment was don’t worry His Honor is all bark and no bite your brother could not possibly be found guilty and disregarded what I had to say.
My brother is now at Long Bay prior to this he had never even had a speeding fine and we trusted the advise from the legal team and thought everything would be Ok. We are appealing the conviction with a new Legal Team. What a costly heartbreaking lesson to learn I am going out to purchase your other books. Thankyou for giving me some hope of justice when I thought all hope was gone.

More questions than answers

Tue, 7 April 2009

Hello Robin, I have followed the Falconio murder with great interest & have read your, Dead Centre, book numerous times.

I look at page 356 & then take into consideration the Omagh bombing case & say that Murdoch cannot be still considered guilty on the DNA evidence!The English DNA findings also again throws doubt on Joanne Lees identification evidence. Also I still have may doubts about James Hepi & his involvement! What do you think?

Just read Justice Denied. It has opened my eyes, I only ever knew what I read in the papers and on TV news, unbelievable!! More questions than answers….So many lives ruined ?

I believe your reporting was fair…

Tue, 7 April 2009

Hello, and I suppose Happy New Year would not be out of place, either!  I just had to write, having sat through your book Dead Centre and found myself unable to put it down till I was finished.  Your style of writing is most enjoyable and zips along nicely.

I wish I could write as well!  I can remember quite vividly the first time I saw the news bulletin about this alleged murder and abduction/escape; I scoffed then at the original version of events, and was never happy with the way Joanne Lees presented herself or her rendition of the evening in question.  I have read and watched true crime stories for over twenty years and find them fascinating, so to have this unbelievable case unfolding here in this incredible way was riveting.  Reading your account of the whole drame from start to conviction was wonderful, as you had access to information I had not seen/read previously.  I was glad that your account showed such anomalies with Joanne’s story; I have read other accounts of other cases and I thought as I read Dead Centre “ahh, Munchausen’s by Proxy” or at least certainly Joanne had a lot of desire to seize attention to herself.  (“I want to get on with my life”, “ I was treated..”)

I was pleased, too, to read of your interviews with Bradley Murdoch, as this humanised him in a way I’d not seen to date.  I am ambivalent about his guilt, and just this month (Dec07) have read in the press about doubt over the LCN DNA testing, and especially of such a small (minute) sample.  And you said at one point that someone had said it was not proper blood but something else, and I was thinking about the ooze you get after squeezing a pimple – the clear watery stuff.  Anyway, nothing you wrote makes me change my mind about Ms Lees and her ambiguity, and her unsettling changes in her renditions of what happened.  You didn’t actually say outright what you personally believe happened, and I was trying to read the lines of type and then between them simultaneously.

I believe your reporting was fair, and even though Mr Murdoch was convicted, I am somehow dissatisfied with the verdict; I would be happier if the prosecution had produced evidence that a) Peter Falconio is definitely dead, that b) he was murdered, that c) he was murdered by gunshot and d) that Bradley Murdoch did it.  It was all too circumstantial, and if only the jury had known what you knew from the committal hearing.  We both know that trials are not necessarily about the truth, but who can tell the best story.

Can’t put your books down

Tue, 7 April 2009

Hi robin i’ve read a few of your books (justice denied, rough justice and blind justice) are just a few of my favourites.


I’m usually not a big reader but when i pick up your books i can’t put them down till i finish them just wanted to say thankyou for such great reading and i’m looking forward to reading more great novels i was also wondering when your new book about jaidyn leskie is coming out???


thanks again hope to hear from you soon.:)

I think Murdoch is innocent

Tue, 7 April 2009

I read your book on the Falconio case (and the other three) and have been moved to contact you by the developments in the Darwin case in the UK. To me, it challenges the mindset of so many people concerning the idea that Falconio and Lees may have faked his disappearance. I know from your Crikey piece following her interview by Denton that you still harbour doubts yourself.

A web seach turns up a couple of articles that suggest there was an insurance payout but the amount has never been revealed. I also noticed that Lees applied for victim compensation and apparently received it.

I also note that Murdoch continues to maintain his innocence and is grabbing whatever opportunity he can to get his case before an appeal.

Personally I think Murdoch is innocent (or, at least, not guilty of murdering Falconio) and I certainly think Lees account is bullshit.

Thank you for a great read

Mon, 6 April 2009

A friend suggest I read Blind Justice. How I feel for Jenny and her family. You told her story well. Thank you for a great read.

Being an ardent reader of true crime I have read several books on the Falconio case. I am yet to be convinced that Murdoch is guilty. Once again I find that shoddy police work has probably led to a miscarriage of justice. Common sense would tell most people that running through the bush in the dark  in a pair of shorts, tshirt & sandals , would leave a person covered in cuts, grazes & may even rip the clothes. So I dont know  how
Lees expects anyone to seriously believe her account of escape. Also I believe Murdoch  is a big man & dont think she could fight him off that easily.  I guess we will never know the truth. I enjoy all your books, keep them coming.

Brave Woman

Mon, 6 April 2009

Dear Robin, congratulations are due to you with the current evidence regarding the Keough case. I was impressed by your book, which I purchase as soon as it was published last year.

Excellent work and what a brave woman you are.