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Part father-son story, part true crime, Loose Units is a race through the underbelly of policing as ex-cop John Verhoeven tells all to his son Paul about the crimes, the characters and the pitch-black humour.

Paul Verhoeven's father, John, is a cop. Well, an ex-cop. Long since retired, John spent years embroiled in some of the seediest, scariest intrigue and escapades imaginable. Paul, however, is something of an artsy, sensitive soul who can’t understand why he doesn’t have the same heroism and courage as his dad. One day, John offers Paul the chance of a lifetime: he'll spill his guts, on tape, for the first time ever, and try to get to the bottom of this difference between them.

What unfolds is a goldmine of true-crime stories, showing John’s dramatic (and sometimes dodgy) experience of policing in Sydney in the 1980s. The crims, the car chases, the frequent brushes with death and violence, and the grey zone between what’s ethical and what’s effective: finally Paul gets real insight into what’s formed his father’s character.

Thrilling, fascinating and often laugh-out-loud funny, Loose Units is a high-octane adventure in policing, integrity and learning what your father is really all about.

Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback


    July 30, 2018


    272 pages

    RRP $34.99

    Online retailers

    • Amazon
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Dymocks
    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop
    • The Nile

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    July 30, 2018

    Penguin eBooks

    272 pages

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle AU
    • iBooks
    • Google Play EBook AU
    • Kobo Ebook
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks



I was seven years old when I saw my first dead body.

It took me a moment to register what I was looking at. I distinctly remember feeling very sick, then very cold all over. The body was a woman’s. Her eyes were still open, her pale hand was extended, and one of her legs was twisted under her body at a strange angle. Her blouse was torn, and there was a lot of blood.

At seven I was a small, skinny, generally cheerful kid. On this particular night I strayed from a dinner party my parents were throwing to go spelunking in a large walk-in closet at the back of our home. Before you get the wrong impression, there wasn’t a body in the closet itself, this isn’t going to be one of those stories. I’d simply reached an age where the length of my limbs, when splayed outwards, perfectly corresponded with the width of the closet. And given that I had unusually large feet and hands, and given that the walls had a certain degree of stick to them, and given that our ceilings were unreasonably high, it wasn’t uncommon for me to wedge my arms outwards, Samson-style, and then shimmy up the walls until I was flush with the closet’s ceiling.

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