Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Publisher's note: "Unrepentant: The strange and (sometimes) terrible life of Lorne Campbell, Satan's choice and Hell's Angels biker." A new book by Peter Edwards, my former partner in crime at the Toronto Star;


I insist on being unrepentant in praising Peter Edwards new book which just happens to be called “Unrepentant: The strange and (sometimes) terrible life of Lorne Campbell, Satan's choice and Hell's Angels biker." It's well worth the praise, and more!

Peter is my Toronto Star colleague of many years who worked very diligently with me to help expose the terrible miscarriages of justice caused by former pathologist Charles Smith.

Through Peter, Lorne Campbell brings us in to the heart of his outlaw biker's world.  It is at times a difficult journey to take. I remember several occasions reading the book outside the house – and then being anxious to escape from the violence, senselessness, ugliness and pain  of this world by returning to my peaceful home, which felt, thank goodness  like another planet.

But don’t get me wrong. This book is also filled with loyalty, humour and pathos and an abundance of intriguing stories about biker life, told by Peter,  a master story teller – who also happens to be a very fine journalist.  Here are some examples:

Loyalty:  (The ultimate test!) The account of how Campbell, took the witness stand and confessed to a murder  he had not been implicated in, in order to free eight of his “brothers” who had been charged with the crime – even though he might be paid back for his loyalty by spending the rest of his life in prison. Of special interest to the readers of this blog is Peter's account of how,  during the course of the trial, one of the eight accused men  asked for the trial to be interrupted so he could be taken to hospital and have a bullet removed through surgery, in a bid to show that he was a victim – and not the shooter.  (You will have to read the book to discover whether this ploy worked or not!)

Humour (sort of!): Peter’s account of a hockey game behind the walls of Canada’s super-Max Milhaven Penitentiary.  The game went reasonable well until one of the co-inmate spectators made the mistake of  screaming out, “Kill the sonofabitch.” As Peter  writes: “It may surprise habitués of mainstream hockey games, but there were unwritten rules about what you just didn’t do at a Milhaven hockey game, where a large percentage of the players were convicted killers.  Hollering “kill the sonofa bitch” was one of those things. “You don’t scream that to a  rink full of lifers, of killers,” Campbell says. You don’t yell ‘kill ‘em’ in Milhaven.”

Pathos: (of sorts!): “Campbell didn’t hold a grudge against  Jimmy Brockman for shooting him. At the time he put the bullet in Campbell, Jimmy was stoned and figured Campbell was trying to rip off his stash of speed. In their world that was a reasonable fear. “In his mind, I’m ripping him off. I liked Jimmy. I would have done the same thing. Only I would have pulled the trigger again. I wouldn’t have thrown away the gun.”

All that said, “Unrepentant,” is  a  fine, interesting, entertaining, enlightening and occasionally utterly disgusting  read  about a complex, articulate man, who you would never want to cross.  Never!

“Unrepentant”  is published by  Random House Canada.

More information at:


See also: the publisher's home page for the book:


Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.