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This Mortal Boy

Cover for This Mortal Boy

This Mortal Boy
July 2018


A novel based on real events and real people and the events that led to one of the last executions in New Zealand.

Albert Black, known as the ‘jukebox killer’, was only twenty when he was convicted of murdering another young man in a fight at a milk bar in Auckland on 26 July 1955. His crime fuelled growing moral panic about teenagers, and he was to hang less than five months later, the second-to-last person to be executed in New Zealand.

But what really happened? Was this a love crime, was it a sign of juvenile delinquency? Or was this dark episode in our recent history more about our society’s reaction to outsiders?

Black’s final words, as the hangman covered his head, were, ‘I wish you all a merry Christmas, gentlemen, and a prosperous New Year.’
This is his story.


– Winner: New Zealand Heritage Prize for Fiction 2018
– Listener Best 100 Books for 2018

– Winner: Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize 2019 (Ockham New Zealand Book Awards)
– Longlisted for Ngaio Marsh Awards for Best Crime Novel 2019