WYATT by by Garry Disher

Book Quote:

“A getaway needn’t be speedy if it’s accurate and efficient.” Wyatt said. “Vanishing, that’s the thing, and that means anticipation.”

Book Review:

Review by Guy Savage  (SEP 16, 2011)

Australian author Garry Disher has a solid reputation for his Inspector Challis police procedurals, but on Disher’s other creative side of the law, there’s also the Wyatt series. Wyatt, a methodical, cool and collected anti-hero is a Melbourne crook, and Disher’s Wyatt series is frequently considered by crime aficionados as an Aussie counterpart to Robert Parker’s Stark series. Wyatt, a heist novel, is the seventh book in the series and it appears after a 13-year-break.

Melbourne has long been known as a hot bed of police corruption, and the city was also home to the notorious Pettingill crime family. Wyatt, however, is a crook who prefers to hunt alone–except for the occasional tip, and in this novel, it’s the tip that leads to trouble.

Wyatt receives inside information from a “fixer, an agent, a middle-man” named Eddie–a man who “could sit on a half-formed plan for years until the right circumstances come along.” Eddie usually provides information, and then sits out on the crime while getting a percentage of the cut. This time Eddie wants a role in the heist, and the job comes courtesy of inside information from Eddie’s sexy ex-wife, Lydia. Lydia used to work for a jeweler who did business with the Furneaux brothers, Henri and Joe. Lydia’s a bright woman who was groped once too often by the brothers, and now she has some valuable information regarding the under-the-table deals conducted by the Furneaux brothers. Seems they own a large Melbourne jewelry store and make deliveries of valuable items all over Southern New South Wales. The beauty of the plan is that the Furneaux brothers fence stolen jewelry brought in from various points all over the world by their cousin, Alain Le Page. As Eddie says: “That’s the beauty of it—we rob a robber.”

Right at the planning stage of the heist, Wyatt has a feeling that there’s something not quite right. For a start, Eddie wants to be involved, and then he’s bringing in his ex-wife Lydia as a crew member. Involving an ex- goes against the grain for Wyatt–after all, there’s a lot of dirty unfinished business between ex-spouses. Who’s to know whether or not one has an axe to grind against the other? In this case, Wyatt’s known Eddie for a long time, but he’s not sure exactly what Lydia’s game is. However, Wyatt finds himself “recognizing something of himself in Eddie’s ex-wife. She was naturally wary and assessing, and silence was probably her natural state.” But beyond feeling a grudging respect for Lydia’s intelligence, Wyatt also feels a reluctant attraction.

In spite of the fact that Wyatt intuitively senses that there’s something wrong with the heist set-up, he decides to go ahead–after all, he’s down on his luck and needs to make a score.

Wyatt should have listened to his sixth sense…..

The novel makes the point that Wyatt is in many ways becoming an anachronism. He’s strictly a low-tech thief and he’s finding fewer situations that accommodate his talents:

“Where could a man like Wyatt lift cash these days? Money was moved around electronically. If cash was used, it was stored and protected by the kinds of high-tech security that he couldn’t hope to crack or bypass, not without the help of experts and costly equipment. That left paintings and jewelry, which were also highly protected and could only be shifted by a fence who’d give you a few dollars and then sell you out.”

If things don’t look up for Wyatt soon, he may be left with purse-snatching as his only option.

Wyatt is a definite read for fans of heist novels. While Soho Crime publishes Disher’s Inspector Challis novels, the earlier novels in the Wyatt series are out-of-print, and so Wyatt may be the first novel readers catch in the series. Much is made of the “legend” of Wyatt in the plot, and that’s hard to relate to if, like me, you haven’t heard of this character before. But nonetheless, this is a well-conducted heist novel complete with corrupt coppers, a psychotic hit man, and a deranged stripper who’s parted ways with her pole.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-5from 7 readers
PUBLISHER: Soho Crime (August 9, 2011)
REVIEWER: Guy Savage
EXTRAS: Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our review of:

Partial Bibliography:

  • Approaches: Stories (1981)
  • Steal Away (1987)
  • The Difference to Me: Stories (1988)
  • The Stencil Man (1988)
  • Flamingo Gate (1991)
  • The Sunken Road (1996)
  • Straight, Bent and Barbara Vine: Crime Stories (1997)
  • Past the Headlands (2001)
  • Play Abandoned (2011)

The Challis and Destry Novels

Wyatt Series:

September 16, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Australia, Thriller/Spy/Caper, y Award Winning Author

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