by Garry Disher
Cover Artist: Photo: Kamil Vojnar / Getty Images
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Soho Crime Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781569479629
Date: 09 August 2011 List Price $25.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Stealing the treasury notes and bearer bonds from the Furneaux brothers was suppose to be a simple job for Wyatt Wareen, a professional jewel and art thief. Unfortunately, one of his partners, the slimy, whore-hopping Eddie Oberin, double crosses him by shooting him in the chest. Lucky for Wyatt, his bullet-proof vest saves him. Now he is hell bent on killing Eddie and his insane stripper girlfriend, Khandi Cane. Meanwhile, Alain Le Page, a French thief who stole the notes and bonds and gave them to his cousins, the Furneaux brothers, for fencing, is hell bent on killing Eddie, Khandi and Wyatt. The streets of Melbourne run red with blood when vengeance and greed ignite a deadly war between two professional thieves.
Garry Disher's Wyatt is simply awesome. A fast-paced thriller that is bloody from cover to cover, Wyatt is the type of crime drama that I really enjoy. Disher doesn't waste a single word in this lean, tightly written novel set in the Land Down Under; it moves so quickly that the reader will sometimes forget to breathe. This novel is great for reading while traveling on plane, train, or bus; however, it may make the reader suspicious of his/her companions: Is that Wyatt Wareen sitting motionlessly across from me with his baseball cap pulled down over his eyes? Is that a Glock concealed beneath his loose-fitting jogging suit? Wyatt is like an emotionally detached animal that looks upon humans as prey. However, he doesn't want to kill them; he just wants their money.
A majority of the characters in Wyatt are morally reprehensible. They'll kill their own grandmothers for money. Naturally, Wyatt has police corruption. Detective Sergeant Lynette Rigby is overcome by temptation and keeps most of the stolen bonds she finds instead of presenting them as evidence; her justification that she's been abused and passed over for promotion because she's a female is very trite. One of the most bizarre, despicable female characters I've encountered in literature is the stripper Khandi Cane; she's a vicious, foul-mouthed, psychopathic killer. She's almost a female version of the globe-trotting Alain Le Page except he has more class and style. Lydia Stark, Eddie Oberin's ex-wife, is the only one who seems morally redeemable; she slowly falls in love with Wyatt but he gently keeps pushing her away. He's a man who is constantly on the run; he doesn't have time to be hindered by romance, which is a shame considering his attractiveness.
In fact, Wyatt never mentions his past life. He would rather forget it. He's a man of mystery --a slick, clever man who expertly blends in with his environment like a chameleon. Wyatt is the first Wyatt Wareen novel published since The Fallout in 1997 and the seventh in the series: Kickback, Paydirt, Deathdeal, Crosskill, Port Vila Blues and The Fallout. Wyatt is definitely a standalone novel and I wouldn't have ever known it was the latest installment in a series if I hadn't done some research first. I would love to read the previous novels, which seem to have similar plots. Maybe SoHo will release paperback reprints because these out-of-print novels from the nineties are expensive on the secondary markets. Hopefully, Garry Disher will continue writing more novels in this gritty, gun-to-your-head type crime drama series.
If you like violent, bloody, shoot-'em-up crime drama with hot chicks and motorcycles, and you're pressed for time, then you must read Garry Disher's Wyatt. There is a lot of betrayal, double crossing, vindictiveness, explosive action, foul language, and sex (mostly implied). The body count is good. My only complaint is that I didnít get a genuine taste and feel for the culture of beautiful Melbourne (correctly pronounced MEL-BN, not MEL-BORN, which I learned from the most talented, beautiful Aussie, Olivia Newton-John). This novel could've taken place in any large, industrialized city. Nevertheless, Wyatt is the type of antihero to be admired for his faithfulness and determination. If he says he's going to kill you, then you better start making preparations to die. That's just the way it is. You definitely don't want Wyatt Wareen as your enemy.
Wyatt is highly recommended for all fans of noir. I'm going to have to explore the award-winning Detective Inspector Hal Challis series, which is also set in Australia, also written by Garry Disher and also published by SoHo Crime.