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Garry Disher, Wyatt (Guest post)

December 28, 2010

Some time ago I found in my mailbox a bundle of books from my lovely contacts at Text Publishing. Unfortunately, there were more books in the bundle than I could read at the time, and a couple were in genres I don’t generally read (though that’s not to say I wouldn’t read them if I had the time). So, like Lisa at ANZLitLovers and as I did for my last LibraryThing Early Reviewers copy of That Paris Year, I decided to use the Guest Post idea. For the LibraryThing guest post, the reviewer was my daughter, Hannah of Wayfaring Chocolate. This time, it’s my son, Evan. The book is Garry Disher‘s latest crime novel Wyatt, which won the 2010 Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction.

Evan read the novel while he was with us for Christmas. He has since returned to Melbourne (his home and the setting of the novel) and, while busy preparing for his flight to the USA tomorrow, made the time to please his mum by writing his review. I must say, it looks like the sort of crime novel I could enjoy. Thanks Evan …

Evan’s review of Wyatt, by Garry Disher

Gary Disher, Wyatt

Wyatt (Courtesy: Text Publishing)

Less a cops and robbers story than a robbers and robbers story, Wyatt is a new crime novel from the Australian author, Garry Disher. We are introduced to the protagonist and title character, Wyatt, as he is attempting to rob an extortionist. As one would expect in a good crime novel, it doesn’t go according to plan. Disher’s prose is terse and to the point, much like Wyatt himself, and the narrative races along, following a jewel heist and its aftermath. Set in Melbourne, which suddenly becomes dirtier and more sinister under Disher’s pen, Wyatt features many of the trappings of classic noir-ish, hard-boiled novels. This world is populated by seductive femme fatales, tough, if old-fashioned, men, and it will get the better of you if you don’t have your guard up. Wyatt is an aging, professional criminal, who is treated with reverence as a master within his field. He is cold, intelligent and calculating, yet sympathetic.

Surrounded by a host of characters, all dangerous in their own ways, Wyatt is pitted, almost indirectly over the course of the novel, against a French criminal much like him, and much his equal. However, to discuss more of the plot would be to spoil most of the fun. The pace rarely slows down, and the writing is taut and spare. The characters are archetypes, almost larger than life, but not overwritten. Disher has an invigorating, simple style. The violence, when it erupts, is abrupt and surprising and, without a hint of an overdrawn epilogue, the ending simply ends.  Wyatt is apparently the seventh book in a series featuring the title character. Despite having never read any of the others, and having a perhaps irrational bias against series in general, I am now eager to check out the others.

Garry Disher
Wyatt
Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2010
274pp.
ISBN:  9781921656811

(Review copy courtesy Text Publishing)

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. December 28, 2010 10:31 pm

    My word, there is much writing talent in your family, Sue!

    • December 28, 2010 10:44 pm

      Why thanks Lisa … I guess that’s what you get when you read to them from the time they are born! Or, maybe it’s just that love of words is in the genes… Anyhow, I was really glad he wanted to read it. I think he’s going to read some Franzen or Lethem on his flight to the USA, and/or maybe the Nick Cave book.

      • December 28, 2010 10:52 pm

        MUM! Do you realise you just completely took credit for both Evan’s and my writing styles? With both of your explanations? *laughs and laughs* You’re a wily one!

        That said, great review, Evan. You’ve made me want to read it too – I wonder how this would compare to my favourite crime writer, James Lee Burke…

        • December 28, 2010 10:59 pm

          Too cheeky Hannah but in fact I’m not taking total credit. Remember that your dad’s grandfather – not that any of us met him – was a journalist. So the genes come from both sides – maternal grandmother a lexicographer, and paternal great-grandfather a journalist… One could day, perhaps, that you were doomed from the start.

  2. December 29, 2010 3:00 am

    Will check out Disher. I’m still reeling from Animal Kingdom.

    • December 29, 2010 9:18 am

      Understand completely … I’ll watch out for your review of Disher if/when you get around to him.

  3. December 29, 2010 4:06 pm

    I had no idea about that! You’ll have to tell me more about them later 🙂

  4. December 29, 2010 4:39 pm

    Ah, another great guest post. I too was impressed with the capable, articulate young people that you have raised Sue. I must admit to being on to you in the way Hannah suggests as well though! And Evan made me want to read the book as well, although I’d never heard of the author or the series before.

    • December 29, 2010 5:08 pm

      LOL Louise … I clearly should have made that first comment re genes clearer. I am glad though that you like the review. It’s not a long book … so easy to give a go

  5. January 1, 2011 12:55 pm

    So, when’s Evan starting his own blog? 😉

    Great review, by the way. I’m not into Disher’s stuff, but this has almost made me want to go read this book!

    • January 1, 2011 1:28 pm

      ‘Twould be good if he did, but I think his new teaching career takes up about as much energy as he has. It’s a short book, so we’ll take it to Thredbo with us next week. I may not get to it methinks, but hubby probably will.

  6. January 3, 2011 10:47 am

    I was positively surprised by this book. I must admit that I didn’t expect it to be as gripping and intriguing as it was. I will definitely be looking out for more Disher books in the future!

    • January 3, 2011 1:00 pm

      Thanks for commenting Justine … it really seems like I should read this myself doesn’t it? I had heard that he was a good writer, so I must check him out for myself.

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