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
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.
Melbourne: Text Publishing, 2010
(Review copy courtesy Text Publishing)