Wyatt, Garry Disher

Disher is a new author for me, and this is his latest book and winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction 2010.

The book’s opening sets the scene – “Wyatt was waiting to rob a man of $75,000.” – and it is through this bungled heist that we meet the protagonist, a fearfully calm and reassured man called Wyatt. What we come to learn about him, we gather only from his actions as he is as illusive and mysterious a character as I have ever encountered. He is swift, invisible, a chameleon and incredibly readable!

Wyatt encounters a range of people in this book, some more interesting than others. There is a prostitute, a thug, a police detective and a Frenchman who is a worthy opponent. Of course, there is also the necessary love interest.

However, while this tale could read like trashy crime fiction, it is actually brilliantly written and filled with a dynamism that I have rarely encountered in this genre. Disher does a magnificent job of describing Melbourne and clearly has a keen sense of the place. He takes us through her streets, down her dark alleyways and into her parks. It is a fascinating journey, impeccably narrated and wonderfully layered.

Obviously, the book is filled with the obligatory crime action of sex, drugs and a series of murders and this ensures that the plot is fast paced and quite twisted (I mean this in a positive way!)

The Australian says that Wyatt “simply has to be read in one sitting” and I can certainly attest to that (although it took me two sittings). I normally enjoy a good crime thriller, but this one has far exceeded my expectations and I dare confess that I might be a new Garry Disher fan … Is there going to be a sequel???

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