Category Archives: Australian crime fiction

Book review: Old Scores

old-scoresOld Scores is the third book by Perth crime writer David Whish-Wilson featuring Frank Swann, former petty criminal, disgraced cop and low rent private investigator.

The first, Line of Sight (2010), was set in 1975, six months after the murder of a Perth brothel madam, shot four times in the back of the head with a .22 the day before she was scheduled to give evidence to the tax office implicating senior police and certain high profile ‘secret investors’ in her operation. Convinced the same cops responsible for the murder are the ones investigating it, Swann turns whistle blower for the Royal Commission called to investigate the murder and matters relating to it.

Zero at the Bone (2013) took place in 1979 and saw Swann engaged in a parlous living as a PI. A bikie wants his stolen Harley found, an old cop buddy wants help to track down some shop lifted jewels, and an attractive widow by the name of Jennifer Henderson wants to know why her geologist husband decided to blow his brains out. No one will touch case except Swann and it soon becomes apparent why.

Old Scores shifts the story to the eighties and the beginnings of the cowboy capitalism that marked Western Australia in that decade.… Read more

‘…Wyatt’s got some serious competition now’

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Sometimes one just has to do a bit of shameless self-promotion.

It’s been nearly three weeks since the release of my second novel, Gunshine State, my heist thriller set in Queensland, Melbourne and Thailand, and the reviews so far have been very positive.

My favourite of the crop so far is from Karen Chisholm, Australia’s most consistent and rigorous non mainstream media crime reviewer, who helms the site, Australian crime fiction:

‘What Gunshine State does as well is avoid the trap of style over substance. For all the lean and mean styling and strong characterisations, there is also a very solid plot. Believability again being the key here. There are all twists and turns you’d expect when the people on your side are as bad as the ones you’re up against, and there’s a certain type of person that does not take being screwed over – literally or figuratively – quietly… There’s room in Australian crime fiction for two lone-wolf anti-hero types, and Wyatt’s got some serious competition now.’

Those are terrific sentiments, given how much of a fan of Garry Disher and his creation, the character of the master thief Wyatt, I am. You can read the full review on Karen’s site here.

The other reviews so far have also been good:

‘… a comprehensive love letter to the genre’s rough hewn roots.’ The Big Issue magazine

‘Of the heist novels I’ve read recently, this one stands out as the best example, with modern criminals and a modern edge.’ Crime Fiction lover

‘The pace is fast, the narrative momentum steady.… Read more

Gunshine State publication day

Gunshine StateToday is publication day for my second novel, Gunshine State.

Gunshine State is a heist thriller set in Queensland, Melbourne and Thailand. Think Richard Stark’s Parker, Garry Disher’s Wyatt, and Wallace Stroby’s Crissa Stone. Add a touch of Surfers Paradisesleaze and a very dangerous stopover in Asia.

You can read about the book and some of the great praise it has already gathered on the 280 Steps site here.

Gunshine State is available in hard copy and e-book form on Amazon here, or check out the 280 Steps site for other platforms you can access it on. Review copies are available by contacting 280 Steps directly.

Perth based crime writer, David Whish-Wilson, whose work I have reviewed extensively on this site and whose new novel, Old Scores is out later this year, will be on help me launch my novel this coming Thursday, September 15, at Brunswick Bound boosktore, 361 Sydney Road Brunswick. The launch will kick off at around 6.30pm and go until 8 – 8.30pm, after which we will kick on at one of Brunswick’s many local watering holes.

Hope to see you there.

Gunshine State launch, September 15, Brunswick Bound bookstore

Gunshine StateA quick heads up for Melbourne folk that I will be launching my second novel, Gunshine State, on Thursday 15 September at Brunswick Bound bookstore, 361 Sydney Road, Brunswick.

I am very excited to announce that my friend and Perth based crime writer, David Whish-Wilson, whose work I have reviewed extensively on this site and whose new novel, Old Scores is out later this year, will be on hand to launch my novel. Copies of the book will be available for purchase on the night.

Gunshine State is a heist thriller set in Queensland, Melbourne and Thailand. Think Richard Stark’s Parker, Garry Disher’s Wyatt, and Wallace Stroby’s Crissa Stone. Add a touch of Surfers Paradisesleaze and a very dangerous stopover in Asia. It will be out in e-book and paperback on September 12 from 280 Steps. You can read about the book, some of the great praise it has already gathered and how you can get your hands on it at the 280 Steps site here.

The launch will kick off at around 6.30pm and go until 8 – 8.30pm, after which we will kick on at one of Brunswick’s many local watering holes.

Everyone is welcome to attend and I hope to see you there.

And while I am on the subject of launching my book, any readers who have a website or blog and who want to review Gunshine State or are interested in me stopping by to do a guest post or author Q&A, don’t hesitate to give me a shout out in the comments section below, and I will get back to you.… Read more

Beat Not the Bones & the story of an Australian Edgar Allan Poe Award winner

Beat Not the Bones Avon 1955As many of the my US readers will no doubt be aware, America’s foremost crime writing awards, the annual Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Awards, will be presented on April 28.

The upcoming awards make it an opportune time to revisit the winner of the Edgar Award in 1954. That book was called Beat Not the Bones, and it was written not by an American but by an Adelaide-born woman called Geraldine Halls, writing under the pseudonym, Charlotte Jay. That the winner the next year was Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye, gives you some idea how prestigious Halls’ win was.

Why some writers and their books go onto achieve lasting literary fame, while others, in this case Halls and her considerable work, sink into obscurity, always fascinates me. In a writing career stretching from 1951 to her last published novel in 1995, she produced fifteen books. Seven of these appeared under the pseudonym of Jay, her maiden name, and seven as Geraldine Halls, Halls being her married name. Another was published under the alias Geraldine Mary Jay.

There is very little information available about Halls, who died in Adelaide in October 1996, and the only image I could find on the Internet is on the Austlit site and is taken from the Adelaide Advertiser, dated May 8, 1853.… Read more