Category Archives: Australian crime fiction

Noir at the Bar Melbourne

NATB1A very brief heads up for Melbourne based readers of Pulp Curry, that if you are at a loose end on Tuesday, March 28, I have the event for you.

Myself and crime writer, Iain Ryan (whose debut novel, Four Days, I reviewed on this site here) are organising Melbourne’s first Noir at the Bar event.

What is Noir at the Bar you ask?

It is pretty much what it sounds like – a group of writers do readings in a bar (or in our case a cool second hand bookstore with a bar, Grubb Street Bookshopm 1/379 Brunswick St, Fitzroy).

Crime fiction critic and blogger Peter Rozovsky of Detectives Beyond Borders originated Noir at the Bar at Noircon in Philadelphia in 2008, and from there the idea has spread all over the US. Indeed, these days hardly a week goes by in which there’s not a Noir at the Bar somewhere in the US.

Anyway, Iain and I thought it was high time we had one in the US. After all, we get enough of the crap of the US, we may as well take the good things as well.

So, a night of readings from some of Melbourne’s best noir fiction stylists and drinks in a cool establishment, what is not to like about that.… Read more

My top books of 2016

my-father-the-pornographerIt’s that time of the year for my top 10 reads of 2016. As is always the case, my list is a mixture of new books, old books, fiction and non-fiction. In no order they are as follows:

The Rules of Backyard Cricket, Jock Serong

It took a while for this book to warm up, but about a third of the way through it just goes bang and never looks back from there. An incredibly dark tale of suburban crime set over several decades in Melbourne, as seen through the eyes of professional cricketers Darren Keefe and his older brother, Wally. Don’t let the publisher’s marketing of this book as literary crime fool you; this is as good an example of noir as you will find in Australian crime fiction today. Serong has a beautiful prose style and totally nails the period detail of growing up in seventies/eighties suburban Melbourne.

Old Scores, David Whish-Wilson

Old 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 story is set in the set at the beginnings of the cowboy capitalism that marked Western Australia in that decade. Swann’s peculiar mix of talents is in demand by the state’s newly elected Labour government.… Read more

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.