Tag Archives: Wyatt

Being influenced by your favourite crime writer

As regular readers of this site will know, my second novel, Gunshine State, has recently been re-released.

To mark the occasion, the fine folks at my publisher, Down and Out Books, asked me to stop by their site and say a few works about the book.

Gunshine State has a number of literary influences. I am a big fan of the Crissa Stone books by Wallace Stroby and Australian writer Garry Disher’s Wyatt books. But my most obvious inspiration—and probably my desert island series—is the character of the master thief Parker, created by Richard Stark aka Donald Westlake.

For my post for the Down and Out Books site, I decided to talk about the very fine line between being influenced by your favourite crime writers and falling into a straight out pastiche or imitation. Doing the former without plunging into latter is something I was very conscious of, as I was writing Gunshine State – my attempt to do an Australian take on the heist gone wrong story – and the follow up, which I am currently in the midst of, Orphan Road.

The piece is available to read in full here.

And, if you are after a good weekend read, Gunshine State is available in all formats here.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

Book review: Bitter Wash Road

Bitter WashGarry Disher has been writing crime fiction for longer than I’ve been reading it.

I love his work and think his books are getting better and better.

If you want proof, check out his latest novel, Bitter Wash Road.

Unlike Disher’s other crime fiction, the Wyatt series and the Challis and Destry police procedurals, Bitter Wash Road is intended as a stand alone.

The story is told from the perspective of Hirsch, a whistle blowing cop, him self under suspicion of corruption, who has been exiled to a one-man police station in the small town of Tiverton, located in dry wheat and wool country south of the Flinders Ranges, South Australia.

The first few chapters are a master class in class in how to write a tense, atmospheric crime thriller.

Called out to investigate a report of shots being fired on Bitter Wash Road, Hirsch ends up being the first cop on the scene of a terrible crime, a young local girl found dead in a ditch.

The dead girl had a reputation for being a bit wild, a taste for hitch hiking, with all the innuendo that goes with it. Everyone, including his boss, an old school cop called Kropp, thinks it is a hit and run. Hirsch is not convinced.… Read more

Sixty Minutes with Garry Disher at the Crime & Justice Festival

Bitter WashA quick heads up that I’ll be interviewing Australian crime writing legend Garry Disher at the Reader’s Feast Crime & Justice Festival, on Sunday, November 17.

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of Disher. Have been ever since I picked up the first of his Wyatt novels, Kickback, in the early nineties. He’s got a new one out, Bitter Wash Road. We’ll be talking about that, his other books, including the Wyatt and Challis and Destry books series, and his tips to crime writing. If you’re luck, we might even discuss the time he wrote for television.

I’m half way through Bitter Wash Road and it’s terrific. Set in rural South Australia, it involves a police whistle blower and an investigation into the hit and run killing of a teenage girl that unearths terrible secrets.

The plot is as hardboiled as they come and the writing is simply wonderful.

Dare I say, it might even be Disher’s book best yet.

I’ll post a longer review of this book in the next week or so.

If you have the time, do come along to my discussion with Garry. It takes place 10am, Sunday, November 17 at the Reader’s Feast Bookstore, 162 Collins Street, Melbourne. The ticket will set you back $6, which is not too steep a price to listen to one of the best Australian crime writers working today.… Read more

Launch of Crime Factory’s Hard Labour anthology and other crime writing news

There’s a hell of a lot going on crime writing wise for me at the moment.

In addition to the launch of my debut novel, Ghost Money, I have several pieces of short fiction coming out. Things are also busy in regard to Crime Factory Publications, the small press I have stared with two other Melbourne friends, Cameron Ashley and Liam Jose.

On Monday, October 8, Crime Factory Publications is launching its second book, Hard Labour, an all-Australian short crime fiction anthology. I’m one of the editors, along with Jose and Ashley and, as usual, we’ve tried to mix establishing crime writers with talented up and comers. The line up includes Garry Disher (his first Wyatt story, unpublished for over a decade), Adrian McKinty (a Melbourne-based Irish writer, so he counts), Leigh Redhead, Angela Savage, Peter Corris, Helen Fitzgerald, David Whish-Wilson, JJ DeCeglie, Andrez Bergen, Deborah Sheldon, Amanda Wrangles, and many more.

The venue is the same as our first launch in March, Grumpy’s Green, 125 Smith Street, Collingwood. It’s going to be a great night. A selection of the authors will reading from their stories, drinks will be available at the bar and copies of Hard Labour will be on sale for $13.99.

Doors open 7pm, with readings beginning sometime around 8pm.… Read more