Tag Archives: Zero At the Bone

My year in books

InfamyWill I ever come to the end of a year without the feeling I haven’t read nearly as much as I should have?

Unlike other years I’ve at least got a clear list in terms of my top five reads for 2013.

Here they are.

Infamy, Lenny Bartulin

Infamy is set in 1830s Tasmania. British mercenary William Burr is hired by the colonial government of Van Diemen’s Land to track down an escaped convict, Brown George Coyne. While Burr may be the hero of the novel, if one exists, Coyne and his Indigenous ‘wife’, Black Betty, steal the story. Coyne is a terrifying creation, a former convict, psychopath and cannibal, also a revolutionary working to unite a motley crew of escaped convicts with what’s left of the island’s Indigenous population, to overthrow the colonial government and rule as a self styled king of Van Diemen’s Land. 

Infamy is a superbly rendered piece of historical fiction, a dark, almost noir crime story, and a unique and unashamedly Australian take on the western. Possibly my best read of 2013.

Generation Loss, Elizabeth Hand

Cass Neary made her name in the seventies as a photographer of what was then the burgeoning New York punk movement. Thirty years later she’s a washed up, semi-alcoholic mess, when out of the blue, an old acquaintance gives her an assignment to track down a famous and reclusive photographer living on a remote island of the coast of Maine.… Read more

My year in books: Angela Savage

Next up on the ‘my year in books’ series running on this site over December, is crime writer (and my long time partner) Angela Savage.

Angela is the author of three highly acclaimed crime novels based in Thailand and featuring the Australian PI Jayne Keeney. The most recent of these books, The Dying Beach was published in 2013 and is available here.

She’s also got a great website, or “piece of author real estate”, as I’ve heard these things referred to by book marketing people. You can find it here.

Welcome Angela

While Andrew specified that my top five reads for 2013 didn’t have to be crime, I figured crime picks would appeal to regular readers of Pulpcurry. I read a lot of crime in 2013—some 40 books as of early December—but I didn’t realise just how many were recent releases until I sat down to compose this list. The books that made the cut ultimately combine memorable plots and characters with great writing.

After the DarknessHoney Brown

I read three of Honey Brown’s tense, atmospheric and erotic thrillers in 2013. Difficult as it is to pick a favourite, After the Darkness just pips her debut Red Queen and this year’s Dark Horse to make this list because it is one of the few genuinely scary books I’ve ever read.… Read more

Perth and crime fiction: an imaginary garden with real toads

1970s-Near-William-Street

A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed Zero At the Bone, the latest book by Perth based crime writer, David Whish-Wilson. Zero At the Bone is a sequel to Whish-Wilson’s 2010 book, Line of Sight, which established him firmly in my mind as the president of the, albeit very small, club of Australian writers who do noir fiction and do it well.

This week, I’m thrilled to host David on Pulp Curry, with a wonderfully written and nuanced piece on the historical origins of Zero At the Bone and Line of Sight. It’s also a great insight into his home town of Perth, a place where, as he writes “the brighter the light, the deeper the shadow”.

Dave’s next book is Perth, part of the New South Books city series, out in December. 

David Whish-WilsonZero at the Bone had its genesis in a quote supplied by my brother, and it’s one I reference in the novel, by Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes, who plundered the Aztec Empire in the 16th Century. He said that “I and my men suffer from a disease of the heart that can only be cured by gold.”

This is a pretty honest assessment of the motivations behind Cortes’ journey to the New World, but the story of this maddening desire for gold, and the story of the city of Perth, where Zero at the Bone is set, are also closely linked.… Read more

Book review: Zero At the Bone

ZeroA couple of months ago I wrote an piece for the Guardian Australia’s Oz Culture Blog on why I think the most exciting crime fiction in Australia at the moment is coming out of the West.

It has something to do with the fact that the people are tough, the climate is harsh, and the mining boom has amplified everything and has given local writers a wealth of material and creative inspiration, as well as a real sense of vitality and realism.

If you want proof, look no further than Zero At the Bone, the latest book by Perth based crime writer, David Whish-Wilson.

Zero At the Bone is a sequel to Whish-Wilson’s 2010 book, Line of Sight, which established him firmly in my mind as the president of the, albeit very small, club of Australian writers who do noir fiction and do it well.

Based on real events, Line of Sight opens in 1975, six months after the murder of Perth brothel madam Ruby Devine, 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 that would have implicated the senior police she bribed to stay open and certain high profile ‘secret investors’ in her operation.… Read more

Crime writers find fertile ground in the red dirt of Western Australia

ZeroWhen Dave Warner’s City of Light appeared in 1995, Western Australia’s crime writing scene resembled one of the late night streets of seventies Perth described so vividly in his book: totally devoid of life.

City of Light, which jointly won the 1996 WA Premier’s prize for fiction, focused on a rookie police constable, Snowy Lane, swept up in an investigation into the murders of several young women by a serial killer dubbed ‘Mr Gruesome’. The case entangles Lane in a web of financial and political corruption spanning the seventies to late eighties.

“As far as I knew at the time, there were no other contemporary crime novelists setting work in WA and nothing had been set there since Arthur Upfield,” recalls Warner.

You can read the rest of this piece here on the Guardian Australia’s Australian Culture Blog.