Category Archives: Garry Disher

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

Updates: Contrappasso, the noir issue, Garry Disher at the Melbourne Crime & Justice Festival

cp noir front cover raw

I’ve recently discovered Contrappasso, a great magazine of international writing and poetry edited by a bunch of folks in Sydney, including some one who has recently become a friend, Matthew Asprey Gear.

Pulp Curry readers might be interested to know the latest issue of Contrappasso has a noir theme. There’s a grab bag of excellent material focusing on noir fiction and film, everything from The Maltese Falcon to The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, Dashiell Hammett, Charles Willeford and Walter Mosley.

There’s poetry by Barry Gifford and Floyd Salas (whose 1969 book, What Now My Love I reviewed on this site a few weeks ago), amongst others, and a load of great essays, including my piece on the little known Australian noir films, Money Movers and Heatwave.

The issue is available here and will set you back just $9.50. 

And while I’m pulling on your coat, another reminder that I’ll interviewing Australian crime writing legend Garry Disher at the Reader’s Feast Crime & Justice Festival, this coming Sunday, November 17.

If you find yourself at a loose end Sunday morning, do come along. It’ll take place 10am, Sunday, November 17 at the Reader’s Feast Bookstore, 162 Collins Street, Melbourne. My session is just one of many events that will take place over the three days of the Crime & Justice Festival. … 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

Hard labour at Melbourne’s Crime and Justice Festival

The Reader’s Feast Crime and Justice Festival returns to Melbourne this weekend.

The event will be headlined by Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin and there’ll be a number of other interesting crime writers speaking.

On Sunday at 4pm, I’ll be chairing a panel, ‘Hard labour: the art of crime writing’, with veteran writer Garry Disher, author of the Wyatt series amongst other books, Angela Savage and Leigh Redhead.

All four of us have stories in Crime Factory’s all Australian anthology, Hard Labour, which will be available for sale on the day.

It’s my time chairing a festival panel and I promise I’m going to try and make it interesting. I might even throw a few curve balls at the panel. Whatever the case, I guarantee I will not be asking what the lure of dark crime writing is. I think we know what that is already.

The session will take place at Reader’s Feast Bookstore at 162 Collins Street.

Information about tickets and full program details are here.

Read more

The first and last time I’ll talk about starting my new novel

The series of guest posts by US crime writers I’ve hosted over the last month on this site were sub-titled ‘Noir Con or Bust’.

Looks like, in this instance, it was bust.

Super storm Sandy and my daughter’s broken collarbone put paid to my carefully worked out plans to visit New York and Philadelphia.

Yes, I’m pissed off about it. But not half as pissed off as all those in the US and the Caribbean who have had to deal with the storm’s consequences.

Anyway, with an extra two weeks up my sleeve, it’s time to do something I’ve been putting off for a while now – start novel number 2.

And this post is the first and last time I’m going to talk about it until it’s finished.

That means I’m not going to Tweet, Facebook or blog any further about my daily word count, any trouble I’m having with certain plot points, my writers’ block or lack of it, and what progress generally I’m making with the manuscript.

End of story.

Full stop.

I don’t mean any disrespect to those writers out there who do this a part of your writing regimen, but it’s not my thing.

What else will I say about the new novel?

It’s a heist story.… Read more