Saturday 13 February 2016



Wyatt needs a job.

A bank job would be nice, or a security van hold-up. As long as he doesn't have to work with cocky idiots and strung-out meth-heads like the Pepper brothers. That's the sort of miscalculation that buys you the wrong kind of time.

So he contacts a man who in the past put him on the right kind of heist. And finds himself in Noosa, stealing a painting for Hannah Sten.

He knows how it's done: case the premises, set up escape routes and fail safes, get in and get out with the goods unrecognised. Make a good plan; back it up with another. And be very, very careful.

But who is his client? Who else wants that painting?

Sometimes, being very careful is not enough.

Garry Disher has published almost fifty titles—fiction, children's books, anthologies, textbooks, the Wyatt thrillers and the Mornington Peninsula mysteries. He has won numerous awards, including the German Crime Prize (twice) and two Ned Kelly Best Crime novel awards, for Chain of Evidence (2007) and Wyatt (2010). Garry lives on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.

Praise for Disher

‘For the connoisseur of crime the Wyatt series represents Disher at his stylish best...wicked and wonderful. Welcome back, Wyatt.’ Sydney Morning Herald

‘With The Heat, Disher continues to tap into that need that we have for anti-heroes...Couple that with a twisted, tense and taut thriller and once again, Garry Disher has turned out a winner.’ Aust Crime Fiction

‘Sparely written, with an entertaining set of villains, an unfathomable antihero and dry humour, reading this book is like riding a thrilling switchback.’ West Australian

‘Every word counts in Disher’s books, but you’re never left with a sense that the writing is too sparse. The sentences are vividly alive. I read the book in a day, which shows what a page-turner it is.’ Otago Daily Times

A cracking start to February’s reading with Garry Disher’s latest Wyatt caper – The Heat.

We open with Wyatt exploring a heist with some amateurs, a job he has no problems walking away from.  Before long, he’s over the other side of the country having signed up to steal a painting. His fixer is the outwardly respectable, Minto - a lawyer.

Immersing himself in the job, Wyatt has to contend with Minto’s niece and her rather desperate need to be in control and to be lusted after. Wyatt, as ever economical with his emotions, humours her up to a point. The niece, Leah Quarrell has tired of being Minto’s errand girl and see this particular job as the chance to make a bit more than just wages and if Wyatt is collateral damage in the fall-out from her double cross – so what. Under-estimate Wyatt at your peril.

Plenty going on here and it’s a busy book for one weighing in at a bit under 250-odd pages.

There’s some fall-out relating to the aborted heist at the beginning, which complicates things for Wyatt later on. Our dealings with Minto’s niece also gets some blowback from the law, when some of her earlier scams come to light. Wyatt rocking up to snatch the picture, only to find he’s been beaten to the punch and the police are on his case ramps the tension up a further notch.

A great tale, great set-up, interesting bunch of outlaws, pacey throughout, topped off with a fantastic ending.  Plenty of our cast with a few secrets to hide. Our criminal protagonist is probably the straightest of the bunch.   

5 from 5

Garry Disher is one of those authors who I seem to spend more time professing my admiration for their work than I do actually reading it. There’s a real economy of style here without scarcely a wasted word or superfluous sentence.

The author’s main character Wyatt is one of the most interesting characters I’ve read about all year – yeah I know it’s only February.

Page 1 - Wyatt’s listening to a fellow crim……

“That was Jack.”
Wyatt waited. People edged around bad news and setbacks. It wasted time, but what could you do? Vidovic would get to the point in the next few seconds. Or years.   

Wyatt is handed his down-payment on the job….

Sten said, “That is a lot of money you are holding.”
“Another man might want simply to disappear with it.”
Wyatt shrugged. He was not another man and felt no need to have a conversation about it.

The Heat is the eighth in the Wyatt series of books. I’ve read some of the earlier ones, but intend to work my way through the series start to finish at some point.

For anyone who wants to join me…
1. Kickback (1991)
2. Paydirt (1993)
3. Deathdeal (1993)
4. Crosskill (1994)
5. Port Vila Blues (1995)
6. The Fallout (1997)
7. Wyatt (2010)
8. The Heat (2015)

I’m also interested in going through his highly regarded Hal Challis series of books – Disher writing about the other side of the law in this series.

Inspector Challis
1. The Dragon Man (1999)
2. Kittyhawk Down (2003)
3. Snapshot (2006)
4. Chain of Evidence (2007)
5. Blood Moon (2009)
6. Whispering Death (2012)

Garry Disher has his website here

The Heat was published late last year by Text Publishing in Australia
Many thanks to them for my copy of this.

Two–Way Cut was enjoyed a year or so ago. Review here


  1. I really like Garry Disher's work, too, Col. It's one of those cases where you and I overlap in our tastes, I think. He does have a terrific style, and I like his characters. Glad you enjoyed this one.

    1. Margot cheers - definitely an author we both admire. Hope you can read this one at some point!

  2. Col, thanks for reviewing and highlighting Garry Disher's fiction. First 5 out of 5 this year, I think.

    1. No Prashant - the first in February. I had a couple in January!
      I hope you can try him at some point.

  3. More your style than mine, but does sound good. Glad you have found an author you like so much.

    1. Maybe the Hal Challis books would be more your thing?

  4. I want to read the Wyatt books someday, but I do want to start at the beginning and I haven't run into any yet.

    1. They were scarcer than hen's teeth when I tracked mine down. I think they may have been re-released now, but I'm not sure.

  5. I remember trying to read WYATT a long time ago and wasn't very successful. Glad you enjoyed it and yes, a great start to the month. May it continue!

    1. Keishon cheers, sorry to hear you struggled with Disher. Wrong book, wrong time, or just wrong book and author full stop?

    2. More like wrong book, wrong time. After reading your review, I'm open to giving him a shot.

    3. Second time's the charm...hopefully!

  6. I haven't run into Disher's work, but your enthusiasm is infectious -- plus the Oz setting is a change. *sigh* Onto the list he goes . . .

  7. Col – From you review, I think I will like this author’s work. Thanks.

    1. Elgin, I hope you do when you try him. I think I read somewhere his Wyatt character was part-homage to Westlake/Stark's Parker.