Garry Disher is my favorite Australian crime writer. I first discovered his work in the mid-1990s when his publisher, Allen & Unwin, imported the first five Wyatt novels to the United States as mass market paperbacks. Their appearance was brief and they have been highly sought after, and very pricey—ranging from $30 to $100—on the secondary market since.
Wyatt is a professional criminal in the mold of Richard Stark’s Parker, but the stories are anything but derivative. They are hard, original, and more fun than nearly anything I have ever read. Mr. Disher’s U. S. publisher, Soho Crime, has published three Wyatt novels over the past few years—Port Vila Blues, The Fallout, and a new title Wyatt—but the earlier books have continued to be difficult to find. Until now, because the titles are finally available as ebooks. The novels are below—if you click the title you will be transported to each book’s Amazon page—with the publisher’s brief description and the first paragraph from each novel.
Publisher’s description: Wyatt plans to hit a suburban law firm for the settlement money in its safe. But he’s working with cowboys, and the lawyer planning to rip off her boss is a little too mysterious for his comfort. Wyatt’s as good as they come, but everything needs to go like clockwork—and you can’t always plan around human frailty.
First paragraph: Wyatt tensed. A silver BMW had emerged from the driveway of the Frome place. The headlights plunged, then levelled, as the car entered Lansell Road. Wyatt counted heads: Frome driving, wife next to him, kids in the back. He checked the time—8 p.m.—and watched the BMA disappear in the direction of Toorak Road.
Publisher’s description: This time it’s a payroll and bank run in the north of South Australia, an outpost town suddenly transformed by a pipeline construction project that brings petty crime, prostitution—and opportunity. It’s a town with its own secrets and Wyatt isn’t quick to trust at the best of times. But he’s on the run and he can’t afford to be choosy.
First paragraph: The work was dirty, the little town a joke, but Wyatt was interested only in the advantages—they didn’t know who he was, there were no cops, and no one was expecting a payroll snatch.
Publisher’s description: After the heists gone wrong in Kickback and Paydirt, Wyatt is further down on his luck and deeper in with the Outfit, a network of organised criminals whose attention he’s tried hard to avoid. A risky job in a Brisbane bank and the return of a femme fatale add further complications to Wyatt’s increasingly desperate situation and force him to decide who he is and who he cares about.
First paragraph: There were two of them and they came in hard and fast. They knew where the bed was and flanked it as Wyatt rolled onto his shoulder and grabbed at the backpack on the dusty carpet. He had his hand on the .38 in the side pocket and was swinging it up, finger tightening, when the cosh smacked across the back of his wrist. It was lead bound in cowhide and his arm went slack and useless. Then he felt it across his skull and he forgot about his hand and who the men were and how they’d known where to find him and everything else about it.
Publisher’s description: Wyatt made some powerful enemies in his first three outings, and the time has come to confront them. But we know by now that Wyatt’s revenge won’t be showy, impetuous and futile; it will be pragmatic, elaborate—and still possibly futile. He holes up in Sydney, preparing to return home to Melbourne to play his enemies against each other in a dangerous double-cross that will tear down the notions of loyalty and obligation.
First paragraph: The stranger appeared just after lunch on day one of Wyatt’s operation against the Mesics. He was driving a red Capri, soft top down, and Wyatt watched him park it against the kerb, unfold from the car, stride to the compound gates and bend his face to the intercom grille in the brick pillar. MESIC was spelled out in shiny red tiles above the intercom and Wyatt saw the stranger touch the name as though to draw luck from it. Then the gates jerked, swung open, and the man stepped through the gap. He was about thirty, and he had the raw-nerved, hole-and-corner look of a man who exists on coffee and whispers. Wyatt put that together with the car, the costly jacket and the jeans, and speculated that here was someone who made profit for the Mesics and profited by them.