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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Reading Notes: Wyatt by Garry Disher

The 7th book in the Wyatt series by Garry Disher, appropriately titled “Wyatt” has prompted me to do something that I almost never do, I have re-read the book! Not only that, I enjoyed it just as much the second time through. So rather than simply being a Reading Notes post, this is more of a Re-Reading Notes.

For those who have never read them, the books in the Wyatt series are a little different to the majority of crime novels because the main character is a professional criminal. Very similar to the Parker series written by Richard Stark this is a hardboiled crime series that turns the bad guy into a good guy in the eye of the reader. It gives the story a fresh perspective.

In this book Wyatt gets involved in a plan to rob a jeweller of his stash of precious stones as he delivers them to other jewellery stores. He has a preference for stealing from crooks and the jeweller qualifies because he tends to shift stolen goods among the legitimate goods. Although usually extremely careful in the jobs he pulls and the people he works with, this job goes sour in two very important factors. The first is that he is double crossed by one of his accomplices and the second is that the loot turns out to be stolen bearer bonds worth millions rather than the expected stones.

Wyatt is driven by two powerful motivating factors. First, the man who betrayed him must pay. Revenge is one of the qualities that marks Wyatt as a character of great interest and, when he has been crossed, there is no-one more determined or ruthless. Second, Wyatt still wants to come out of this with some kind of pay off and those bearer bonds are worth taking a risk over.

What makes the book, and the entire series for that matter, so enjoyable is the fact that there is rarely a wasted word. Events unfold very quickly and this ensures the story moves along at a good pace. Wyatt is a character who is not tied down by the same types of emotions that the normal person is. He is concerned only with how he is going to solve the problem that sits directly in front of him. Attacks of conscience and emotion don’t play a part in how he operates and this frees him up to get on with the more important (and more interesting) tasks of planning and carrying out his operations.

Many have noted the similarity to Donald Westlake's Parker series that he writes under the Richard Stark pseudonym. In Wyatt, Garry Disher has left little doubt about the comparison and has included at least three hat tips for fans of both series:

1. One of Wyatt’s accomplices has been given the surname of Stark, in this case her name is Lydia Stark
2. To get himself out of trouble when thrown in the drunk tank, Wyatt borrows the identity of the man next to him. The identity that he uses is Parker.
3. Wyatt’s home is a pair of apartments that are housed in a highrise complex called the Westlake Towers.

As already mentioned, Wyatt is the 7th book in the series and this book ends a 13 year hiatus in the series. If you feel compelled to get started on the entire series I have provided the complete list below.

Kickback (1991)
Paydirt (1992)
Deathdeal (1993)
Crosskill (1994)
Port Vila Blues (1995)
The Fallout (1997)
Wyatt (2010)

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