The enigmatic, dangerous Wyatt returns in Garry Disher’s mile-a-minute crime novel The Heat.
Wyatt’s particular set of skills are becoming increasingly archaic. Gone are the days of bank heists and jewellery store robberies; advanced security measures are making it harder, and the goons are getting dumber, strung out on drugs or cocky idiots who hold their pistols sideways, thinking they’re the stars of their own action flicks. Wyatt, by comparison, is a dinosaur; but like everyone else, he needs to work, and thievery is the only profession he knows. So when a reliable contact offers him a job in Noosa to steal a painting for Hannah Sten, Wyatt accepts. It seems simple enough, and he’s done this plenty of times before; case the joint, determine escape routes and failsafes, develop a plan for every potential contingency. It’s a job that requires meticulousness, and that’s what Wyatt does best. But there’s more than one player in this game – and things go wrong very quickly.
Like the best Donald Westlake / Richard Stark Parker capers, Disher plays within the confines of the traditional heist story, and his muscular, hard-boiled prose with a distinct Australian flavour makes The Heat something to savour. Packed with nefarious characters, all with their own agendas and secrets, Disher weaves his tale with an assured hand. This is a fast-paced, taut crime story, rife with sharp dialogue and brutal violence. And while Wyatt’s not a character to be admired, he makes for compulsive reading.
With its high body count and intricate plotting, The Heat is perfect beach reading for the summer. Just make sure you pack sunscreen, because once you start, you won’t stop until you’ve turned its final page.