Garry Disher’s Wyatt is to Australian readers as Richard Stark’s Parker is to American crime fans. THE FALLOUT was published in 1997, the sixth and last to date(a new one titled WYATT comes out sometime early this year).
Wyatt is that tough, unsympathetic character who works out his jobs meticulously, knows them in and out before making a move, and tries to cover all his bases going into a robbery. He’s careful who he works with and has been known, on more than on occasion, to walk away in the middle of an operation if something doesn’t seem right.
He’s a man with a reputation in both law enforcement and criminal circles. But not many know even what he looks like, no photos are known. He will carry a gun on jobs and will use it to protect himself if things go bad. But he doesn’t kill unless it’s unavoidable.
The novel takes off where the previous book, PORT VILLA BLUES, ended, Wyatt and policewoman Liz Redding on a boat with crooked cops and a fortune in stolen gems. Apparently Wyatt and Liz had established a relationship and she wanted him to give himself up, take the consequences, and serve his time.
He was having none of it though and drugged her from a hidden stash on his boat, then made a hasty retreat.
While all that is happening, Wyatt’s nephew, Raymond, who he hasn’t seen in fifteen years since his brother’s funeral, has been forging his own criminal career as The Bush Bandit, a cool criminal who hits banks with a shotgun, moving in and out swiftly, and escaping easily each time. He’d pulled half a dozen jobs.
The kid is offered two jobs by a crooked lawyer, breaking a stone cold killer from the gaol-jail-or steal a hundred million in art from a museum. He decides on both for he has a need of money.
There are several plot threads running through the novel that all neatly tie up at the end.
Wyatt and his nephew run into each other quite by accident and Wyatt has a moment of weakness. He’s a man on the run. Liz Redding is looking for him because she’s been suspended, suspected of helping him and, after all, he drugged and deserted her. The police are after him. And the brother of a partner killed on a job wants his head.
Wyatt sees him as a young man much like he was and decides to partner up on the art theft. He doesn’t know about the jail break and Raymond keeps it quiet. Steer, the man he broke out, is an old enemy of his uncle’s.
But as they get further into the job, Wyatt sees that his nephew is not what he thought. He’s much too careless, likes to keep little trophies of his jobs, and he’s a braggart. When things start to go wrong, he doesn’t seem bothered, thinks his uncle is too much of a worrywart.
Wyatt knows it will end badly. He just doesn’t know how bad.
This was the first Wyatt novel I’ve read. I have another and a third on the way. The other three are kind of pricey, But if one can find them, they are very good.