HEIST - Robert Schofield
Set mostly in Kalgoorlie and the surrounding WA goldfields, HEIST is a debut novel which is well worth checking out. Especially if you like a rapidly moving plot, a hefty dose of wounded but not beaten central hero, and some seriously madcap action.
Starting off with the audacious, and perfectly planned heist of a large amount of gold directly from the mine vault, Gareth Ford is the engineering manager who is not completely squeaky clean. The mine is running on skeleton staff because it's a big horse racing day in town, when Ford finds himself seconded as a key man to open the vault for the security van designated to pick up the huge stockpile. Which is supposedly off to the races itself for a spot of showing off on the part of the owner of the mine. Ford might not have expected to be in that position on the day, but he is the perfect patsy for man on the inside. He's got a gambling and drinking problem, and a young daughter that he's desperate to protect. What the crooks didn't bank on is just how desperate Ford is to survive and get to Perth to find her.
Along the way he teams up with a bikie leader, an ex-bikie enforcer and a cop. All of whom end up running from the cops, the bikies and an unexpectedly complicated band of robbers.
Needless to say HEIST is long on action and pace, but at no stage does that mean that characters or plots suffer. It's a great plot. Twisty, clever, believable and with a resolution that was just right.
Ford is a very strong, believable protagonist with strangely believable endurance (if you don't keep count...). Trapped in the back of a burning armoured car, he escapes, shot, burnt, dehydrated and on the run in the middle of the desert. Beaten up by the cops, he's shot again, chased by bikers with intent, he's winged, singed, bruised, battered and determined to get to his daughter. He's also clever, resourceful, and blessed with a sense of humour that couldn't get much drier if was set on fire again. He's paired up with an unlikely, prickly bunch of fellow truth seekers. "Good" cop Rosie Kavanagh has a serious case of the unimpresseds with some of the cops on the job. Banjo the hard as nails, except where his dog is concerned, ex-bikie with a ute and some very handy equipment; and Doc, Viper's president and man on a mission to prove that whilst bikie's might be fair game when it comes to a lot of accusations, they had nothing whatsoever to do with the heist of so much gold. There's a limit to what you should be expected to wear after all.
I was recently asked if HEIST was caperish or hard-boiled. Still can't really decide. It's a bit of both. It's also exciting, fun, fast and furious. And well worth reading.
'Ford laid his fingertips gently on the cut in his shoulder where the bullet had clipped him. His best chance would be to hitch a ride south at the first opportunity, before the police started looking for him. He was alone, enveloped in the monstrous silence of the desert. Free and alone, without assistance and without excuse.'
Left for dead in the desert, framed as the inside man in a bullion robbery at the remote mine site where he works, and fearing that his daughter and ex-wife have been abducted from their home in Perth, Ford must cross a thousand miles of wilderness to find his family.
Ford forms a fragile alliance with Doc and Banjo, a pair of fugitive bikers, and Kavanagh, a cop from the Gold Stealing Detection Unit who's found herself shut out of the case. As this unlikely team sets out across the Outback, they are pursued by cops, mercenaries and bikers, each group with its own agenda for preventing Ford from reaching Perth and uncovering a conspiracy that spreads through the upper strata of Western Australian life.