Kill Shot, Garry Disher

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Plan for the best, expect the worst, note the exit points.

Good bit of general life advice this, although at the time Wyatt is standing, motionless, waiting for any signs his entry into the house he's about to rob has been noticed. Perhaps not a recommended scenario for the rest of us. Mind you, Wyatt doesn't get noticed that often, and even when people think they know who he is, pinning him down will always prove more difficult than they could possibly imagine. Even going home is an exercise in watching for Wyatt:

Still he waited, the night swollen with the sounds he was accustomed to. Another half-hour passed before he crossed the street and let himself in. He sat in an armchair for some time, thinking about the evening. He'd made no errors. There was nothing to improve on.

After all these years, you'd like to think that Wyatt has his act together. His constant vigilance, his care, precision and cautiousness, combined with a willingness to simply walk away at the slightest sign of interest in him is a well crafted routine. Which is just as well, because in KILL SHOT, there are a few people actively looking for him. 

He's not a complete loner, so he has weak points, vulnerabilities. It's his working relationship, veering towards friendship with Kramer, that makes him particularly vulnerable. Kramer is the man who passes potential heist targets onto him, arranges the fences, let's him know any intelligence that will help make sure that whatever the job, it's done quickly, quietly and most importantly anonymously. The personal is what makes him vulnerable though. In the past there was something, short and sweet with Kramer's daughter Phoebe, but now that Kramer is in jail, and Phoebe is caring for her disabled mother, Wyatt's role is to ensure that the proceeds of any joint jobs are trickle fed to the family. It's not perfect but the authorities haven't taken their eyes off the Kramer family and they would dearly like to track down the proceeds of crime that Wyatt has salted away for them. Pity that Kramer's son Josh is an idiot, who somehow manages to drop Wyatt's existence (and that of the money) into the ear of a very dodgy security guard - Lazar's security firm is going broke and a nice stash of cash is exactly what he'd like.

Meanwhile a Newcastle cop's instincts are working overtime and glimpses of an unknown, lean, precise, watchful bloke poking around where he shouldn't be are enough to ring some loud bells, even if every other cop working all the related jobs thinks that DS Greg Muecke is on a wild goose chase.

The Wyatt novels are predictable on many levels. Always there is the basic modus operandi of the man himself. The cautious, controlled, cold robber - the man who uses the money he makes to survive, never to enjoy. The lone-wolf character with a basic moral compass that may not match everyone else's, but it's there and extremely visible. The Wyatt novels are also wonderfully unpredictable on many levels. There are glimpses of loss, of regret and even a bit of longing in places. There are signs of humanity, the slightest hint of personal feelings. 

All of this is delivered in the classic pared down, matter of fact manner that's part of expectations that a reader is well within their rights to have when picking up the latest Wyatt novel. Garry Disher is one of the great writers that Australia has produced, and should be celebrating. His consummate skill in creating a character that's so wrong on so many levels and yet engaging, sympathetic and ... likeable is evident, and KILL SHOT delivers on the expected and unexpected in equal measure.

Year of Publication
Book Number (in series)

Some people just work better alone. Wyatt’s one of them. He’s been getting by on nice quiet little burglaries—one-man jobs—when he gets wind of something bigger.

A corporate crook, notorious Ponzi schemer, set to face court and certain jail time. He’s about to skip bail the old-fashioned way: on a luxury yacht with a million dollars in cash.

Wyatt thinks it sounds like something he should get into.

He’s not alone.

Blog 2018 Reading Reminiscences
Karen Chisholm
Monday, January 7, 2019
Review Kill Shot, Garry Disher
Karen Chisholm
Thursday, December 6, 2018

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