It's been quite a wait for the latest WYATT novel - The Fallout was published in 1997. I for one was rather excited to hear the news that there was a book on the way last year and I've been somewhat impatiently waiting for it to appear since then. As with all these greatly anticipated books, there's always that nasty little voice at the back of your head wondering if the anticipation might be building an unreasonable expectation.
But this is a Garry Disher novel, and it's a WYATT novel and it's almost impossible to contemplate the idea of disappointment. Partly because these books are so incredibly well written; partly because Wyatt is such a tremendous character; and partly because there is absolutely nothing like a change of style. The Wyatt novels are theft / heist based novels. Not to say that people don't die in these books, but Wyatt doesn't set out to murder - he's all about the perfect plan. Intensive and careful preparation; a level of planning that makes this ex-Project Manager's heart beat all that bit faster; extreme care in the conduct of the operation; extreme care in the execution of a get out of trouble fallback. Wyatt's a cool, hard, ruthless man who will take steps if backed into a corner. And he's very very very dangerous when crossed.
Wyatt always prefers to work alone, but he also needs money to fund his life, so when Eddie Oberin comes to him with a lead via his ex-wife, the operation is risky but reasonably attractive. Large amounts of jewellery isn't Wyatt's preferred haul, but maybe if a handy overseas fence is in the equation - one with a track record for offloading large overseas hauls in Australia - it might be worth the bother.
Things go well. And then they go badly. And then things look up a little, and then there's a lot of tidying up to be done, and not a small amount of retribution. Cool, calm, reasoned, Wyatt style retribution, but retribution nonetheless. One of the great things about WYATT is that you get a little more, up close glimpses into the man himself. And you get a tremendous story, a real rollercoaster ride of thief against thief; crook against crook, mastermind up against mastermind. The heist stylings of the earlier books - the cool operator with all the bases covered is there, as is the opportunist Wyatt - the man who can think on his feet and make the most of what's handed to him. A ruthless, cool, calm, contained man, with just the smallest glimmer of humanity. Wyatt is what Wyatt does, and let's hope it's not too long before he does it all again.