cover image Port Vila Blues

Port Vila Blues

Garry Disher. Soho Crime, $25 (240p) ISBN 978-1-61695-101-6

It’s thief vs. thief Down Under in Disher’s fast-paced fifth Wyatt thriller, first published in 1995 (after 1994’s Crosskill). Wyatt, a mellower version of Richard Stark’s professional crook Parker, is worried about his career options, especially with his caper planner, Jardine, suffering from cancer. Wyatt soon has plenty on his plate after a Tiffany brooch from a recent burglary brings him into conflict with the “magnetic drill gang,” bent cops robbing banks at the behest of their leader, the sinister De Lisle, a circuit court judge. Tense romance with an undercover cop adds some spice. The action swings through Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Victoria’s Yarra River Valley) before building to an exciting finale in De Lisle’s hideout in Port Vila, the capital of the island nation of Vanuatu. Disher should win more U.S. fans with this colorful outing, but those with a taste for hardcore gore will have to look elsewhere. Agent: David Forrer, Inkwell Literary Management. (Aug.)