Like a television mini-series Deathdeal picks up the story of professional hold-up man Wyatt right where the previous book, Paydirt, left off. Deathdeal is the third book in Garry Disher's fast-moving hardboiled series - one of the few coming out of Australia - following on from Kickback and Paydirt .
Wyatt only pulls off a couple of jobs a year in order to live comfortably but just lately hes been having a bad run of luck and in his profession bad luck usually results in one of two things, prison or death. Its not clear how much longer Wyatt can keep pushing his luck but he has to get some money and he has to do it the only way he knows how.
Fresh from the debacle in South Australia Wyatt wakes one night while on the road to Melbourne to find himself being attacked and robbed by a couple of men. Chillingly for Wyatt, the men know his name and that he is carrying a nice wad of cash. For someone as careful with his identity and his activities as he is, their knowledge about him is just about the worst news he could get. It turns out the men work for a private detective named Stolle.
Stolle has been hired by a woman from Queensland to track Wyatt down and make him an offer (the robbery was the operatives initiative). He poses a unique threat to Wyatt - here is a man with the ability to track down the almost untraceable criminal. This doesn't sit well with Wyatt...it doesn't sit well at all.
So eventually Wyatt finds himself in Queensland where he reunites with one of his co-conspirators from an earlier job. She has details of a possible bank job that would be worth around $2 million and wanted to know if Wyatt though it would be possible. Ever on the lookout for a good paying job and after carefully scoping out the bank, he agrees that the job could be done and preparations begin.
As readers of the earlier Wyatt books would know by now, there always seem to be outside unforeseeable factors that will endanger the possible success of Wyatts operation. In this case it comes in the form of the banks manager whose gambling has gotten him into debt with the wrong kind of people and these people are putting the big squeeze on him to get their money back. So there you have it, Wyatts preparing to rob a bank that is being run by a manager with serious money problems. Its going to be a rocky heist indeed.
There is a coldness about Wyatt, a desperate paranoia that prevents him from trusting anyone. Hes a loner looking over his shoulder as he flees from the police and The Outfit, a Sydney-based underworld organisation who have placed a bounty on his head. But when it comes to planning and executing a hold-up theres no-one more accomplished.
Although the tone of Deathdeal is undeniably serious with drug deals, cold-blooded murder and robbery taking place on a regular basis, there is a creeping feeling of farce starting to seep into the series. Without fail Wyatts planning and attention to detail is blown to pieces in one way or another. The most interesting part of each book is in trying to figure out just how everything is going to go wrong. In Deathdeal Disher is particularly imaginative in setting up the disparate storylines before bringing them together with unexpected results.
The book starts with the jolting suddenness that comes from being rudely woken by intruders bent on destruction and it never really eases off. From Melbourne to Brisbane with a short interlude in Papua New Guinea the danger never fades, the deceits become more devious and the crimes mount. And of course, fate plays its ugly hand.