David Whish-Wilson

David Whish-Wilson

David Whish-Wilson is the author of five crime novels and three non-fiction books. His latest novel is True West, published in 2019, and his next novel is Shore Leave, out with Fremantle Press in November 2020. He lives in Fremantle, Western Australia, and coordinates the creative-writing program at Curtin University.

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'The Spiral' by Iain Ryan, 'Ash Mountain' by Helen Fitzgerald, and 'Shelter' by Catherine Jinks

May 2021, no. 431 26 April 2021
For this reviewer, the sign of a healthy crime-fiction ecosystem isn’t merely the success of the ‘big names’ but also the emergence of writers whose voices are so distinctive as to be singular. Sometimes these writers become commercially successful in their own right, and sometimes they remain literary outliers, drawing their readership from a smaller but avid following. When I think of the ... (read more)

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'The Bluffs' by Kyle Perry, 'Sticks and Stones' by Katherine Firkin, and 'The Night Swim' by Megan Goldin

September 2020, no. 424 24 August 2020
You wouldn’t envy any writer releasing a novel at the moment, due to the difficulties getting books in front of readers, yet recent UK statistics indicate a surge in crime fiction sales following the relaxing of lockdown restrictions and the reopening of bookshops. It’s hard to say whether the same optimistic reading of the crime fiction market in Australia holds true, though two new crime nov ... (read more)

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'The Long Shadow' by Anne Buist, 'Torched' by Kimberley Starr, and 'In the Clearing' by J.P. Pomare

May 2020, no. 421 27 April 2020
Some years ago, a crime-writing friend of mine was at a writer’s festival with Lee Child. After a few drinks, my friend asked Child how he’d gone about preparing to write his Jack Reacher novels. Child’s reply was something along the lines of not putting pen to paper before he’d spent six months reading all of the successful crime novels he could find, and before parsing out exactly what m ... (read more)

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'Darkness for Light' by Emma Viskic, 'The Wife and the Widow' by Christian White, and 'Peace' by Garry Disher

January–February 2020, no. 418 16 December 2019
These are exciting times when the new normal for Australian crime fiction is strong domestic interest and sales, but also international attention in the form of Australian-only panels at overseas writers’ festivals, plus regular nominations and awards in Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Whether this is a literary fad or sustainable in the long term – with Australian crime fi ... (read more)

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'Shepherd' by Catherine Jinks

September 2019, no. 414 27 August 2019
David Whish-Wilson reviews 'Shepherd' by Catherine Jinks
One of the few advantages a contemporary writer of historical fiction has derives from working in a context with laxer censorship laws. Representations of sexuality and violence once proscribed can be incorporated to better approach the social conditions of the period. With regard to narratives about Australia’s convict history, Marcus Clarke’s For the Term of His Natural Life was written afte ... (read more)

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'Killshot' by Garry Disher, 'The Scholar' by Dervla McTiernan, and 'Gone by Midnight' by Candice Fox

March 2019, no. 409 25 February 2019
Last year in New York, I visited the Mysterious Bookshop, Manhattan’s only bookstore specialising in crime fiction. The otherwise knowledgeable bookseller had heard of three Australian crime novelists: Peter Temple, Garry Disher, and Jane Harper. If I were to visit this year, however, I’m pretty sure the bookseller would be able to add more Australian novelists to his list – the multi-award ... (read more)

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'The Making of Martin Sparrow: After the flood comes the reckoning' by Peter Cochrane

November 2018, no. 406 26 October 2018
David Whish-Wilson reviews 'The Making of Martin Sparrow: After the flood comes the reckoning' by Peter Cochrane
Just one thing can shape your whole life’ is one line in a novel of four hundred and fifty pages, but it is telling in its application toward the characters of this brilliant début novel. Set on the Hawkesbury River in 1806, the cast of characters is large and yet we find each of them living with the consequences of an earlier choice or misdemeanour that ripples beyond the singular life and int ... (read more)

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'City of Crows' by Chris Womersley

October 2017, no. 395 28 September 2017
David Whish-Wilson reviews 'City of Crows' by Chris Womersley
Every Chris Womersley novel represents a significant departure from the last. Following his award-winning and magnificently dark début, The Low Road (2007), and his Miles Franklin shortlisted Bereft (2010), and Cairo (2013), City of Crows is his first novel set entirely outside Australia. An acutely crafted historical fiction, it is set in France in 1673 during the reign of Louis XIV. The title ... (read more)

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'Coming Rain' by Stephen Daisley

June-July 2015, no. 372 28 May 2015
David Whish-Wilson reviews 'Coming Rain' by Stephen Daisley
For this reviewer, it’s been a long five years since the publication of Stephen Daisley’s Traitor (2010). The rightly acclaimed and award-winning début novel wrote of the terrors of war, and the life on the land of one irreparably damaged New Zealand soldier, David. As an exploration of the damage done to an ordinary and unappreciated man, the prose was often hauntingly poetic, often carrying ... (read more)

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'To Name Those Lost' by Rohan Wilson

November 2014, no. 366 30 October 2014
David Whish-Wilson reviews 'To Name Those Lost' by Rohan Wilson
Rohan Wilson’s To Name Those Lost is a ferocious and brilliant sequel to his The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award-winning début, The Roving Party (2011), which charted the murderous exploits of John Batman and his crew of cutthroats sent out on a punitive expedition to bring Tasmania’s northern Aborigines to heel, by way of terror and genocidal slaughter. The novel divided opinion: was it ... (read more)
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