I am not an avid crime reader but I am really pleased to see West Australian (WA) authors currently doing so well in this genre. I have just finished Heist by Perth-based crime writer Robert Schofield and really enjoyed escaping into the Goldfields in outback WA, where the story kicks off.
I met Robert last year when Heist was launched and he was recently in my town Broome for the Corrugated Lines literary festival. I was lucky enough to attend the discussion on his newly launched novel Marble Bar – a sequel to Heist. I thought I’d better start at the beginning in Kalgoorlie and meet Robert’s characters before moving on to Marble Bar.
I didn’t ask Robert if the work was slightly autobiographical. Seemed a bit rude when the main protagonist Gareth Ford has been shot at, stitched up by his work colleagues and is on the run from the police, mercenaries and bikers, all in the first chapter. But I like Gareth’s sharp tongue and down-on-his-luck-cynicism with a slight glint of hope, which has to come from Robert being English and all.
The story begins with a gold bullion robbery and given Robert’s working background in the industry, it seemed an authentic heist. We’re not talking James Bond here, just a well-planned crime on a day when most of the people in a 1000 km radius are at the big Kalgoorlie race day.
At the heart of this story is Ford’s concern that his daughter and wife are under threat — from who exactly he isn’t sure — when he is unable to reach them at home in Perth by phone. His desperation to get to them sets off one of the most unusual road trips I have ever read —totally entertaining and with enough twists, turns and corrugated bumps to keep me on the edge of my seat and turning the pages faster than biker Banjo could drive his old ute through the thick scrub.
Robert has created some wonderful secondary characters and the straight-talking, no-bullshit female policewoman Kavanagh, from the Gold Stealing Detection Unit, is a great match for the unlucky engineer.
This is a rollicking read and I am really looking forward to finding out what Ford gets up to in Marble Bar. Would highly recommend.
My rating: ★★★★