Andrew Nette‘s Gunshine State (280 Steps), as the author put it The Rap Sheet is “a quintessentially Australian take on the heist-gone-wrong novel.” Actually, as Nette called it an attempt, though I thought he quite nailed it.
The novel begins with Gary Chance helping out with a small-time heist, a heist that goes terribly wrong. Chance has to get out of Port Pirie, South Australia, fast and, ten hours later, he finds himself in Surfers Paradise, Queensland — the Gunshine State. This time a new heist as a hired hand, but he hoped that things would go better.
He could think of half a dozen holes in the plan. He always could. Even supposedly fool proof plans something could always go wrong. But he liked the relative simplicity of what Curry had proposed, the absence of too many moving parts. With a bit of luck it could work.
But as you probably already know this heist will go upside down too. Nette does a great job of having us follow Chance pre- and post-heist as he tries to figure out what went wrong, how he can fix, and, most importantly, how he can get revenge.
In the article, Nette wrote for The Rap Sheet, he talks of influences on the novel:
There are several literary influences behind Gunshine State. I am, for instance, a big fan of the Crissa Stone books by Wallace Stroby (Shoot the Woman First, The Devil’s Share). I was also conscious that what I was creating could be viewed as a darker version of Australian writer Garry Disher’s Wyatt novels, which are already pretty hard-boiled. But my most obvious inspiration—and one of my favorite crime-fiction protagonists ever—is the master thief known as Parker, created by Richard Stark, aka Donald E. Westlake.
I haven’t read Stroby or Stark, but I guess they are moving up on my To-Be-Read List. Equally as important, I’ll need to take a gander at two other books by Nette: Ghost Money and his collection of short stories, Crime Scenes.