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Literature / Wyatt

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Wyatt is the protagonist of a series of Australian crime novels by author Garry Disher.

Wyatt is a professional thief: an old-style hold-up man who prefers easily portable, high value targets such as cash, jewels, and paintings. He avoids the drug scene and is restricted in what he does by the fact that new technology has outstripped his expertise. He prefers to work alone, but will team up others when it is necessary to achieve the score. However, he has been burned more than once by these team-ups, when he has been doublecrossed by someone on the team and had his share of loot taken. But Wyatt always gets what's coming to him. Always.

Novels in the Watt series:

  • Kickback (1991)
  • Paydirt (1992)
  • Deathdeal (1993)
  • Crosskill (1994)
  • Port Villa Blues (1996)
  • The Fallout (1997)
  • Wyatt (2010)
  • The Wyatt Butterfly (2010: omnibus containing Port Vila Blues and The Fallout)
  • The Heat (2015)
  • Kill Shot (2018)

The Wyatt Tropes:

  • Anachronistic Clue: In Kill Shot, Wyatt is stealing a collection of historical artifacts connected to the Kelly Gang. One of the items he leaves behind is a revolver that is supposed to have belonged to Joe Byrne. However, that particular model of gun wasn't manufactured until four years after Byrne's death.
  • Armed Blag: Wyatt used to like payroll jobs, as the risk to reward ratio was extremely good. With the demise of cash payrolls, that avenue closes off. In Paydirt, he attempts a robbery on an armoured car delivering one of the last cash payrolls going: being delivered to workers on a remote pipeline project in the outback where there is no easy access to banks or electronic funds transfers. Unfortunately for Wyatt, things do not run entirely to plan.
  • Balcony Escape: In Wyatt, Wyatt escape from his safe house of the upper floors of an apartment building by putting a ladder from his balcony to the balcony of the apartment next door, breaking in through neighbour's balcony doors, and sneaking out through the apartment while the occupant is in the bedroom with headphones on.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: In Kickback, Wyatt is hired to steal a briefcase full of money that is intended as a bribe for a Sleazy Politician.
  • Criminal Procedural: The books devote a lot of time and description to the planning and execution of Wyatt's extremely professional heists (and even more time to the fallout from them).
  • Danger Takes a Backseat: In Paydirt, Wyatt hides in the boot of an another criminal's car. He waits until the car is underway, then kicks his way in through the backseat and claps a gun to the driver's head.
  • Drunk Rolling: In Wyatt, Wyatt does this to man who is already in the drunk tank. Scooped up when the police did a sweep rounding up the homeless, Wyatt needs to get out of jail before the police check his prints and discover he is wanted. Finding a middle class businessman on a bender who was grabbed in the same raid, Wyatt lifts his ID off while he is passed out. When the police start releasing those who obviously aren't homeless, Wyatt passes himself off as the businessman and walks free.
  • Headphones Equal Isolation: In Wyatt, Wyatt deliberately invokes this by buying a cheap pair of earphones and wearing them while on the train to dissuade anyone from trying to strike up a conversation with him.
  • The Heist: All of the novels centre around a heist of some kind: usually high value and easily convertible to cash. Wyatt prefers to steal cash, but will also steal other easily transportable valuables, like jewels or art. These heists never run as smoothly as he would like.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The first four novels in the series were all Portmantitles: Kickback, Paydirt, Deathdeal, and Crosskill. This was dropped with the fifth book Port Villa Blues.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: In The Fallout, Wyatt steals some paintings from a gallery that is undergoing renovations by driving up in a white van marked 'Asbestos Removal Services' and walking on to the site in white overalls and a dust mask: knowing that none of the builders will want to talk to, or even get close to, someone removing asbestos.
  • Key Under the Doormat: One of Wyatt's most common methods of stealing a car is to go to a car park and search around until he finds someone who is keeping a spare key in a magnetic container inside the wheel well.
  • No Full Name Given: Wyatt is only ever referred to as 'Wyatt'. It is not until The Fallout (book 6 in the series) that the reader learns that Wyatt is his surname, when his nephew laments that he wanted to known as 'Wyatt', but couldn't because everyone in the underworld knew there was only one 'Wyatt': his uncle.
  • Noodle Incident: The first novel Kickback contains brief mentions of some of Wyatt's previous heists, such as knocking over the ticket office at the MCG on Grand Final Day, but provides no detail.
  • One-Word Title: The first four novels were Kickback, Paydirt, Deathdeal, and Crosskill; doubling as Portmantitles. Book 7 is a one word Protagonist Title Wyatt.
  • Portmantitle: The first four novels in the series: Kickback, Paydirt, Deathdeal, and Crosskill. This was dropped with the fifth book Port Villa Blues.
  • Sleazy Politician: In Kickback, Wyatt is hired to steal the eponymous kickback: a Briefcase Full of Money that is destined for a crooked state senator so he will sign off on a real estate development. It turns out that said politician does not take too kindly to having 'his' money stolen and has some powerful 'friends'.
  • Stolen Good, Returned Better: Whenever Wyatt steals a car, he always leaves it in a parking lot with a full tank of petrol.
  • Villain Protagonist: You will end up barracking for Wyatt as his schemes bring him into conflict with worse criminals who lack even Wyatt's basic sense of honour and ethics.