Books & Literature

Book Review: Wild Dogs, by Michael Trant

THRILLER: Wild Dogs is a page-turning action thriller set in the WA outback, introducing Australia’s answer to Jack Reacher.

A pacey novel that captures the essences of the Outback and the true-blue Aussie; combining modern crime story techniques with unique Australian aspects.

Feature image credit: Penguin Books Australia

Michael Trant is the latest Aussie voice in the outback crime fiction genre, and is a welcome partner-in-crime (pun intended!) to Chris Hammer (The Martin Scarsden Trilogy and the Lucic & Buchanan series).

Wild Dogs introduces readers to Gabe Ahern, professional “dogger” – he traps wild dogs for local graziers and farmers. He is a reclusive and hermitic, self-professed proudly cantankerous, old bugger. Gabe rarely ventures into town, preferring his own company in the wild scrubland of Western Australia.

The peace and isolation of this rural life is shattered when he stumbles across a crime in progress, while committing one of his own. It is one of several he has taken to, since the tragic passing of his much-loved wife, Valerie. The result of this crossing of paths leads him into a deadly game of cat and mouse with ‘roo shooter Chase Fowler, and a race against time to rescue the family of someone Gabe never expected to meet in this isolated part of the world.

Trant’s greatest strengths lie in his knowledge of and ability to describe the harsh regional realities of Western Australia’s bushland and Remote Area Township living. He combines this with colourful, emotive, and genuine characters, who range from the pure of heart to the pure evil, and all points in-between, including a very surprising one of the four-legged variety.

The story itself is reminiscent of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels – right man, right place, wrong time. But Gabe Ahern is no Jack Reacher, which is no bad thing, and is the core of this tale’s rollicking ride. Wild Dogs is also a perfect title in that it sums up each of the main characters’ essences. They are mixed breeds, born of happenstance and preying on the vulnerable to survive, Gabe included.

Wild Dogs is Trant’s second novel and his third, No Trace, was recently released. This is the next Gabe Ahern novel, set in the Pilbara, dealing with the fallout from Gabe’s previous encounter. This reviewer is now sinking his teeth into that one, like a wild dog … with glasses!

Reviewed by Glen Christie

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: February 2022
RRP: $32.99

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