Author: Andrew Nette
Publisher: Down & Out Books
Release Date: February 2018
Gunshine State is the story of Gary Chance, a former Australian army driver, ex-bouncer and thief, who finds himself in Surfers Paradise, Queensland, working for Dennis Curry, an aging criminal with a lucrative side-line in high-stakes poker games. Curry has hatched a plan to rob a high-roller named Freddie Gao, and has assembled an unlikely crew to help him do so. Inevitably, the plan backfires bloodily – setting in motion a violent chain of events that sees Chance scrambling to get clear of the wreckage before circling back in search of his pay-day.
Gunshine State is a tremendous heist-gone-wrong thriller which will delight fans of Richard Stark’s Parker books. The resourceful, cynical Chance is a fully formed flesh-and-blood protagonist – not an indestructible tough guy – and the crew he tangles with is eclectic and similarly well-judged. Nette’s plotting is crisp, and the story zig-zags memorably between the Iron Triangle in South Australia, Surfer’s Paradise, Canberra, Bangkok and Melbourne.
As the heist unravels and the plot unfolds the absorbing location details and invigorating set-pieces help to keep the narrative fresh. All in all: a top-notch thriller. I look forward to the (in-progress) sequel, Orphan Road.
Review by Tom Leins