Similarities between the two protagonists are obvious, including everything from their names to their personalities to the targets of their heists to the titles of the books. And, though Disher has paid amusing tribute to Stark, the influence may extend from Disher as well as to him.
My posts on the subject in this blog's early days drew passionate comments from some Australian readers angry at what one called a "cultural cringe" — excessive imitation by the Australian Disher of an American source. Disher himself weighed in on my Parker/Wyatt questions, though his comments seem to have disappeared from the State Library of Victoria's Web site. (No conspiracy need be inferred. He posted the comments four years ago, and they may have been removed to clear space.)
If I recall correctly, Disher said he wanted Wyatt to be a more fully rounded character than Parker. Indeed, the fifth Wyatt novel, Port Vila Blues, has Wyatt displaying remorse, which Parker never did.
American readers will soon get their chance to meet Wyatt; Soho Press is publishing the seventh and latest novel in the series, called simply Wyatt. A first glance at the book finds Wyatt sizing up a potential human obstacle to a heist, much as Stark often had Parker do, but with a good deal more psychological analysis than Parker was given to. One way is not necessarily better than the other, but it's good to find differences between two protagonists in many ways so similar.
Wyatt follows Disher's previous Wyatt book, The Fallout, by thirteen years. The series' resumption after a long layoff may remind readers of another crime series.
- Take a look at Disher's lengthy, genre-spanning bibliography, including his Hal Challis novels.
- Browse his Web site.
- Read an excerpt from Wyatt.