Allen & Unwin
Gareth Ford is a mining engineer with a gambling habit and marital problems. After a daring $8 million gold heist on the day of the Kalgoorlie Cup, he’s left for dead in the desert and framed as the inside man. Pursued by cops and mercenaries, Ford forms a fragile alliance with Doc and Banjo, a pair of fugitive bikers, and Kavanagh, a gym-buffed female cop from the Gold Stealing Detection Unit. The unlikely foursome travel across the Outback, intent on uncovering a conspiracy that reaches all the way up to big business and the Western Australian government.
This debut novel from Robert Schofield is fast paced, action packed and entertaining. Schofield masters the art of establishing time and place and we get a real sense of how the mining industry, particularly gold mining and gold towns operate. It is a tough and arduous existence; long dusty days, isolated existences and a male dominated industry. It is lonely. It is hot. It is the perfect setting for a gold robbery.
The plot is complicated and ACTION is the best description for this book; the protagonist – Ford, is beaten up, shot at and wounded – many times, he is locked in an armoured vehicle when it is blown up, he is chased and hunted down, by bikies, gold stealers and the cops. Ford is in a bad way, and he is also an alcoholic being pumped with booze, pain killers, antibiotics and others “meds”. I don’t know how he is able to stand up let alone continue his search for his missing wife and daughter and escape the baddies. And this is the books down fall – to me there is a lacking in credibility in many of the characters and the scenes.
But if you like you read fast paced, with thrills, spills and shoot em ups every five minutes, this book is for you. If you don’t look too deeply at the characterisations, if you close your eyes to the stereo types that abound in this book, this is an entertaining read.