Title: Old Scores (Frank Swann #3)
Author: David Whish-Wilson
Published: October 31st 2016
Publisher: Fremantle Press
Genres: Fiction, Crime
Rating: 3. 5 stars
It’s the early 1980s: the heady days of excess, dirty secrets and personal favours. Former detective Frank Swann is still in disgrace, working as a low-rent PI. But when he’s offered a security job by the premier’s fixer, it soon becomes clear that someone is bugging the premier’s phone – and it may cost Swann more than his job to find out why.
Western Australia is lucky to have David Whish-Wilson, an author leading the way in Australian crime fiction and crime fiction field in general. Old Scores represents the third novel in his Frank Swann series. It is a series that follows the life of a former police detective, now PI Frank Swann, as he navigates Perth’s underbelly in the 1980’s.
I have not read the previous two novels in this series, but I had no problems whatsoever in picking up this established series. Old Scores is set in the 1980’s, in Perth and looks at life in WA, just as the mining boom sets in. It is a time of great change for the state, as the old liberal government has been voted out and the new labour government has taken the helm in state politics. The new premier’s chief advisor seeks out PI Frank Swann and offers him a position as a security advisor and ‘fixer’. Frank takes on this role with open arms, as this family man wants to give his wife some stability. After quickly uncovering a bugging device in the premier’s office, Frank soon comes to blows with bikies, drug lords, corrupt officers, shady men of the law and ex con’s. It is a dangerous job, shielding the premier from potential dodgy dealings, in his quest to expand Perth’s real estate. Perth’s criminal world is exposed, through Frank Swann’s daily dealings in this compelling crime novel.
It was a pleasure to be provided with the opportunity to read a book written by a local author and also a book published by a local publisher, Fremantle Press. Australian crime fiction is a genre I devour and it was a nice feeling to discover a new author in this field. My experience of reading Old Scores was a positive one and had me seeking out more novels by Whish-Wilson. I’m keen to catch up on the previous two novels in the Frank Swann series.
Frank Swann is a great leading protagonist, he doesn’t seem as jaded as the detectives I have read in many past crime novels. I liked that he was a family man and his devotion to his wife added to his appeal. David Whish-Wilson does a fine job of balancing Frank’s personal life with his career, making this character appear more personable to the reader.
Old Scores is a crime novel you will want to try to consume in one sitting, it is pacy, addictive and gritty. It is scattered with a wide range of secondary characters that add a sense of edginess, as well as diversity to the novel. Crime lovers will lap up the scenes involving the bikie gangs, corrupt officers of the law, crims on the run and the businessmen trying to make a quick buck. For me, as much as the eclectic mix of supporting characters fascinated me, the focus on Perth was the standout feature. Whish-Wilson recreates an age, 1980’s Perth that I completely enjoyed being transported back to. I grew up in the 1980’s, so this novel allowed me to travel back in time, to a period when the iconic Burswood Casino was in its early days of establishment and the notorious Fremantle Prison was still operable. These and many more locations featured in Old Scores. The trip down memory lane Old Scores offered up this reader was a welcome experience.
Old Scores is a novel that I would not hesitate to recommend to the crime fiction lover. If you are West Australian or lived in Perth during the 1980’s, you are in for a treat if you add Old Scores to your reading list.
*I wish to thank Fremantle Press for providing me with a copy of this novel for review via Goodreads.