2022 Reviews · action · contemporary fiction · new release · suspense · thriller

New Release Book Review: Wild Dogs by Michael Trant

Title: Wild Dogs

Author: Michael Trant

Published: February 1st 2022

Publisher: Penguin Books Australia

Pages: 368

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Suspense, Thriller

RRP: $32.99

Rating: 4.5 stars

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

‘Tough, fast and hard – my kind of book.’ Lee Child

In the drought-ridden rangelands of Western Australia, Gabe Ahern makes his living trapping wild dogs for local station owners.

Still coming to terms with his wife’s death – and the part he played in it – the old bushman leads a solitary life. Until one morning, when he rescues a young Afghan man, Amin, from certain execution.

Now, with a gang of people smugglers on his tail and the lives of Amin’s family on the line, Gabe is drawn into a ruthless game of cat and mouse. His main opponent is Chase Fowler, a kangaroo hunter with bush skills as wily and sharp as his own.

As the old dogger and roo-shooter go head to head, Gabe will need all his cunning to come out of this alive…

Review:

‘After a moment of incomprehension Gabe realised this man from Afghanistan would know very little about the outback. ‘No, wild dogs. Dingoes, or feral, I hunt them. That’s what I do.’

West Aussie farmer and writer Michael Trant delivers a nail-biting outback rendition filled with grit, intensity and action. Wild Dogs is a high-octane remote thriller, that presents an enthralling set of themes set around asylum seekers, outback work life and illegal operations. Hair-raising, wild, tough and brisk, I highly recommend Wild Dogs if you love Australian set action thrillers.

Set in the West Australian rangelands, Wild Dogs follows principal character Gabe Ahern. A simple bushman with incredible survival skills, Gabe earns a living by helping local area station owners ensnare wild dogs. Gabe is a man who still grieves the death of his wife, which he blames himself for. As a result, Gabe has deliberately sort out a life of solitude, with minimal human contact. However, when Gabe encounters an Afghan man on the run from imminent death, his life is turned upside down. Now Gabe must contend with a people smugglers ring, which puts his life and the young Afghan man’s life on the line. It is a ruthless game of thwarting and eluding the enemy to keep this duo safe. When the two unlikely friends come up against a relentless kangaroo hunter, they must outwit this shrewd foe. Will Gabe be able to keep his head above water and protect Amin from the dangers of the outback?

It only feels like yesterday that I picked up Ridgeview Station by West Australian based writer Michael Trant. A remarkable voice in outback fiction, Trant has worked hard in the years since his debut novel was released to publish his second book, Wild Dogs. This new story from Michael Trant yet again displays his implicit understanding of the harsh beauty of the West Australian landscape, but Trant extends his writing further by producing a solid action thriller, with some strong underlying themes.

Prior to picking up Wild Dogs the work of a wild dog trapper was an unknown occupation to me. I am a city based West Australian born and bred, but I feel a little naïve not knowing anything about this vocation. Michael Trant’s second novel allowed me to live, eat, sleep and breathe the life of a wild dog trapper via the lead character of Gabe Ahern. I was fascinated by this line of work and Gabe as person. Trant does an excellent job of drawing our attention to this form of employment and he also works hard to illuminate the general life of this bush-based worker. I was able to easily conjure up an image of Gabe in my mind, thanks to Trant’s generous descriptions of this prime protagonist. I felt a part of Gabe’s tumultuous journey from the start to the finish of Wild Dogs, it was a tense, gripping and enthralling read.

The unlikely bond that sparks between a young Afghan asylum seeker and bushman Gabe was the starring feature of Wild Dogs. Trant carefully draws our attention to the world of people smuggling, illegal operations, extortion and asylum seekers through the guise of Amin’s story. I felt better informed and some of my own preconceived notions about these people and their actions were challenged via to the overall narrative arc of Wild Dogs. Trant makes sure he revs things up to a high momentum as the dangerous kangaroo hunter and the people smugglers crew make their presence known to this odd partnership. The sense of danger, jeopardy, sacrifice and desperation seems to seep through the pages of Wild Dogs, making it a knife-edge read.

With a robust cast of primary and secondary players, the umbrella character of Wild Dogs has got to be the setting. Michael Trant knows the core terrain he has situated his second novel in like the back of his hand. The landscape seems to loom large over everything in this book and it is well rendered by the author. As a West Aussie I am proud to see our land, with all its beauty and dangerous parts out there for the reading world to see, which is thanks to Michael Trant’s skilled writing. It is a tight race until the end of Wild Dogs, but I promise you it is worth the ride. Wild Dogs is a highly recommended read and I would suggest you turn to this one if you enjoy international authors such as Lee Child, or local authors such as Chris Hammer.

Wild Dogs by Michael Trant was published on 1st February 2022 by Penguin Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of Wild Dogs, Michael Trant, visit here.

*I wish to thank the author/Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.

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