David Whish-Wilson lives in Fremantle, Western Australia, where he teaches creative writing at Curtin University. He is the author of short stories and the novels The Summons, published in 2006 and Line of Sight, published in 2010. David's new novel Zero at the Bone is now available. Read more...

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David’s blog

13/11/19 || True West
09/07/18 || The Coves release
09/07/18 || THE COVES released
07/03/16 || New publications
18/02/15 || Griffith Review 47
01/02/12 || TVPiazza - interview
03/08/11 || Ned Kelly Short-list
04/01/11 || 2010 Bests of...
21/09/10 || Media

Welcome to the website of David Whish-Wilson



San Francisco, 1856. Irish-born James ‘Yankee’ Sullivan is being held in jail by the Committee of Vigilance, which aims to rout the Australian criminals from the town. As Sullivan’s mistress, seeks his release and as his fellow prisoners are taken away to be hanged, the convict tells a story of triumph and tragedy: of his daring escape from penal servitude in Australia; how he became America’s most celebrated boxer; and how he met the true love of his life.


‘Vivid and ambitious in its storytelling and multi-layered in its thematic interests …’ West Australian

‘Whish-Wilson is a storyteller, there is no greater praise.’ Bruce Pascoe

‘It is both a stylish retelling of one extraordinary life and an investigation into the truths that slip through history’s net, sinking to depths only imagination can plunge.’ Australian Book Review



Western Australia, 1988. After betraying the Knights bikie gang, 17-year-old Lee Southern flees to the city with nothing left to lose. 

Working as a rogue tow truck driver in Perth, he is captured by right-wing extremists whose combination of seduction and blackmail keeps him on the wrong side of the law and under their control.

As the true nature of what drives his captors unfolds, Lee becomes an unwilling participant in a breathtakingly ambitious plot – and a cold-blooded crime that will show just how much he, and everyone else, still has to lose.


"David Whish-Wilson's True West is a brilliant gritty hard-boiled bikie gang exploitation movie of a book, that brims with heat dust diesel violence and other delicious tropes of the bad-lands in and around Perth. Whish-Wilson unpacks the fascist demimonde of late 80s Western Australia with a style that would give David Peace a run for his money. Superb." Adrian McKinty author of The Chain.

"...a fast-paced ride through a landscape of paranoid preppers, visceral violence and an ambitious conspiracy...The latter plot makes True West a book with striking relevance to the present day, drawing implicit parallels to the rise of the far right and its accomodation by opportunistic politicians. True West is an intelligent and gutsy historical crime novel, and a thoroughly addictive read." Gemma Nisbet, The West Australian

'But for all of Whish-Wilson's skill with impactful action and white-knuckle suspense, True West ultimately reveals itself as a complex morality tale about the tenacious spread of prejudice.' Books + Publishing

'Whish-Wilson’s Western Australia is alive, its heart beating, its outback a swirl of dust and history, roads like scars, the scent of its plants as strong as the ocean’s salty brine. Lee is a hell of a character ... This is compelling, thrilling, and still feels like it could be played out today in the white nationalist fringes of Australian politics.' Readings, crime book of the month



San Francisco, 1849: a place gripped by gold fever, swarming with desperate men come to seek their fortune. Among them are former convicts, Australians quick to seize control in a town without masters, a town for the taking. Into this world steps an Australian boy in search of his mother. Just twelve years old, and all alone in a time of opportunism, loyalty and violent betrayal, Samuel Bellamy must learn to become one of the Sydney Coves if he is to survive.

‘A clever tale of criminal plots, family bonds, and the birth of a new world. Holds like a vice and never lets go. Every turn of the page builds the pressure.’ Rohan Wilson

‘The Coves is what happens when Australian criminals take over Deadwood.’ Paul Daley

‘A lyrical coming-of-age tale and an historical crime novel, lit by something fresh, honest and generous.’ Joan London

'... a fascinating novel. Whish-Wilson succeeds in providing an engaging access point into this aspect of Australian/US history, while also presenting an interesting way of understanding coming-of-age.' Westerly Magazine



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.

'Another explosive and compelling novel from David Whish-Wilson' Adrian McKinty

For a sample chapter - https://www.fremantlepress.com.au/system/spree/files/attachments/000/002...






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