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True West

Written by David Whish-Wilson


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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.


'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

'[David Whish-Wilson's] story of a hardened boy with a good heart facing violence and danger at every turn is among other things a clear-eyed look at the genesis and the effects of toxic masculinity at its most extreme.' The Saturday Age

'True West is an intelligent and gutsy historical crime novel, and a thoroughly addictive read.' The Weekend West

'David Whish-Wilson’s True West is quality fiction made from materials that in other hands would remain pulp sensationalism.' Weekend Australian


Ned Kelly Award for Best Crime Fiction (Shortlisted 2020)

ISBN 9781925815702 (Paperback)
Formats C Format (234 x 153mm) (Paperback)
Categories Fiction
Book Club Reads
Crime & Mystery
Father's Day 2021
Great Big Book Read Books
Publisher Fremantle Press
Edition 1st
Publication Year 2019
Pages 264
  • David whish wilson website

    David Whish-Wilson

    David Whish-Wilson is the author of seven novels and three creative non-fiction books. He was born in Newcastle, New South Wales, but raised in Singapore, Victoria and Western Australia. He left Australia aged 18 to live for a decade in Europe, Africa and Asia, where he worked as a barman, actor, street seller, petty criminal, labourer, exterminator, factory worker, gardener, clerk, travel agent, teacher and drug trial guinea pig. David’s first novel in the Frank Swann crime series, Line of Sight (Penguin Australia), was shortlisted for a Ned Kelly Award in 2012. He has since written three more in the series: Zero at the Bone, Old Scores and Shore Leave. The first three books in the series have also been published in Germany by Suhrkamp Verlag. David wrote the Perth book in the NewSouth Books city series, which was shortlisted for a WA Premier's Book Award. He currently lives in Fremantle, Western Australia, with his partner and three children, where he teaches creative writing at Curtin University. Read more