The Times Australia

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The Times


Dancing in the Daintree by Gary McKay

  • Written by News Co

Gary McKay, Australia’s most prolific non-fiction author on the Viet Nam war, has now entered the world of fiction with his latest release Dancing in the Daintree. He found it wasn’t easy because his publishers wouldn’t take a chance with his change of genre and McKay found himself forced into self-publishing, which is always fraught with failure. When asked why he had taken this change of direction, Gary replied that he had been working as the military advisor to a couple of film scripts a few years back and thought he would give it a crack when the opportunity arose.

This former military officer was initially conscripted for military service during the Viet Nam war, but was offered a permanent commission in the Army after a successful tour of duty where he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry. He rose through the ranks and as he stated ‘had a great run and was lucky enough to have a job where he looked forward to going to work every day.’

It was during this time in the late 80s when he was the chief of staff to a 7000 man infantry brigade that he was approached by Customs and Quarantine to help with an operation to catch drug smugglers operating along the Great Barrier Reef in Far North Queensland. ‘That became the back story for the novel’ Gary explained and provided a great back drop for an action – thriller that I hope one day will get picked up as a feature movie. He added, ‘It provides automatic exposure for the Queensland State government wanting to expose the natural beauty of the Reef.

When asked what the hardest part of this new venture is Gary replied that unlike normal publishing, he now faces doing all of his own marketing, distribution and sales. ‘Thankfully we have the internet that allows me to easily communicate with people wanting to get the book’ he said. ‘I have had good reviews and the pace is now starting to pick up and my wife Margot and I have turned the dining room into a packaging area for the moment.’ Gary’s local Post Office in Kiama Downs on the South Coast of NSW is also displaying his book and selling his books on consignment.

When questioned on the plot and what the story is about Gary said, the ‘blurb says it all’ and he passed across his copy.

Bob McTaggart returns from a tour of duty with his Special Forces unit in Afghanistan and his world is quickly turned upside down. He tries to put his life back on an even keel only to find himself dangerously involved in the dirty and deadly world of drug trafficking. McTaggart has to rely on all of his sharply honed skills to survive in the tropical rainforests of Far North Queensland and on the Great Barrier Reef. 

The prize is worth millions, but the deceit, betrayal and uncompromising greed by merciless and unscrupulous men and women make life hazardous for all who want to play in this deadly game. This fast moving, action-packed thriller will take you deep into the deadly world of organised crime where the only thing that matters is money. To dance with the devil is to engage in risky, reckless, or potentially immoral behaviour. To dance in the Daintree is to put your life in harms’ way where the slightest slip will bring an ugly end.

To obtain a copy of Gary’s latest effort contact him by email on The book costs $25 and a single book postage is usually $9.00


“Like an Australian James Bond, Dancing in the Daintree is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure set in tropical North Queensland. With an easy-going style, unforgettable characters and peppered with Australian humour, it is a great read. Highly enjoyable!”

Alaine Neilson, Author of Are You Sure You Want to Know?

“Veteran SAS hero on dangerous, covert surveillance of ruthless drug-traffickers. A suspense-filled adventure to the very end.”

Vivian Waring, author of When Tears Ran Dry

‘Author, author. A cracking read.’

Peter Berner, Author, artist and television personality.

OK, Gary. When's the sequel coming out?  Dancing in the Daintree is a cracking good read.

Aviva Sheba, artist


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