Review published on May 10, 2018.
This book brings a subtle blast of Australian crime fiction from debut writer Emma Visckic. I say this because whilst there were references to Resurrection Bay and Melbourne, where the book is set, amidst a few Australian colloquialisms, it was very easy to overlook in which country the book was set.
It has a unique take, with the protagonist being a profoundly deaf private investigator; Caleb Zelic has the challenge of operating without drawing attention to his deafness, using his excellent lip-reading skills and utilising his heightened interpretation of people’s body language to fulfil his investigative role. But it is not without its challenges. There are dapples of light humour where he has to experience bad or slow signing, which was something I hadn’t considered as a source of frustration for deaf people before.
In this first instalment, Caleb is drawn into a case looking at warehouse robberies. Using some key police officer friends, he becomes embroiled in a dangerous drugs-related case with multiple layers of police corruption. Consequently, his life and the lives of those who are close to him are under threat. His friend and ex-cop Frankie is a bold and sassy character with no soft features. She is a recovering alcoholic and is abrupt and forthright, although there is a softer side to her. Despite this, she brings some comedy and light-heartedness with her sarcasm and distinct flaws.
There were great twists and turns with excellent layering. Some twists you saw coming, others not a clue. It did have a few clusters of clichéd dialogue, but these were quite easy to forgive. All told, it offered a fresh slant, with plenty of deceit and deception making it a very decent read. Notably it has won several Australian book awards. Her second book, And Fire Came Down, is due to be published in August 2018, which forms the second book in the Caleb Zelic series.
Sara Garland 4/4
Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic
Pushkin Vertigo 9781782273912 pbk Apr 2018
Ten Year Stretch: Celebrating a Decade of Crime Fiction at CrimeFest edited by Martin Edwards and Adrian Muller