Caleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside – watching, picking up tell-tale signs people hide in a smile, a cough, a kiss. When a childhood friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can’t do it alone. Caleb and his troubled friend Frankie, an ex-cop, start with one clue: Scott, the last word the murder victim texted to Caleb. But Scott is always one step ahead.
This gripping, original and fast-paced crime thriller is set between a big city and a small coastal town, Resurrection Bay, where Caleb is forced to confront painful memories. Caleb is a memorable protagonist who refuses to let his deafness limit his opportunities, or his participation in the investigation. But does his persistence border on stubbornness? And at what cost? As he delves deeper into the investigation Caleb uncovers unwelcome truths about his murdered friend – and himself.
Resurrection Bay is the exciting debut novel by Melbourne-based award-winning crime writer Emma Viskic.
‘Viskic has created a genuinely unique and captivating character who deserves a place alongside Jack Irish and Cliff Hardy.’ – P.M. Newton
I finished reading this book about a week ago – and here I am still trying to find the words to adequately describe my reaction,
(positive, 5 stars) to this book. It was a great read, a fantastic debut, a great new voice in Australian crime fiction. It is an inclusive and diverse voice; the language deftly written laced with laconic dry humour (Caleb has a typical Australian self-deprecating sense of self and humour) and there are Indigenous characters, artists, cops, villains, drug users, strong men and women, a range of people and lifestyles that form a part of this rich cultural landscape. Emma Viskic’s characters reflect a diverse Australia.
Caleb is profoundly deaf. (Have I ever come across a protagonist in crime fiction who is deaf? I don’t think so.) Caleb’s disability is portrayed with credibility and intelligence – his disability informs his attitudes (he is quiet, some say uncommunicative, keeps mainly to himself, and stands back, observing rather than participating in life around him) but his disability doesn’t define him, perhaps it more accurately defines those around him by their responses to his deafness. Caleb is intelligent, he has mastered the art of reading body language and nuances in behaviours/responses, and language (he lip reads and has hearing aids) and uses his skill to his advantage in both his public and private worlds …he is determined and thorough in his work, he suffers relationship issues like anyone else. He is not perfect. He is… himself. A complex human.
Enough of the protagonist – other characters in this narrative are interesting and humanly portrayed, diverse and real.
The plot – interesting, twisty and at times bloody – (it is a crime story after all) and there are a couple of reveals that I did not see coming. The back story about Caleb’s relationship with his ex-wife and their struggle to deal with loss (no spoilers here) is a universal story about relationships and adds depth, interest, layers…a richness to the storytelling.
The settings – Melbourne, Australia – city and regional; always great to have a landscape that speaks to fellow Australians.
What else can I tell you without giving you a rehash of the narrative? This is an intriguing and engaging read. At times the tension cuts like a razor – swift, sharp, painful. You will not forget this story, you will not forget this cast of characters. You will want to read the next in this series, I do. I think I am done.