Post Script: Resurrection Bay – Emma Viskic

Cover Resurrection Bay

Resurrection Bay

Emma Viskic

Echo Publishing

ISBN: 9781760068769

 

 

Description:

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

 

 

 

My View:

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Night Owls aka The Anatomical Shape of a Heart – Jenn Bennett

Book Cover Nights Owls -Jenn Bennett

Night Owls aka The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

Jenn Bennett

Simon & Schuster UK Ltd

Feiwel and Friends

ISBN: 9781471125300

 

Description:

Since school had let out in May, gold graffiti had been popping up around San Francisco. Single words painted in enormous golden letters appeared on bridges and building fronts. Not semi-illegible, angry gang tags, but beautifully executed fonts done by someone with talent and skill…

Meeting Jack on the Owl—San Francisco’s night bus—turns Beatrix’s world upside down. Jack is charming, wildly attractive…and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists.

On midnight rides and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who this enigmatic boy really is. But Jack is hiding much more – and can she uncover the truth that leaves him so wounded?

A unique and profoundly moving novel. Night Owls will linger in your memory long after the final page.

 

My View:

This little book blew me away! I loved every word, every sentence and every paragraph and did not want this narrative to end. Beautifully written; engaging prose, loveable characters that speak to the principals of acceptance, diversity and individuality and a narrative that is engaging, that flows effortlessly – what more could you want in a great book?

The author comments about this book: “This is not my first published book but it might be my favourite.” I think it might be one of my favourites too! “Writing this book was like slipping into a comfortable coat. It just felt…right.” Perfectly spoken – it felt so right to me too! This is Jenn Bennett’s first YA novel but don’t let the tag “YA” put you off reading this book – there is a beautiful story here that all can enjoy and I will certainly be seeking out this authors others works .

Post Script: Foreign Soil – Maxine Beneba Clarke

Brutal. Raw. Jagged. Insightful.

Foreign Soil

Foreign Soil

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733632426

 

Description:

In this collection of award-winning stories, Melbourne writer Maxine Beneba Clarke has given a voice to the disenfranchised, the lost, the downtrodden and the mistreated. It will challenge you, it will have you by the heartstrings. This is contemporary fiction at its finest.

 

Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award 2013.

 

In Melbourne’s Western Suburbs, in a dilapidated block of flats overhanging the rattling Footscray train-lines, a young black mother is working on a collection of stories.

 

The book is called FOREIGN SOIL. Inside its covers, a desperate asylum seeker is pacing the hallways of Sydney’s notorious Villawood detention centre, a seven-year-old Sudanese boy has found solace in a patchwork bike, an enraged black militant is on the war-path through the rebel squats of 1960s’ Brixton, a Mississippi housewife decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her son from small-town ignorance, a young woman leaves rural Jamaica in search of her destiny, and a Sydney schoolgirl loses her way.

 

The young mother keeps writing, the rejection letters keep arriving…

 

 

 

My View:

Ms Clarke writes with a passion that explodes on the page. This collection of short stories, is, for the main part brutal and savage and for me the experience was mind opening… many of the circumstances described here are familiar, we have seen something like this on the TV or heard on the news but have become desensitised to and have switched off or ignored. Here you cannot ignore the story; the style and the intensity of the writing will ensure these narratives stay with you long after you finish turning the pages.

 

If I was recommending this book to you I would suggest you start from the middle or towards the end as I found the authors voice to be easier to read than in the first few stories (the first few are spoken with accents that I am unfamiliar with and I really had to study the words to understand some of the conversations.) For me this was a distraction to the purpose of the prose but that speaks to my experiences or lack of. I think some of these stories should be told not read for best effect.

 

Regardless of where you start reading, just start. These are voices that need to be heard. Ms Clarke has delivered a brutal and honest message that might at times be uncomfortable to read but is worth the effort.