Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic
|Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A distinctive thriller with a great readability, that has a hero you will want more of in future books of the series.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: August 2017|
|Publisher: Pushkin Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Caleb Zelic has just found his colleague and lifelong friend murdered. The two – and a female police officer – were working as a private investigative group, tracking security flaws that led to a hugely costly warehouse robbery, and all have training in the industry, so they should have seen anything coming. Caleb won't have heard it coming, however – he's pretty much deaf, getting a cadence of speech and noise from hearing aids but needing to lipread or sign. The first signs that this murder is connected to the case are impossible to ignore – as indeed are hints that something really serious is going on, when Caleb finds he can't even trust the police looking into the murder. The case will cause him to go a lot further than he would ever want – which includes to the door of his errant brother, and into the home of his recently-made-ex wife…
This is a very impactful thriller. It doesn't read like the usual Pushkin Vertigo title, and hasn't been presented as one, either – gone is the novella-length pocket book styling for something more like an airport purchase. Luckily to say, however, the quality is still here. I did wonder at first how Caleb can charge someone with knowing the Mister Big that could have been behind this all, when the same could have been levelled at him, but I soon fell further into the depths of the corruption and machinations of the case. There are a couple of further beats I found a little too predictable, but not to the extent they disturbed my pleasure. But I did find a few things on the implausible side, in minor niggly ways. Our hero can buy a replacement mobile and put contact numbers into it fresh without asking – I've lived with someone for three years and I have no idea what their mobile number looks like!
The book has a blurb quote mentioning its freshness, and it has won a stack of awards, which did surprise me a little, however much I want to attest to its qualities. It is a well-worn route to go down, to have corrupt police against the person both they and others are wronging. Here, however, we have a stage further – it's not only that, but those who watch the watchmen – people ostensibly involved in police standards and corruption investigations themselves who seem part of the circle of evil. You'll have to judge for yourself whether that's enough of a change.
What is without doubt is that Caleb is a fine, new hero. The deafness doesn't make him the stereotypical 'suitably flawed' investigator – nor anything like the superhero his brother thought him in childhood. He can recall each and every face he has ever seen, but that's not given to be an effect of his deafness, and while he has a great ability to read 'tells', and to discern body language, real meaning and hidden messages in what people are saying to him, there's also a great instance here and there of the man being too vulnerable – you can't exactly hear an assailant creeping up on you if you're deaf.
It's good, then, that he is to return, and that this is the first in a new series of crime books. They have the added appeal of a rich Australian-ness, with the ex-wife being one of the native inhabitants, and while a couple of cultural references get in the way of full global comprehension now and again, they hardly matter in the grand scheme of things. More important is the fine narrative drive here – this is a page-turner of no small order. Thrust right into the beginning of things with our hero cradling the cooling corpse of his friend and colleague shows its tautness, although I'd like to point out this would never be anything more than a 15 certificate in cinema terms. I don't think it's different enough to win awards outside Australia, where its convincing survey of aspects of life there would cause them to have a great sense of ownership of this title, but it is well worth a read for genre fans, flight to take or no.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
I'd also recommend you pack Cairo by Chris Womersley, a book that hardly dares to become a full-on thriller for long spells, but which also is a great Australian novel.
You can read more book reviews or buy Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.