‘Resurrection Bay’ by Emma Viskic

Resurrection Bay

Fiction – paperback; Pushkin (Vertigo); 304 pages; 2018.

Emma Viskic’s debut novel, Resurrection Bay, is an unconventional slice of noir set in Melbourne, Australia.

It’s unconventional because the main character, Caleb Zelic, is profoundly deaf but is such a skilled lip reader that few people realise his inability to hear.

It’s also unconventional because it’s not a police procedural as such: when Caleb’s childhood friend, a senior constable, is brutally murdered, he’s determined to track down the killer.

He carries out an investigation via the private security firm he runs with his business partner Frankie, a former police detective, who is battling a secret dependence on alcohol.

Their work is fast-paced — and dangerous. It swings between the city and Resurrection Bay, Caleb’s home town on the coast, and involves a shady cast of characters, including corrupt cops, thugs and innocent people caught up in a web of lies and secrets.

A deftly plotted page turner

Resurrection Bay is a truly original story. It’s incredibly well plotted and full of twists and turns, but it’s so fast-paced it left me feeling breathless in places.

But it’s also very violent. There’s a lot of death and a lot of brutality, perhaps a little too much for my liking.

Yet it’s not without gentleness, for Caleb is nursing a broken heart and is still getting over his marriage break up with Kat, an aboriginal artist, who is unwittingly caught up in Caleb and Frankie’s investigation.

If I was to fault the story it would be that sometimes it feels unrealistic, but this is a minor quibble, because the tale is so gripping it hardly matters.

Caleb, of course, is the star of the show, a convincing protagonist, appealing and likeable. And the twist at the end caught me off guard, which is always the sign of a great crime thriller.

Resurrection Bay has been shortlisted for two prestigious CWA awards — the Gold Dagger and the New Blood Dagger — but it’s also won a slew of awards in Australia, including the Ned Kelly Best Debut and iBooks Australia Best Crime Novel.

This is my 14th book for #AWW2018 and my 11th book for #20booksofsummer. I bought it when it came out in paperback earlier this year because I’d heard good things about it.

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8 thoughts on “‘Resurrection Bay’ by Emma Viskic

    • Agreed, the plot *is* convoluted but I didn’t find it dull, I just had trouble keeping up with the twists and turns!! I can’t actually remember Caleb’s motivations for being a PI …

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    • It’s certainly a different kind of premise and it ticks a lot of diversity boxes. Deaf character. Aboriginal character. Strong older female character. (Not that I am cynical, hehehe.)

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  1. Pingback: 20 books of summer 2018 recap – Reading Matters

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