Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic, Review: Thriller of substance
Resurrection Bay is Emma Viskic’s multi-award-winning Australian crime fiction debut that has gone on to become an international bestseller.
Resurrection Bay Synopsis
Caleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside – watching, picking up telltale 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.
Originally published by Echo Publishing, September 2015. Published by Pushkin Vertigo in the UK (August 2017) and in the US (February 2018)
Genre: Crime-Detective, Thriller, Mystery, Romance
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I believe I’m having what’s termed a ‘purple patch’ in my reading right now. Australian author Emma Viskic’s long-form debut is another title I’m going to find hard not to gush about.
That Resurrection Bay is ‘a thriller of substance’ is the least indulgent sounding response I can give, which is fitting because ‘indulgent’ is the opposite of Viskic’s approach to her character’s traits — and that fact is what I admire most.
Much will be said about the decision to cast a deaf character in the PI profession. I echo PM Newton’s cover endorsement:
Viskic has created a genuinely unique and captivating character who deserves a place alongside Jack Irish and Cliff Hardy.
We all have different traits
In addition to a complex yet plausible and gritty mystery, the beating heart of this novel is the acknowledgement that we all have different traits, spanning physical abilities, race, personalities and life experiences. Each of our traits influence the way we go about our everyday lives, but no individual can, or should, be defined by any one of them.
I have some personal experience with ‘noticably different traits’ and can attest to a real credibility and authenticity to Viskic’s Caleb character — both his actions/attitude to working with a ‘tool kit’ a little different to the majority along with the myriad of ways others react to that fact. What might be a weakness in one context could well be a strength in another.
Rare is an author that can pen dialogue that does not at some point induce cringing or is so bland/robotic that it is skimmed. Viskic’s character dialogue is a pleasure to read — sharp, dry and attitudinal in all the right places, while mercifully void of hyperbole.
In Resurrection Bay Viskic has balanced first-class character development with palpable violence and suspense. A fantastic beginning to what I predict will be a very successful crime character and series. I know I certainly cannot wait to read the next instalment.
BOOK RATING: The Story 4.5 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5
Get your copy of Resurrection Bay (Caleb Zelic Thriller #1) from:
Amazon Bookshop US Book Depository Booktopia AU
OR listen to the audiobook FREE with Audible’s Trial (check eligibility)
- Emma Viskic Interview >> The wonderful Emma joined us to talk about this novel, inspiration for her characters, writing in the short form and what she likes to read in her downtime.
- The UK Times Crime Roundup named this Book of the Month (Aug 2017)
- Book 2 in the Caleb Zelic Thriller Series, And Fire Came Down (read our review), was published by Echo Publishing on 1 August 2017, Book 3, Darkness of Light (read our review) in December 2019 and Book 4, Those Who Perish in March 2022.
This review counts towards my participation in the 2015 Aussie Author Challenge and the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015.
About the Author, Emma Viskic
Emma Viskic is an award-winning Australian crime writer. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Resurrection Bay, won the 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, as well as an unprecedented three Davitt Awards: Best Adult Novel, Best Debut, and Readers’ Choice. Resurrection Bay was iBooks Australia’s Crime Novel of 2015. She has also won the Ned Kelly and Thunderbolt Awards for her short form fiction.
A classically trained clarinettist, Emma’s musical career has ranged from performing with José Carreras and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, to busking in the London Underground. Emma studied Australian sign language (Auslan) in order to write this novel, and is currently writing book two in the Caleb Zelic series.
Find out more at Emma’s website, on Facebook or Twitter.
* My receiving a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.