Those Who Perish (Caleb Zelic #4) by Emma Viskic, Review: Intense

Those Who Perish, Emma Viskic’s fourth book and reported finale to the bestselling Caleb Zelic PI series is a white-knuckle reading experience. Read my full review.

Those Who Perish Synopsis

Those Who Perish Book Review - Emma Viskic

Caleb Zelic Thriller, Book 4

A REMOTE ISLAND
AN ISOLATED COMMUNITY
A KILLER PICKING THEM OFF ONE BY ONE …

‘You should be careful, Mr Zelic. Because the person who killed Peter Taylor will almost certainly kill again.’ The detective’s glassy eyes didn’t blink. ‘And you’re already in their sights.’

Deaf PI Caleb Zelic has always been an outsider, estranged from family and friends. But when he receives a message that his brother, Anton, is in danger, Caleb sees it as a chance at redemption.

He tracks Anton down to a small, wind-punished island, where secrets run deep and resentments deeper. When a sniper starts terrorising the isolated community, the brothers must rely on each other like never before. But trust comes at a deadly price …

PRAISE FOR THOSE WHO PERISH:

‘Tense and atmospheric’ – Garry Disher
‘Compelling’ – Chris Hammer
‘Addictive’ – Dervla McTiernan
‘Thrilling’ – Christian White

(Echo Publishing, March 2022)

Pushkin Press publication in the United Kingdom in April 2022 and in United States and Canada in July 2022.

Genre: Thriller, Crime-Detective, Drama, Mystery

Disclosure: If you click a link in this post and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission.

Book Review

I have loved everything about this gutsy crime series… It’s achingly fallible (aka human) leading man Caleb, his strong leading lady, and its raw and strikingly authentic representation of society’s diversity (the good, bad and the ugly). But having now finished reading Those Who Perish #4, which is apparently this series’ final chapter, what stands above all the story elements is Emma Viskic’s writing style.

On her previous novel, I wrote:

“I read Book 3 in a single day. I did not think it possible, but the narrative in Darkness for Light is even more taut and compelling than the novels that precede it.

Well, I’m here to say Viskic has somehow refined ‘taut and compelling’ even further. Out of context, her gritty and at times brutally short, clipped sentences would seem highly peculiar, but the way she packages them all together to convey her lead’s viewpoint… it’s evocative, it’s compelling, it’s tension-filled. Caleb’s headaches, frustrations and confusion feel tangible to the reader. 

While I am very sad to see this series end, I am also glad Those Who Perish was more contained than its predecessors – because this narrative felt like one big drum-roll. Viskic’s criminal plot is once again complex, but less of a star than in prior outings – principally a tool for character interrogation and progression in this finale.

While not my favourite title from Viskic to date, Those Who Perish is certainly a fitting end (or long pause?) to one of my favourite book series of all time.

Emma has always written her Caleb Zelic novels so that they read just fine as standalones. But, since the beauty of this series is the character development, I highly recommend starting at the beginning with Resurrection Bay #1.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5 ; Overall 4.25

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More Those Who Perish reviews

‘I rate Emma Viskic as Australia’s best crime writer – vivid characters, ingenious plots and a passionate social conscience’ – Phillip Adams

‘Emma Viskic is a terrific, gutsy writer with great insight’ – Emily Maguire

‘Viskic’s writing is again the stand-out for me. I mean, I really like Caleb but it’s her taut prose that I find riveting.’ – Debbish.com

‘The characterisations are superb throughout and even the most minor of characters are imbued with a sense of credibility. Emma is very adroit at creating interesting, original characters on the fringes of mainstream society and bringing them alive, and Those Who Perish is filled with several memorable cameos.’ – Murder, Mayhem & Long Dogs 

About the Author, Lucy Foley

Emma Viskic’s critically acclaimed Caleb Zelic novels have been published worldwide. The series has won numerous prizes, including a Ned Kelly Award and an unprecedented five Davitt Awards. Her debut novel, Resurrection Bay, was shortlisted for the UK’s prestigious Gold Dagger and New Blood Awards, and a Barry Award in the US. Emma learned Auslan in order to create the character of Caleb, who is profoundly deaf.

Emma was once a classical clarinettist whose musical career ranged from performing with Jose Carreras and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to busking for beer money in St Kilda. She lives in Naarm/Melbourne, Australia and is currently working on a standalone novel. Check out her website and connect with her on Twitter / Facebook.

This review counts toward my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2022.

* My receipt of a review copy from the publisher did not impact the expression of my honest opinions above.