Resurrection Bay is a tour-de-force excursion into good, evil, and the labyrinth of human motivations. Emma Viskic has created a brilliant protagonist in the profoundly-deaf, and irrepressibly obstinate Caleb Zelic, and has produced one of the year’s best crime novels.
When Caleb discovers the brutalised corpse of his childhood friend, Gary – a Melbourne cop – splayed in his home, he endeavours to prove his innocence and bring the killer(s) to justice. Partnered with his troubled friend and ex-cop Frankie, and reuniting with his ex-wife Kat, and estranged brother along the way, Caleb’s investigation is anything but straightforward. His only clue is a text message sent him moments before his death, but the name it provided – Scott – means nothing, and is frustratingly opaque. Worse still, the police don’t trust Caleb, and the deeper he probes, the clearer it becomes there is a dark, corrupt force operating freely in their ranks; and they will stop at nothing to keep Caleb from uncovering the truth. The novel’s final pages reveal that darkness has spread further than Caleb could ever have anticipated, and his refusal to back down has devastating consequences for those closest to him.
Caleb’s deafness leads to some interesting interactions with the novel’s cast. Frankie’s rudimentary AUSLAN skills give the narrative much-needed moments of levity, while other characters take advantage of the situation. Viskic does a wonderful job balancing the consequences of Caleb’s deafness, but in doing so, she never undermines her protagonist’s investigatory prowess. Caleb has been profoundly deaf since early childhood; he’s adapted to his reality, and is dogged in his approach, despite the inevitable moments of frustration.
Having won two of Australia’s premier crime fiction short story awards, Resurrection Bay is further validation of Emma Viskic’s status as a writer-to-watch. Her debut is stripped-down and raw, and packs one helluva punch.
Format: Paperback (234mm x 153mm x mm)
Imprint: Echo Publishing
Publisher: The Five Mile Press Pty Ltd
Publish Date: 01-Sep-2015
Country of Publication: Australia