Book Reviews
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Book Review: Resurrection Bay

DETAILS

Title: RESURRECTION BAY
Author: Emma Viskic
Publisher: Pushkin Press
ISBN: 9781782273622
Genre: Mystery | Suspense

BACK COVER BLURB

Caleb Zelic can’t hear you. But he sees everything.

CALEB ZELIC IS ON THE HUNT FOR HIS FRIEND’S KILLER

His childhood friend has been brutally murdered—fingers broken, throat slit—at his home in Melbourne. Tortured by guilt, Caleb vows to track down the killer. But he’s profoundly deaf; missed words and misread lips can lead to confusion, and trouble.

HE NEVER FORGETS A FACE

Fortunately, Caleb knows how to read people; a sideways glance, an unconvincing smile, speaks volumes. When his friend Frankie, a former cop, offers to help, they soon discover the killer is on their tail

IT MIGHT JUST SAVE HIS LIFE

Sensing that his ex-wife may also be in danger, Caleb insists they return to their hometown of Resurrection Bay. But here he learns that everyone—including his murdered friend—is hiding something. And the deeper he digs, the darker the secrets…

WHAT I THOUGHT

First of all, let me just begin by saying this debut novel by Aussie author, Emma Viskic, is outstanding. Truly a remarkable novel on just about every level. It’s not long, at just 280 pages, so I read this in one frantic, page-turning day!

Let’s start with the well crafted, well delineated characters. I love Caleb Zelic who narrates the story. He’s such a great down-to-earth character, feisty and oh so different from the usual MC in that he just happens to be deaf. This makes for a wholly unique POV both in the visuals and descriptions, and more, the dialogue.

Choppy and jarring, we see the world how Caleb hears it. With broken sentences that obviously make for a few comic and laugh out loud moments. And, of course, because of this handicap, we feel every ounce of Caleb’s frustration. His determination to not to give in, stubborn to the last. Which inevitably causes clashes with both his work partner, Frankie—who, by the way, is another excellently flawed character—and his ex-wife, Kat. It’s only when we learn why Kat and Caleb spilt that we understand the weight of emotions involved.

This thread of the plot is wonderfully written. The tug and pull between the two characters are at the heart of Caleb’s state of mind. And provide a lot of the backstory to Caleb. And I love Kat as a character too, along with her family, of whom I’m sure, we’ll see a lot more of. I especially want more of Kat’s mother, Maria!

And then there’s Frankie—Caleb’s 57 year-old, ex-cop partner and on the wagon drunk—with an acerbic wit who’s a great counterbalance to Caleb. Throw in a clutch of secondary characters that were so well written, I felt like I knew them. And Viskic has assembled the perfect cast for this taught, tense mystery full of twists and turns I was caught out several times.

The plotting is superb, as we follow Caleb and Frankie trying to figure out why Caleb’s friend, Gary, has been murdered while investigating a fraud case. What on the surface seems straightforward enough, becomes a deadly race against time, as one by one, people close to the case begin turning up dead.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed RESURRECTION BAY and the almost, at times, poetic descriptions Viskic writes:

“. . . she was a study in tones: her skin a smooth wash of burnt umber, sienna touches to her hair, the unexpected flash of blue eyes. The genes from all her Koori ancestors distilled to a heady perfection.”

There are moments of heart-pounding terror, as seen through Caleb’s eyes, to moments of joy and heartbreak with ex-wife, Kat. And some very funny moments with Frankie, that keep this one light and entertaining, counterbalancing the moments of off-camera violence when the heavies start to slice-and-dice people. And then, there’s an ending I never saw coming, as Viskic throws in a cleverly disguised curve-ball that threw me for a loop.

This is an amazing debut, with believable characters, brisk pacing and plotting that might make your head turn in the wrong direction. Hang on for the ride. Now, I can’t wait to grab a copy of the second in the series, AND FIRE CAME DOWN.

Rating: 9.5 / 10

11 Comments

  1. I read Dark Matter last year and it’s choppy too. Some people hated it but I actually really loved it. It was different and created an atmosphere to the novel I hadn’t experienced before. This one sounds amazing Alexandra! Gonna have to add it to my TBR 🙂

    • Alexandra says

      You’d probably love this one too, then, Christina. It really adds to the atmosphere, rather than detracts, and besides, it isn’t in your face. And you really feel what Caleb goes through. I found it very refreshing!

  2. Well Alexandra this is an outstanding review!!! And yes these lines are beautiful and kind of poetic. Good to know it was really a winner!

    • Alexandra says

      Indeed, Sophie, I really enjoyed this one. It was a cleverly written mystery with plenty of suspense.

    • Alexandra says

      I hope that you do, Jonetta. I really liked the characters and the story was brisk and emotional.

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  4. from the glimpse of this it looks fantastic! Never heard of it before so thank you for sharing with us 🙂 the voices of the characters look original.

    • I thoroughly enjoyed this one, Lily, and yes, the characters are very unique, which made a change. And it was, for me at least, a really fast read. I hope you check it out.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I think the choppy style defo goes with the main character not being able to hear!
    Awesome review 🙂

    • Alexandra says

      It’s really well done, so much so, Norrie, I didn’t realise the author was doing it till I stopped reading at one point, and then smiled as it dawned on me. She’s a very good story teller as well, and I’ll be reading a lot more from her if this is her style.

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