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And Fire Came Down by Emma Viskic

Author: Emma Viskic
Publisher: Puskin Virtigo
Format: Paperback, 335 pages
Genre: Mystery | Suspense

Back Cover Blurb

Deaf since early childhood, Caleb Zelic is used to meeting life head-on. Now, he’s struggling just to get through the day. His best mate is dead, his ex-wife, Kat, is avoiding him, and nightmares haunt his waking hours.

But when a young woman is killed, after pleading for his help in sign language, Caleb is determined to find out who she was. The trail leads Caleb back to his hometown, Resurrection Bay. The town is on bushfire alert, and simmering with racial tensions. As Caleb delves deeper, he uncovers secrets that could ruin any chance of reuniting with Kat, and even threaten his life. Driven by his own demons, he pushes on. But who is he willing to sacrifice along the way?

What I Thought

This is the second book in the Caleb Zelic series and, like Resurrection Bay, is relentless in its pacing as Caleb once again is trust into the centre of a murder mystery. Continuing a few months on from the aftermath of events that took place in book one, Caleb, beset by nightmares, is barely making a go of it and struggling physically and mentally. When, out for a run, he’s approached by a homeless man and given a cryptic note asking for help. Unable to resist, of course, Caleb follows the down-and-out to a dark alley and, everything from there on in goes to hell in a hand basket!

Poor Caleb, you have got to feel for this guy. So well written by Viskic he feels like someone you know or should know—a friend of a friend—he seems so familiar. Fighting the world on several fronts not least of which is battling through an ordinary day dealing with talking people, we get to know so much more about Caleb, and just how hard it is to be deaf in a speaking, hearing world. Viskic does an outstanding job of making us feel and live through Caleb’s eye. And yes, his ears too. Every missed word, every simple situation made all the more difficult by the obstacles he faces. 

But Caleb is undaunted by his hearing impairment, and though he struggles, it’s made him who he is, more acutely aware of others in a way we cannot comprehend. And Viskic really reflects this so well in her writing. How he interacts with others and, just as importantly, how they, in turn, interact with him. It’s all so brutally honest.

It’s also both jarring, and so cleverly done. This is what makes for a far more interesting read, because Viskic’s characters are working within this framework, along with us, the reader. Making Caleb one hell of an interesting character never mind he’s determined, stubborn to a fault, and never, but never give up once he’s committed to doing something. In this case, finding out who killed the woman in the red dress.

With plenty of mystery, false leads, any number of ruses and misdirects, Viskic keeps things moving along at a decent pace, and never flags with both the plot, details, or character involvement. Even down to the secondary characters carried over from Resurrection Bay. We’re treated to more details and background, learn more about the community itself, where Caleb grew up, including more involvement with his younger fucked up brother, Ant.

It all makes for a thoroughly absorbing read. I was so invested in what was going on, I read this one in three very nail biting sittings. So determined to find out what was going on, who the killer or, killers, where, and whether or not we’d see Caleb get back together with Kat, his estranged wife. 

And Fire Came Down takes on a lot and delivers lightning in a bottle for a second time. Tense, fraught, razor-sharp observations and, as I said, relentless. Caleb takes us on another journey of discovery, both personal and emotionally, as well as thematically. And while the ending ties up a number of threads by the end, it also poses a few more that we just know are going to be answered in the next instalment, in Darkness For Light. 

While this might read OK as a standalone, I suggest reading Resurrection Bay first, as it will give more depth and background to the characters, plot, and setting. Never mind, just what makes Caleb tick.

Another outstanding read from beginning to end, I highly recommend this series.

Summer’s End

It’s been a dark and heavy day here, today. The air is still and ominous almost like the weather knows it’s time, time to switch to autumn. And any minute the trees will be aflame with reds and golds, as the days become shorter and the air cooler.

In preparation for the weather turning, I’ve been on a book buying spree and getting my unwieldily TBR pile in order. Well, some semblance of order, that is, in the hope that I can get back into reading again. Soon, I won’t be able to take anymore long walks and I’ll be regaling you all with endless pictures of snow.

So, to that end, and having enjoyed my time escaping on jaunts out, I’m going to be posting more book reviews and other content. Expect to have me rambling and raging about the latest TV show on Netflix—I’m currently watching THE CROWN—as much as my latest read, while sharing photos of autumn’s glory. After all, I do live in an area populated with lots of trees and parks.

It’s time to puff up the pillows on the couch and crack out the pumpkin spice lattes.

River St. Charles

Over our long weekend, we took the time to go for a walk along a section of the river St. Charles. There are several walks available along this secondary river that feeds into the mighty St. Lawrence. On this particular day we chose to do the historic Secteur de L’Anse-à-Cartier — walking towards the spot historically associated with where Jacque Cartier’s boat landed and the first French settlement was established here, in Québec City.

We walked from Pont Drouin all the way to the Pont Marie-de-L’Incarnation before catching the bus home. The route took us past and under a number of bridges and , for the most part, was deserted of any other walkers. Which, in and of itself, was unusual for this section of river. Not that we were complaining, given it meant we had the walk almost complete to ourselves.

This is a tidal river, as you can tell by the weirdly awful colour of the water, sediment gets churned up twice a day. The good thing about that is, it attracts a lot of different types of birds. We saw herons and cormorants and quite a few field birds. Not that I got any decent photos of them.

All in all, thanks to a the weather, which held warm and sunny, we had a great couple of hours enjoying the wildlife and the peace and quiet of the river.