Caleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside – watching, picking up tell-tale 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.
‘Resurrection Bay’ won the Ned Kelly Best Debut and a trifecta of Davitt Awards in 2016. When you read it you can understand why.
It is a fast moving tale that gives Peter Temple a run for his money. The hero, Caleb Zelic, is a powerful addition to the genre. He was profoundly deaf since early childhood, but rather than that being the focus of his being it is used as another attribute and textually as a professional strength allowing him to watch and pick up the multiple signs people hide in a smile, a cough, or a kiss. It is a celebration of difference as strength not weakness important in today's Australia of the great homogeneity and the oppression of difference whether it be denying Marriage Equality for as long as humanly possible, vilifying refugees, or the strange desire to increase racism and discrimination through getting rid of 18C. In relation the narrative thread concerning Caleb's partner and her indigenous family is groundbreaking and to be celebrated. In Australia in 2017 we need much more diversity and many more different voices, not less.
Like J.M Peace’s ‘A Time To Run’, Emma Viskic's Caleb Zelic gives Australian crime writing a distinctive and strong central character readers can root for. Other great additions to this genre in 2016 are ‘Ghost Girls’ by Cath Ferla and ‘Bad Blood’ by Gary Kemble.
The exciting news is Viskic's next Caleb novel should be on bookshelves in August / September 2017.
Resurrection Bay will be released in the UK and the US soon.
by Sarah Ridout, Le Chateau, Echo Publishing 2016