Resurrection Bay – Emma Viskic


Resurrection Bay is published on 24 August 2017 by Pushkin Vertigo and is available to buy here

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

The prizewinning debut thriller from the new name in crime


His childhood friend has been brutally murdered 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.


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


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…

Emma Viskic is an award-winning Australian crime writer. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, Resurrection Bay, won the 2016 Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut, as well as an unprecedented three Davitt Awards: Best Adult Novel, Best Debut, and Readers’ Choice. It was also iBooks Australia’s Crime Novel of the year in 2015. Emma studied Australian sign language (Auslan) in order to write the character of Caleb Zelic. She is currently writing the second in the Caleb Zelic series, And Fire Came Down.

My thoughts

From the moment I heard about Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic, I was highly intrigued. This is a gritty Australian crime thriller, featuring a profoundly deaf protagonist. See what I mean! I was hooked.

The story takes us into the world of Caleb Zelic. Caleb is the most fascinating character, I have encountered in some time. I was completely bewitched by him. He became deaf as a child. He is now in his thirties. He lip reads and uses a hearing aid. Mostly Caleb makes sense of the world and fits in. However at times of stress, his voice changes and he finds it hard to properly make out all of the words. We see him discover the dead body of his close friend at the start of the novel. Caleb is in shock. He manages to contact the police. In spite of this terrible event, he is able to communicate what has happened. Terrific stuff. The way it is written is inspiring. We do not feel pity for Caleb. It is a disability. We see what it is like to be him. To live in a world, where you cannot hear the person stood noisily behind you. To live in a world, where you cannot hear what is being said, unless the person is directly facing you. It puts a whole new perspective on communication. Luckily in the world of instant communication via email and text messaging, Caleb is like everybody else. He is also rather clever at observing the world and picking up on detail.

Together with Caleb, there is his partner at Trust Works. Her name is Frankie, a tough ex-copper in her fifties. She has her own set of problems. She is a former alcoholic. They work together in a security and investigation firm. The man who is discovered dead at the start of the novel is Gary Marsden, a police officer. He was working with them, in his free time. He was on a case. He leaves a clue. The man after him is called Scott. Gary made a couple of phone calls in his last hour to Resurrection Bay. The story follows Caleb and Frankie via Melbourne to small town Australia and Resurrection Bay. They are tracking a killer.

There is so much to love about Resurrection Bay. We get a sense of the rich Australian culture, of underlying racism and of attitudes to disabilities. There is death. There is violence. There are secrets and lies. There is love. Something for everybody. Central to this is Caleb, a man with a very unique perspective on the world. Recommended.




About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
This entry was posted in thriller and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Resurrection Bay – Emma Viskic

  1. Great review Christine 👍

  2. Such strong, writing isn’t it. Am so glad it is now being appreciated worldwide. In the sequel And Fire Came Down (just released in Australia), Emma Viskic has somehow dug even deeper…

  3. Great review Christine, and delighted at your enthusiasm for the book. Like you, I cannot wait for the next one!

Comments are closed.