MINM Review: Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic

Confident and razor-sharp in its authenticity, Resurrection Bay is an extremely impressive debut that has won numerous awards. Talented Australian author Emma Viskic has crafted a pacy procedural that demands for readers to take notice. What sets this contemporary private eye novel uniquely apart is the portrayal of its central character, who, at around the age of five, and while only in primary school, lost his hearing after a bout of meningitis. Caleb Zelic, the chief investigator of the book, is deaf. Imagine, if you will, only being able to guess if someone is coming up behind you in the dark by sensing a change in the air, or by feeling vibrations in the floor. Imagine not knowing whether or not your adrenaline-fueled breathing is loud enough to reveal your hiding place. These are just two of the scenarios that create pulse-pounding tension within the novel.

There is a wonderful ebb and flow of thrilling suspense, as well as quieter exploration of human emotions and motivations. The reader glimpses three cultures in Resurrection Bay: that of its Caucasian , (probably) second generation Australian protagonist, that of the hearing impaired and deaf of Australia, and that of artist Kathryn ("Kat"), from whom Caleb has been divorced for eighteen months, whose family heritage is Koori (the indigenous peoples of New South Wales and Victoria). While Resurrection Bay is "hard-boiled with heart", the relationship between Caleb and the ex-wife that he still cherishes is especially beautifully rendered. 

Resurrection Bay is a book with characters so compelling and complex, one will surely linger over the final pages. The next Caleb Zelic installment, releasing in the US October 2, 2018, is already marked on my calendar, and cannot be published quickly enough!

Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic book cover image.jpg

Publisher's Blurb:

The acclaimed debut thriller from Australia's most exciting new crimewriting talent.

Caleb Zelic's 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.

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...?

Best for Crime Fiction Readers:

  • Who enjoy reading police procedurals.
  • Who enjoy reading hard-boiled, private detective fiction.
  • Who appreciate crime fiction that provides a window to another culture. In this case, you could say, more than one culture.
  • Who don't mind, or enjoy, crime novels with a touch of romance and/or sexual tension between characters.
  • Who enjoy listening to audio books. I went back and forth between the print, and audio versions of Resurrection Bay. The audio book narration by Australian Lewis Fitzgerald is excellent.

Violence: Moderate

Profanity: Moderate

Sexual Content: Mild-to-Moderate

Explicit Language: Moderate

Animal Cruelty: Mild

Thrilling Action: Moderate

Red Herrings: Moderate

Twists and Turns: Moderate

Suspense: Moderate

Plot Development: Moderate-to-High

Character Development: Moderate-to-High

Pages: 288 (kindle)

Hours: 7 hrs, 9 mins (Audio Book)

MINM Overall Rating: 5/5 Stars

I am probably just as enthusiastic about this Australian author as I was about Jane Harper when I read her debut, The Dry. Have you read the work of either of these crime novelists? What other Australian crime writers do you recommend?

Mystery in Minutes would love to hear from you in the comments below!