By Emma Viskic
If Darkness For Light is your first introduction to the exciting life and exploits of Australian Private investigator Caleb Zelic, or if you have been following the award-winning series by Emma Viskic, the third instalment Darkness For Light will not disappoint. As a stand-alone novel, you will find that Viskic weaves snippets of Caleb’s past history into his current life so that the reader is not left wondering about the backstory.
We quickly come to know that Caleb Zelic has made some “bad decisions” in the past and, as the outcome of therapy sessions, he has resolved to “only make good decisions” This becomes the constant moral reference point throughout the story as Caleb is confronted by a series of love, friendship, loyalty, duty and guilt issues both in his personal life and when he enters a violent and devious criminal network.
Caleb has certain unique challenges when dealing with the violent criminals he encounters. Being deaf, Caleb has developed strong communication skills which require hearing aids, Auslan and reading of lips and body language to gain an accurate interpretation of the other’s words and meaning.
As you can imagine, this often presents challenges to Caleb when fighting for his life or trying to understand the messages the violent criminals are shouting from behind. Misreading lips or missing a few words causes Caleb some confusion but, with the skill of reading people’s body language and visual accuracy, he does somehow navigate his way through the underworld of thugs, betrayal and violence.
Caleb is fortunately not a superhero with unrealistic qualities. Instead, Viskic has adeptly portrayed Caleb as an endearing, yet flawed human being who makes mistakes and takes responsibility for them. He is a man we can admire for his ability to communicate successfully in a world outside the safe haven of his deaf community. Deafness does not define this man, it gives a different perspective on dealing with events and the people he meets.
There is a strong element of emotional confusion for Caleb when dealing with his closest female characters, his pregnant beautiful and independent Kat, his disgraced former partner Frankie and her kidnapped young niece. Once again Viskic has humanised the hero of the story so that he becomes endearing and soft hearted in a world of violence and intrigue.
Overall Darkness For Light is a very worthwhile read which not only offers a fast-paced crime thriller storyline but also provides an in-depth insight into the main characters, their personal challenges, emotional states and moral dilemmas. In addition, Viskic’s research and representation of the challenges of the deaf community is to be applauded.
If you are reading Darkness For Light as a stand alone book be assured that the satisfying ending is not a cliffhanger, but it does have subtle tones of an opening for another instalment. Lets hope Emma Viskic is currently writing a new Caleb Zelic thriller.
Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review this amazing crime thriller.