BOOK CLUB: Resurrection Bay

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“Resurrection Bay” by Emma Viskic is an outstanding Australian crime novel with a distinctive hero.
Caleb Zelic is an investigator, doing a lot of insurance work. He asks his childhood friend Gary, now a Melbourne police officer, to help with a big job. As a direct result, Gary is brutally murdered. Caleb vows to find the killer.

He has a couple of clues, one being the name Gary included in his last desperate text to Caleb. But the name means nothing, so Caleb begins by backtracking over Gary’s investigation.

As he does so, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding secrets. He’s drawn back to their hometown, Resurrection Bay, and finds that the secrets aren’t confined to Melbourne.


As the violence escalates, so does Caleb’s urgency to identify Gary’s killers, and so does the shock factor of the secrets he uncovers.

This novel inclines towards the hardboiled style of writers like Peter Corris and Lawrence Block. Our hero is tough, but not invincible; the bad guys are violent, in a personal fists-and-knives way; it’s hard to know who to trust. The writing style is easy to read, but there’s a lot of meat in the content. There are enough clues that you could work the plot out, but they’re subtle enough to keep most readers guessing to the end.

I read “Resurrection Bay” on its’ first publication in 2015, and it’s now been re-issued at a great price. It stands up well to re-reading; although I of course knew the “who’s done what to who” answers, there was plenty to enjoy in re-visiting the characters.

And the characters are one of the things that makes this novel stand out. Caleb Zelic is deaf, having lost his hearing to illness at five years old.

Viskic has done an outstanding job of capturing the day to day experiences of being deaf. Deaf people are individuals, with different life experiences, degrees of deafness, and communication choices. However, there’s a bedrock of universality too, and that’s what Viskic depicts so well. Worrying about water getting into your hearing aid.

People accidentally sneaking up on you because you just don’t hear them. Frustration from people who don’t like repeating themselves. Frustration at yourself when you know you haven’t fully understood something. People who have met one deaf person and think they now understand the capabilities and limitations of all deaf people… so many small experiences which happen every day, and which shape how a deaf person interacts with the world.

Viskic shows an excellent understanding of these things, and of how they affect everything from ordering a coffee to solving a murder. Caleb is vivid and real, and his experiences ring true. His additional challenges add a different dimension to the task of solving a murder.

Other characters are equally strong, particularly Caleb’s business partner Frankie. An ex-cop, she’s an excellent investigator herself. She’s developed an understanding of some of his limitations, and generally accommodates them.

On the other hand, Caleb’s ex-wife Kat – also a strong and vivid character – expresses some of the frustrations often felt by those who care about a deaf person. She illustrates another dimension to Caleb’s character as well as rounding out our understanding of his life.

As a crime novel, it’s outstanding. There’s a challenging but credible plot that’s exposed in a well-paced series of events. It is further elevated by an unusual but vivid central character, and the author’s detailed understanding of some of his particular challenges.

I really enjoyed reading this and recommend it to all crime readers.

ISBN: 978-1-76068-722-9
Copy courtesy of Echo Publishing (2015, 2022)

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

7 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Resurrection Bay

  1. All I can say is WOW! This book was fantastic! I wasn’t how having the main character being deaf would work but I found it fascinating! The story line was intriguing without being predictable. It was fast moving and easy to follow. I really enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the next one in the series.

  2. Oh my God!!!!! What an amazing book. Very fast paced and kept me guessing the whole way. Thank you Beauty and Lace for giving me the opportunity to read this brilliant book. I will definitely be reading the other books in this series.

  3. Whoa, now if you love crime thriller books then this book will certainly hold your attention from page one to the last. I just wanted to find out who were the baddies and who did what. I did have my suspicions but then again, you have to keep reading to find out. It really is a riveting read and there are some gruesome parts in the book. I find that when reading any book that I actually visualise all the scenes which makes it a huge thriller for me.

    The character of Caleb Zelic is deaf and he is an investigator who does Insurance work with his female partner called Frankie who is an ex cop. They work well together and bounce off each other very well in the story.

    Caleb gets a text from a childhood friend named Gary from Resurrection Bay where they grew up and all he mentions is the name Scott. Gary unfortunately is found murdered by Caleb and he needs to investigate how his friend died and who is this Scott person.

    There are certainly some interesting twists and turns in this storyline where I think I am on the right track and then swoosh, it turns around on me. It did keep me on my toes when it came to thinking who did it?

    I absolutely loved the character of Caleb and you could really feel his frustration of when people would speak to him with their head turned as Caleb needed to read lips to fully understand what you were saying.

    There are humorous parts in the story with Caleb like when he loses his phone, I kind of related to him there.

    Caleb’s ex wife kats is also a memorable character that you warm to.

    The cover is definitely like what I would visualise for the place called Resurrection Bay.

    This thriller crime novel is totally captivating for all lovers of crime reading. You will be on tenterhooks right through the pages and it really is a page turner in every way.

    Thanks again Beauty & Lace you have introduced me to another interesting and likeable Aussie author and thank you to echopublishing for sending me the book and of course to Emma Viskic for creating the character of Caleb Zelic and I look forward to reading more from you. I see you have won many awards for this book so many congratulations to you.

  4. Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic was a book that I read really quickly but left me with mixed feelings. I liked it but found a few things to be a bit vague, especially the original crime that they were all investigating. The character of Caleb Zelic reminded me a bit of Michael Robotham’s Joseph O’Loughlin. This was a fast paced thriller with interesting characters and I will be reading more in the series.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Echo Publishing for my introduction to another great Australian Author.

  5. This is not my preferred genre so I approached with trepidation and am so pleased I did.
    Caleb is a deaf investigator whose friend has been killed in an awful way. I love the way the book is written and that the reader’s intelligence is respected by not repeating things over and over. The language is great, the characters are very well written, the story is gripping and flows easily. The violence is graphic but it is necessary for the story and not there just for the sake of violence.
    A fabulous read with humour, family, love, betrayal. secrets…
    I’ll be reading more of this series.

  6. I love a good Aussie crime novel, and Emma Viksic’s Those Who Perish has definitely nailed it. A bit out of the box with a deaf investigator central character and unique writing style, but the gritty fast paced crime action, evocative Australian settings and gripping storyline were all strong. A fabulous read on its own, I’ll be tracking down the earlier books in the series for more quality home grown rural crime noir.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Echo Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Those Who Perish.

  7. My copy of this went on a little round about trip in the mail to get to me…but I’m so glad it did… I hadn’t read anything by this author before and I’m so glad I did. I was glad to find this was the first novel in the Caleb zelic series so I hadn’t missed anything. This was a really well written crime novel ( one of my favourite genres) I loved the complicated relationships Caleb had with other characters……the Australian setting, the trepidation in how this story was going to play out…I can’t wait to read the next one…I really want to know more about Caleb’s and Kats relationship…I’m 100% team Caleb and kat and I hope this continues to be explored in the next book

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