Book review: Darkness For Light by Emma Viskic

Monday, November 25, 2019 Permalink

I missed Resurrection Bay when it was released in 2015. Of course I’ve no excuse now (four years later) for not reading a copy of the much-lauded debut novel by Emma Viskic. And. I. Really. Must. Read. It.

I read her second And Fire Came Down, also featuring Caleb Zelic, but – though I loved Viskic’s writing – I didn’t get the hype over the main character (and therefore the series he was carrying).

Viskic’s new release Darkness for Light, the third in the series however is my favourite so far (noting of course I’ve not read the first!). I devoured this in a sitting and engaged with Caleb far more than I did in the previous book. I’m not entirely sure why that is… but here I really enjoyed the time I spent with him and now can’t wait for more.

Book review: Darkness For Light by Emma ViskicDarkness for Light
by Emma Viskic
Series: Caleb Zelic #3
Published by Echo Publishing
on 02/12/2019
Source: Echo Publishing
Genres: Crime Fiction, Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: (Caleb Zelic, #3)
Pages: 267

After a lifetime of bad decisions troubled PI Caleb Zelic is finally making good ones. He's in therapy, reconnecting with the Deaf community, and reconciling with his wife.

But he can’t escape his past.

A violent confrontation forces Caleb back into contact with his double-crossing partner, Frankie. When her niece is kidnapped, Frankie and Caleb must work together to save the child’s life. But their efforts will risk everything, including their own lives.

I often moan about crime fiction or thrillers involving multiple plots. Even more so if they merge in some weird way. It’s not really the case here; though Caleb’s focus is on finding the documents – to ensure he’s not prosecuted for murder – he also gets involved in a series of incidents involving a local business. One that only employs hearing impaired people. Alberto’s offers a sense of ‘home’ for Caleb so he’s keen to look into the efforts to sabotage the restaurant. The two plots work well and Viskic does a good job at communicating Caleb’s torn priorities.

Caleb’s ex (Kat) doesn’t feature much here, though he does bounce ideas off her and I like that he feels some sense of obligation to keep her in the loop about his case and his safety. She of course knows Frankie, Caleb’s former partner who reappears here when her sister is attacked.

It’s soon obvious that Frankie’s sister Maggie was involved in some dodgy dealings and has evidence that a lot of people would kill to have. Caleb’s tempted to walk away from the case a number of times. Initially he worries about evidence a federal police officer tells him they have on him for murder; and later it’s because Maggie’s daughter is at risk and he’s kinda bonded with nine year old Tilda.

There are some interesting twists here. I commented in my review of And Fire Came Down that by not reading its predecessor (Resurrection Bay) I was missing some context. It’s a little the same here, as many of the same characters feature, and some of the secrets and events referred to must have occurred in Viskic’s first book.

That being said, I wasn’t really lost, but probably less shocked by some of the events. There’s treachery everywhere here and Caleb struggles to know who to trust. And of coure he’s prone to blame himself for so much.

The second novel touched more on Caleb’s relationship with his father and his hearing loss but it’s mentioned here briefly. The guilt and fear of ‘not being enough’ means Caleb’s still wondering what he could have prevented, but he’s getting better at dealing with that and I like the introduction of his therapist as a foil to Caleb’s guilt.

I note I raved about Viskic’s writing in And Fire Came Down. It’s again brilliant but I was more drawn to the characters and to Caleb in particular. I am relieved I finally became smitten with the character so many enjoyed in Resurrection Bay as it wasn’t the case in the second book. I was nervous his hearing impairment somehow impacted on my engagement and worried I was #ableist in some way I’d not realised.

I also engaged more with Caleb’s copy ‘buddy’ Tedesco here and really liked that Viskic has made him quite complex. He seems to have honour and a commitment to justice (over bureaucracy) though draws the line firmly here when it comes to crimes and illegal activity. Caleb’s pretty morally sound, but Tedesco is even more so, which is nice for a change. (Earnest and honest cops…. who’d a thunk it?!)

So… I really enjoyed this new release and am determined now to go back and read Resurrection Bay. Obviously I know ‘some’ of what happened there, but I’m liking Caleb et al so much I’m keen for a little more backstory!

Darkness For Light by Emma Viskic will be published in Australia by Echo Publishing and available from 2 December 2019.  RRP $29.99

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.


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