Those Who Perish by Emma Viskic is the fourth book in the popular series featuring private detective Caleb Zelic. I’d missed the first, Resurrection Bay, so it took me a couple of books to warm to Caleb but I’ve certainly done so.
Viskic’s writing is again the stand-out for me. I mean, I really like Caleb but it’s her taut prose that I find riveting.
Caleb Zelic can't hear you. But he can see everything.
Caleb's addict brother, Anton, has been missing for months, still angry about Caleb's part in his downfall.
After almost giving up hope of finding him, Caleb receives an anonymous message alerting him to Ant's whereabouts and warning him that Ant is in danger. A man has been shot and Ant might be next.
Caleb reluctantly leaves his pregnant wife's side and tracks his brother to an isolated island where Ant has been seeking treatment. There, he finds a secretive community under threat from a sniper, and a cult-like doctor with a troubling background.
Caleb must hunt for the sniper to save Ant, but any misstep may ruin their faltering reconciliation, and end in death. When body parts begin to wash up on shore, it looks like the sniper is growing more desperate...
I have to confess the crime itself didn’t interest me a lot here. I suspect that comes down to personal taste, but I wasn’t really engaged by the shooting that resulted in both Caleb and Anton’s lives being at risk. Perhaps the lack of clarity around the motivation for the murder (until the very last minute) meant I wasn’t tempted to try to unravel the mystery myself. There was just something missing from the plot for me that meant I really didn’t buy into either the murder or the blackmailing of the footy club members. Indeed the resolution of the murder felt like a bit of an anticlimax and even though I’d read it in a sitting I couldn’t remember who was who.
Again however, Viskic offers some interesting insight into small communities as well as issues of race and those around the deaf community.
I was a bit sad at the direction Viskic took Caleb and Kat. Kat’s grown on me over the course of the last few books and I’ve come to quite like who she is. She’s sassy and smart. Brash and intuitive. I know Caleb screws up here but it could have been worse and – given what he was going through – I’m surprised he’s not cut more slack. Of course that’s a sure indication I did bond with Caleb and his own personal ‘journey’ here, if not with the cases he was working.
I hadn’t realised this was the final in the series until writing this but (before knowing that) had thought it seemed like it might be. There’s a sense of closure, and though everything isn’t tied in a bow for Caleb, he’s a different person to the character he started out as.
I’d love to read something else by Viskic. I commented in my review of And Fire Came Down that her writing is stunning. I mentioned there that she appears to leave out pronouns, objectives, subjects and so not only are her prose stylish but also succinct and swift… offering momentum (#orsomething) and it certainly kept me turning page after page until I was done.
Those Who Perish by Emma Viskic was published in Australia by Echo Publishing and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.