I don’t read crime fiction. It’s just not my thing. I watch plenty of Nordic noir on the telly and once in a blue moon, I’ll reach for Agatha Christie but contemporary crime fiction? Never. Not until I picked up Viskic’s Resurrection Bay. I’d been following Viskic on Twitter for a few weeks and her tweets about losing hotels and throwing her belongings down the loo had me in stitches. So when I spotted her book in a small independent bookshop I picked it up. I thought I may get a laugh out of it.
And I did. But I was also hooked on the story and don’t even get me started on the characters. I like an antihero, who doesn’t? I’ve watched every episode of Rake on ABC and Caleb Zelic is my kind of antihero. I don’t know what he looks like (did I just not notice) but I know he’s deaf. He didn’t grow up on the shiny side of town and he isn’t a sophisticated sleuth like Sherlock, but damn this man has got heart and a Macgyver-esque survival instinct.
His partner, Frankie, is a whole box of surprises. And his ex is an Indigenous artist. I imagine her as delicately boned or did Viskic slide that in without me noticing? There’s been a lot of noise lately about diversity in literature, or lack thereof, and if Viskic lived in Perth, I’d offer to buy her a drink for dreaming up these characters and for adding more diversity to Australian fiction. This isn’t hoity-toity diversity reserved only for those who read literary fiction, this is ridgey-didge diversity and I reckon a lot of Aussies would love this book.
Viskic’s writing is visually appealing. She did such a good job I could see every scene in my head. I reckon the ABC should start shooting the series now. I just gotta share my favourite scene which I read aloud to my hubby in bed just as he was falling asleep, I do that sometimes:
He lifted the hallway fire extinguisher from its bracket.
‘When in doubt, use brute force.’
The plywood might have been cheap, but the extinguisher barely dented it when he took a swing. He dropped it and staggered back, clutching his ribs. Jesus Christ.
‘Let me try, Rocky.’ She held the canister like a battering ram and slammed it against the lock. The wood splintered.
He scanned the surrounding doors, but no-one appeared to investigate.
‘There’s a lot of background noise,’ Frankie said. ‘Traffic, music.’
She set the extinguisher on the floor and kicked. The door flew open and smacked against the wall. A narrow hallway, rooms to either side. Carpet the exact shade of baby-shit. They ventured in. There was a kitchen to the left, a small living room to the right, one or two bedrooms at the rear.
‘Really shit security for a bad guy,’ Frankie said.
Viskic has made the job of being a reader easy. She’s given us red herrings, clever plot twists, and plenty of gore. She’s given us a perfectly thrilling read.
If all crime writers are as bloody brilliant as Viskic, I’ve found me a whole new genre to read. If they’re not, I guess I can always wait for Viskic’s next book and in the meantime, I can get my hands on the audio version and hear the story in a whole other way. I’m not even going to make a comment about the irony of an audio book about a deaf protagonist.
If you do read crime fiction, run out now and grab yourself a copy of Resurrection Bay and if you don’t, think about it, maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised.