Those Who Perish

Caleb Zelic Series: Volume Four

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Pub Date 2 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 2 Jun 2022
Pushkin Press, Pushkin Vertigo

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The thrilling finale of the groundbreaking Caleb Zelic series, perfect for fans of Jane Harper, from the award-winning author of Resurrection Bay

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...
The thrilling finale of the groundbreaking Caleb Zelic series, perfect for fans of Jane Harper, from the award-winning author of Resurrection Bay

Caleb Zelic can't hear you. But he can see everything.


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ISBN 9781782276326
PRICE US$14.95 (USD)

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Those Who Perish is the fourth Caleb Zelic thriller by award-winning Australian author, Emma Viskic. A mysterious text about his brother Anton sees deaf PI Caleb Zelic rushing to Resurrection Bay, and into the range of a sniper. Ant flees unharmed, but another man dies.

Before he has a chance to track his brother down, one of his wife, Kat’s mob ropes him in to investigate the theft of the local football team’s mascot. Larger-than-life Norman Numbat has subsequently been used on social media to troll the members of the Mighty Fighting Numbats football club: suggestive photos with scandalous implications are affecting the Club’s fundraising.

When he does track Ant down, it’s on Muttonbird Island, a small community that has an entrenched distrust of incomers. Slaughtered animals and threatening notes have been left on doorsteps, and Ant’s association with the shooting victim makes him a potential target. If Caleb is to keep Ant safe, he feels he needs to find the shooter.

One big advantage to being in the Bay is being close to Kat, now only weeks from her due date, although that does also mean running the gauntlet of his sisters-in-law and verbal encounters with Kat’s mother which don’t do a lot for his self-esteem: “You’re always welcome, Caleb. Particularly when you don’t track mud and blood through the house.” Investigation is all very well, but keeping danger away from Kat is a priority…

Caleb does seem to have a bit of a scattergun approach to obtaining information, and tends to jump to conclusions, managing to get the wrong ends of several sticks, and deducing conspiracy theories that feature blackmailers, the police and white supremacist groups.

While his emotional intelligence seems to be improving, he is still frequently clueless with relationships, poorly judging just whom he should trust, and managing to queer his pitch with both Ant and Kat (again!). By the final dramatic climax, Caleb has been framed for possession of a firearm, beaten, stabbed, shot at, has almost drowned and barely survived two explosions.

As always, the dialogue between the main protagonists is often clever and funny, the banter between the brothers being especially entertaining, and a particular exchange with his mother-in-law, utterly hilarious. Viskic easily conveys the feel of the coastal Victorian town and an island populated by quirky characters, some reclusive, possibly using false names, possibly a war criminal in hiding: a place where many know what dark deeds are being done but are afraid to tell.

Viskic’s extensive research into the deaf community is apparent on every page, and Caleb’s challenges lip-reading those with poor enunciation, while often amusing, might cause the reader to consider just how easily they themselves might be (mis)understood by the hearing-impaired.

Caleb Zelic’s fourth outing features a fast-paced plot with twists and turns that will keep even the most astute the reader guessing until the final pages. More of this unusual protagonist is most definitely welcome!
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Pushkin Press

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Readers may be left with mixed feelings by Melbourne author Emma Viskic’s THOSE WHO PERISH. Not due to the quality of the storytelling – it’s excellent, across the board – but due to news this brings to a close the clarinettist turned crime writer’s quartet starring deaf private eye Caleb Zelic. While many will be baying for an encore, it provides a fitting finale (for now?) to a superb series that’s plunged readers into a diverse array of Australian communities. Caleb has grown as a man since we first met him in the award-hoarding Resurrection Bay, though the stubborn and snarky investigator is still a work-in-progress, like us all. He’s now back with his wife Kat, an Aboriginal artist, and is a Dad-to-be. But when an anonymous text alerts Caleb to the whereabouts of his missing drug addict brother Ant, shots are fired, and a body found, Caleb is once again putting himself in danger. And risking his most precious relationships. A sniper, a rehab community on an isolated island, and plenty of warnings. Viskic delivers a taut tale that doesn’t scrimp on character and place. Twisty storytelling pulsing with humanity; a novel carried on prose that sings.

<< This review first published in the New Zealand Listener magazine, April 2022>>

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Those Who Perish is the fourth and unfortunately seeming last book in the Caleb Zelic series. Emma Viskic has created a well rounded cast of characters with the deaf private detective Caleb Zelic at the head.
Caleb is involved in a couple of cases at the same time, whilst also trying to spend time with his pregnant wife who is about to deliver.
The first case involves the shooting of a man by a sniper who has also targeted Calebs estranged brother Anton who is undertaking drug rehabilitation in the same clinic on nearby Mutton bird island that the murdered person was.
The second case is the theft of the mascot uniform from the local football club and its use to belittle prominent members of the club, during a time when the club is desperately seeking funds to stay afloat.
The book is extremely well written and you can feel the anguish Caleb goes through trying to lip read as he talks with people involved with the cases.
If this is the last Caleb Zelic novel it is a great shame but the story arc ends on a high.

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The thrilling finale of the groundbreaking Caleb Zelic series, I’d been waiting for this one! The story is so unpredictable and tense full of suspense and mystery, I loved it.
I found myself second guessing all the way through. Extraordinary. Outstanding… absolutely amazing… just wow!… this book is exquisite.

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Another stellar crime novel by Emma Viskic, who has outdone herself once again. Each book in this series is as good as, if not better than, the last. I'll read anything by Emma Viskic, she's one of the very best!

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Pushkin Press, the forth novel to feature fraud investigator Caleb Zelic, set in the fictional rural town of Resurrection Bay, Victoria.

Caleb rushes from Melbourne to Resurrection Bay when he receives an anonymous text telling him his brother, Ant, is in trouble. He finds Ant, a drug addict, hiding from a sniper and undergoing rehabilitation on a nearby island. Determined to protect Ant he launches an investigation and unwittingly puts his pregnant wife, Kat, and many of the islanders in danger.

I enjoyed Those Who Perish, which has an interesting plot and some relatable characters. It is told entirely from Caleb’s point of view and that offers both good and not so good points. Caleb is deaf and relies on lip reading to hold conversations, as his hearing aids don’t seem to offer enough definition for the human voice. This is just one interesting fact in an obviously well researched novel. I always like a novel that widens my world view and offers me new knowledge and this one fits the bill nicely.

The plot is well conceived, offering a real mystery about why a sniper would be at work in a small rural area. Caleb takes a less than rigid approach to his investigating, more like pick a suspect, mostly based on personal animus, and see if anything sticks. It can be annoying but it muddies the waters for the reader and keeps the motive and perpetrator well hidden. At the same time it raises the tension and excitement as Caleb and Ant move from one dangerous situation to the next, leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake. I was disappointed by the way the solution is exposed. It is not neatly tied up in a debrief, but more in a stream of consciousness from Caleb as he makes his discoveries in real time. This disappointment says more about me than the writing as I felt it got lost in other things and lacked the impact it should have had, given what it took to get there.

The novel has tension, excitement, a high body count and strong emotions but it also has humour. This is evident in Caleb and Ant’s dialogue but also in the subplot, where someone is sending rude, crudely photoshopped pictures of the local footie team’s leading lights in compromising positions. Well, it made me laugh. The sadness comes from Caleb being unable to judge how to handle his marriage to the very pregnant Kat. It is one misstep after another and the sad thing is that it’s done from love, not malice.

Those Who Perish is a good read that I can recommend.

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3.5 stars rounded up to 4. I haven't read the first three books in this series but Viskic provides enough background that I don't think it was necessary. I appreciate her handling of the world of those who can't hear as well as of the cultural differences between the worlds of Caleb and Kat. The writing keeps the plot moving along although there were times at which I was tempted to walk away from the seemingly senseless killings and chases. But I'm glad I hung in until the end.

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This is the fourth and last book in Emma Viskic's gritty Aussie crime series set in Victoria featuring the deaf PI Caleb Zelic. Caleb's estranged drug addict brother, Anton, has been missing for some time, still upset about Caleb's part in his downfall. After almost giving up hope of finding him, Caleb receives an anonymous text message alerting him to Ant's whereabouts and warning him that Ant is in danger. This has Caleb hotfooting it to Resurrection Bay, only to find himself and Anton underfire from a sniper. The body of a man who has has been shot is discovered, the murder victim turns out to be Peter Taylor, a twitcher who had checked himself into the addiction clinic run by Dr Ian Locke on Muttonbird Island with its isolated small community suspicious of outsiders.

Worried about Anton's safety, Caleb takes the ferry to the island where Ant is in rehab, he is in good spirits, determined to kick his addiction, spurred on by getting together once again with his girlfriend, Etty. It soon becomes clear that the sniper is on the island, with the clinic receiving threats in the form of dead foxes and notes. There is nothing Caleb will not do to protect Anton as he seeks redemption from a past from his judgementalism and where he had not been there for him. Their relationship is an uneasy and prickly affair at times as the two try to locate an ever desperate sniper, with a local community reluctant to help amidst a background of a rising body count. In addition, Caleb has been hired by Mick over the stolen local footy mascot, Norman Numbat, used to troll with photoshopped compromising photos on social media, threatening the existence of the much loved club.

Emotionally Caleb is all over the place, as well as trying to rebuild a relationship with Anton, he is feeling insecure when it comes to his aboriginal artist wife, the heavily pregnant Kat. With so much to lose, he is doing his best to ensure that she is not once again endangered by his work, but some of his actions do not help his cause. Furthermore, he is apprehensive about becoming a father and his ability to fulfil the role, given his past. This was a dark and thrilling crime read, with a offbeat and flawed deaf PI, and the unique problems and issues that arise from this. This series will appeal to those readers who love their Aussie crime, and perhaps those intrigued to see how a deaf PI might operate. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

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4 +

Australian authors are very good at quirky characters and even quirkier plots. This is the fourth and final book in Emma Viskic’s amazing Caleb Zelic series. Caleb is a deaf PI who reads lips very well although there are occasional, and often amusing, mistakes made.

Caleb is summoned back to his hometown of Resurrection Bay by a cryptic message about his brother, Ant (Anton). They have a rocky relationship and Ant is an on again off again drug addict. When Caleb arrrives at the rendezvous point there is no sign of Ant but another man is shot dead. Caleb tracks his brother down at a rehabilitation clinic on a nearby island. He seems to be doing well but the clinic, in fact everyone on the island is very guarded. Is there something fishy going on here? The doctor in charge seems to have a secret past.

Someone is sending warnings in the form of dead foxes, cryptic warning notes and bullet holes in letterboxes. A body part is found on a beach Caleb is shot at. He and Ant join forces to work out what is going on before more people are killed - unsuccessfully I might add as more people are killed. Caleb has some theories but one by one they crash and burn! He is also tasked by the local football club to track down the stolen mascot Norman Numbat who has been photographed with various peoples heads photoshopped on and in various crude poses.

As usual, Caleb has the wrong end of the stick in this investigation and he must move his pregnant Koori (Indigenous) wife, Kat, to a safer location as he doesn’t want to bring trouble to her door again.

The characters are very quirky and absolutely charming. Kat’s mother, a doctor, is hilariously deadpan and Caleb and Ant come across as loveable rogues. The plot of this one is quite complex and you do not see the resolution until the very end. Now if Caleb can just stay alive long enough he may solve this one yet! I thoroughly enjoyed this tense thriller with much humour laced throughout and I cannot wait to see what the author comes up with next, although it will be a shame to say goodbye to Caleb. Many thanks to Netgalley and Pushkin Press for the much appreciated arc which I reviewed voluntarily and honestly.

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When Caleb Zelic received an anonymous message saying his brother Anton was in danger, Caleb dropped everything and headed from Melbourne to Resurrection Bay. When he found Ant, hiding from a sniper, he was thankfully safe, but angry and aggressive. When he headed back to the rehabilitation clinic on Muttonbird Island, Caleb let him go and headed to see his pregnant wife, Kat. But he had to leave her again and head to the island. He had to see Ant and work out their relationship as he hadn’t seen or been able to find Ant in months. The fragile link between the two brothers needed to be mended.

But Caleb’s suspicions escalated on the island – there was a small community of folk who were close mouthed and wouldn’t speak to him, including the shop owner and many others. The doctor running the clinic, who Ant thought a lot of, rose the hackles on Caleb’s neck and the locals who wouldn’t look him in the eye – what was happening? What was he up against? It was hard enough with his being deaf, but with all that was going on, he knew the danger was high…

Those Who Perish is the 4th and final episode in the Caleb Zelic series by Aussie author Emma Viskic and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Caleb had a rough trot this episode, making mistakes, finding danger every way he turned. But it was good to see him and Ant trying to reconcile. I’m looking forward to seeing what Ms Viskic has up her sleeve for us next. Highly recommended.

With thanks to Echo Publishing and Pushkin Press for my ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.

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In this fourth, and probably last, outing for Emma Viskic’s deaf investigator Caleb Zelic has rushed from Melbourne to his home town of Resurrection Bay after receiving a message from an unknown source that his brother Ant is in danger. When he finds Ant, he is hiding in the shrubbery on the foreshore trying to avoid being killed by a sniper. Caleb manages to distract the sniper long enough for Ant to escape, but when a body turns up in the bay, Caleb knows he’ll have to go out to the island where Ant is living to find out what sort of trouble he’s in this time.

Caleb is relieved to find Ant in a rehab facility on the island determined to finally kick his drug addiction and get back with his girlfriend. However, it’s soon apparent there is something wrong on the island; something that’s making people feel afraid to talk. Warning notes and dead foxes left for people, bullet holes made in letterboxes and another body all help to ramp up the fear and make the locals close ramps.

The plot turns out to be complex and somewhat obscure and it takes Caleb (and the reader!) quite a few wrong turns before he is able to get a handle on what has been going on and why Ant might be in danger. Caleb’s wife Kat is now within weeks of having their baby and, although she has moved back home to Resurrection Bay to be with her extended family and highly competent doctor mother, Caleb is concerned about spending so much time on the island. Especially since there is almost no mobile phone reception and the ferry service to the island is limited.

Viskic’s unique characters are what make this series so enjoyable. Caleb is a unique and interesting protagonist who has allowed readers some insight into the deaf world. Although he copes well with his acquired deafness through lip reading and signing, he is still flawed and vulnerable in other ways that affect his relationships. Artist Kate, an indigenous woman is also a terrific character, especially with her large family of siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews and her mother who knows exactly how to keep Caleb in his place. A secondary plot involving the theft of the suit of the footy club’s mascot, Norman the Numbat didn’t quite get off the ground for me but provided some moments of light relief from the more deadly main plot. Let’s hope Caleb goes on to lead a quieter life from now on, especially now he is a father.

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“[She] might not be top of his suspect list but she was on it, and it was much easier to observe someone when they didn’t know he could lip-read. Easier too, not to have to deal with all the You Poor Thinging.”

Caleb Zelic can speak well, but he’s deaf and prefers not to advertise it. Partly pride (hides his hearing aids under his hair – if he bothers to wear them), and partly for reasons to do with his investigations. People don’t realise he can eavesdrop across a room, and it helps if potential enemies don’t know he won’t hear them sneaking up from behind.

He responds to an anonymous text message: “—Anton in danger. Res bay foreshore 6 am

Anton is his often-estranged brother, a drug addict who reforms from time to time and then relapses. They share a low opinion of their late father and have a close connection, but it has been strained past breaking point more than once when Caleb has given up on him.

Caleb hasn’t known where Ant is and has no idea what the message means, but he races to the Resurrection Bay Foreshore to find out what’s there. A body, a sniper, Ant on the run.

How will he explain to his heavily pregnant wife, Kat, that he needs to put himself in danger – again? She has enormous support from her mother, Maria, the Bay’s first Aboriginal doctor and the owner of the local clinic. Plus, there are sisters, aunties, and her whole mob, all waiting for this baby.

He’s anxious about the next ultrasound, since they’ve lost previous pregnancies, and he wants Kat to stay calm and safe and not worry. He’s always fearful he’ll lose her to an old boyfriend, Jarrah, who is still in the picture and captain of the local footy team whose finances Caleb has been investigating.

“Good-looking, talented, pillar of the Koori community – and definitely still yearning for Kat. Bastard didn’t even have the decency to be unlikeable.”

When Kat does enlist Jarrah’s help with something, Caleb is horrified.

“She touched his arm. ‘Don’t worry, he’s safe. He’s mob.’ A lot of history in that short phrase: more than eighty thousand years of culture, two and a half centuries of fighting dispossession. But she was wrong about her actions being safe.”

Nobody is safe in this story. Caleb ends up on a sparsely populated island to investigate the private rehab clinic under the pretext of visiting Ant, who is being treated there.

The behaviour and suspiciousness of the locals is typical of people in a small community or country town. On the one hand, they may grudgingly acknowledge your existence.

“[He] hoisted the box easily, gave Caleb the country handshake: slight lift of the chin. Very slight. Caleb replied in kind.”

On the other, they may pretend you aren’t there.

“He turned for his car, leapt back as a white sedan zipped past, . . . A faint note joined the tinnitus: car horn blaring. Coughing, heart and dust in his mouth. People were staring at him from the shop and jetty. A curtain twitched in a house opposite. Like he was five again, learning the dangers of silent traffic. So much for being discreet.”

The storytelling style varies from smooth prose to short, punchy phrases, which is how I see Caleb’s mind working. He often hears conversations that way – just a few words here and there that he has to piece together, hoping to make sense of them. You can almost feel the fear yourself.

“Go now. Sniper might come back. Turning. One step then the other, down the driveway, into the car. Few tries to get the keys in, engine started. Slow reverse, driving away. The shakes hit him a few kays down the road. Clammy-skinned nausea.”

I do not like reading that this is the last of the Caleb Zelic series, but I will admit that Viskic has finished it off well, although not how most readers would have expected. I’m telling myself that she’s left it open-ended enough that maybe . . .

Incidentally, this would work fine as a stand-alone book. You don’t need to remember or know anything from the previous books – but read them, they’re good!

Thanks to NetGalley and Pushkin Press for the copy for review from which I’ve quoted.

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This the last book in the Caleb Zelic series and it finishes in a good place with all the ends tied up neatly.

This final story is a gripping one with Caleb and his brother Anton in a very dangerous situation with a sniper, no less, coming after them. Viskic writes in short disjointed sentences which certainly made me feel tense but not always in a good way. Sometimes I just felt irritated and wished she could have used the technique a little more sparingly.

I have always felt from the beginning that being a P.I. may not be the best job for someone as deaf as Caleb is, especially since he cannot hear the bad guy coming. The author makes a very thorough job of describing how someone with deafness feels about it and how they cope in everyday life.

Those Who Perish is an effective conclusion to Caleb's story and I am glad I read it.

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Another nail-biting read in what has been a reliably good Aussie crime series. I sincerely hope this is not really the end, although if it is, I have to hand it to Emma Viskic for finding a good place to leave the story.

Just a few months after the events of Darkness for Light, Caleb Zelic, deaf PI, has been summoned back to Resurrection Bay in the middle of the night by an anonymous text message. Apparently his brother Ant has resurfaced, and may be in trouble. Arriving in the coastal town as dawn is about to break, Caleb does indeed find Ant in more than a spot of bother - under sniper fire. So begins Caleb's latest heart-pounding investigation, where protecting his loved ones is just a difficult as uncovering the truth. As we've come to expect, Caleb's stubbornness and fire is balanced by Kat's calm, but this time the stakes are higher than ever for this couple, with the birth of their baby imminent.

Although I've enjoyed all books in this series, this one may be my favourite yet. It incorporates all the things we've come to love about Caleb's universe; a tight plot, relentless pace, character growth, irreverence and what seems to be a realistic insight to deafness. Above all, the thing I enjoyed the most this time was having Ant feature prominently in the story. The relationship between the brothers is completely relatable.

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