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Published by Pushkin Vertigo, 19 March 2020. ISBN: 978-1-78227543-5
The quotation from Isaiah (woe to those who call evil
good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness . . . ) well describes this third novel in the series
featuring the deaf Melbourne PI Caleb Zelic. Despite his profound hearing
problems Caleb manages well as a private investigator of business frauds etc although
his marriage to sculptress Kat has been in abeyance after she suffered two
failed pregnancies. But he must keep the business going even though his former
partner and – he had thought - friend, Frankie Reynolds, having been revealed
in a previous novel as secretly working for crime, had betrayed him and then
Caleb is quite happy to meet a prospective client, a Martin Amon, at a
children’s farm. And there he finds Amon – shot dead. He is interviewed by two
police officers who reveal that Amon was, unknown to Caleb, a federal police
officer. They let him go but very soon he is waylaid by someone he remembers
all too well – he had encountered her when she had been searching for Frankie
but had never known her name. She had been violent then, claiming it was to
keep her cover; now she is equally menacing, threatening to have him arrested
for the murder of one of Frankie’s criminal associates. Unfortunately, she is
all too right on that score; that particular death was down to Caleb. He has to
find Frankie. Perhaps her sister Maggie will know where she is. But when Caleb
goes to Maggie’s house in a posh suburb of Melbourne, he finds that Maggie has
been attacked and is seriously wounded. Her 9-year old daughter Tilda, however,
is safe and Frankie appears and takes charge of the little girl. But then Tilda
is abducted and matters, serious enough before, are now on a different level.
And at the same time, Caleb’s elderly deaf friend Alberto who with his family
runs a restaurant which has become a gathering place for others who also have
hearing problems now seems uneasy about something. And problems, not to say
bodies, multiply while the narrative winds backwards and forwards before
reaching a surprising conclusion.
can be seen, there is a lot of backstory in Darkness
for Light which I have tried to indicate without giving away too much.
Luckily most of the backstory is revealed in the first few chapters of this
book, enough at least for the reader to appreciate what is going on. It is
written in the same staccato style as the author’s first novel, Resurrection Bay, also reviewed in Mystery People (click on the title) which also matches the speed
and violence of this book. The author, not being herself deaf, shows an
impressive knowledge of how the profoundly deaf cope with the particular
difficulties of their lives.
Reviewer: Radmila May
is an award-winning Australian crime writer. Her critically acclaimed debut
novel, Resurrection Bay, won the 2016
Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, as well as an unprecedented three
Davitt Awards: Best Adult Novel, Best Debut, and Readers' Choice. Resurrection Bay was iBooks Australia’s
Crime Novel of 2015. She has also won the Ned Kelly and Thunderbolt Awards for
her short form fiction. Emma studied Australian sign language (Auslan) in order
to write the character of Caleb Zelic in Resurrection Bay. The second novel in
the Caleb Zelic series, And Fire Came
Down, will be out September 2017.A
classically trained clarinettist, Emma’s musical career has ranged from
performing with José Carreras and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, to busking in the London
born in the U.S. but has lived in the U.K. since she was seven apart from seven
years in The Hague. She read law at university but did not go into practice.
Instead she worked for many years for a firm of law publishers and still does
occasional work for them including taking part in a substantial revision and
updating of her late husband’s legal practitioners’ work on Criminal Evidence
published late 2015. She has also contributed short stories with a distinctly
criminal flavour to two of the Oxford Stories anthologies published by Oxpens
Press – a third story is to be published shortly in another Oxford Stories
anthology – and is now concentrating on her own writing.