cover image And Fire Came Down

And Fire Came Down

Emma Viskic. Pushkin Vertigo, $14.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-78227-455-1

Ned Kelly Award–winner Viskic combines nuanced characters and thoughtful plotting in her impressive sequel to Resurrection Bay, which introduced hearing-impaired Australian PI Caleb Zelic. In the wake of the previous book’s murderous events, the investigator has been reduced to doing small-time jobs out of an office in his Melbourne home. One day, a stranger stops Caleb near his apartment and shows him a note written in lipstick with his name and address. He follows the man to a dim alleyway, where a woman emerges from the shadows and signs the word help. Shortly thereafter, a muscle-bound thug grabs the woman, who escapes with Caleb’s help only to stumble backward into the street, where she’s fatally struck by a van. Determined to find out what led to the tragedy, Caleb doggedly follows thin leads back to his hometown of Resurrection Bay, where he’s attacked in his brother Ant’s home by a man and woman who warn him not to go to the police. Caleb, whose life is described by Ant as “a wasteland of shattered people,” is a brilliantly realized flawed lead. Fans of Michael Koryta’s broken protagonists will be well satisfied. (Oct.)