Award winning Australian crime author Emma Viskic brings back her protagonist Caleb Zelic for a third go round in Darkness for Light. When the book opens, Zelic has turned a corner. He has decided to stick to the straight and narrow, to move on from his previous bad decisions and disasters. But his meeting with a potential client ends with a body and Zelic being questioned by the Federal Police and before long Zelic is in the middle of trouble again.
Darkness for Light builds on the stories told in Resurrection Bay and And Fire Came Down. There is a very minor B-plot involving a friend of Zelic’s who owns a café and catering business but the rest follows closely on events in the previous two books. Zelic is being blackmailed by a possibly rogue Federal Police officer and is forced to reconnect which his corrupt ex-partner Frankie. Because there is nothing that drives a good thriller plot like a kidnapped child, much of the book is spent trying to track down Frankie’s niece Tilda, who may hold the key to the money laundering scheme that Frankie’s sister was involved in.
As with the previous books in this series, the driving force of Darkness for Light is the character of Zelic himself. He is, like all good fictional PIs, tough, compassionate and intuitive. He often gets beaten up (physically and emotionally) but he always drags himself back to his feet. While his relationships are often rocky, they are built on a solid foundation and he can rely on them in a pinch. Zelic is deaf – he wears hearing aids and does a good job of lip-reading. He does not let his deafness define him but it is essential to his character and the way in which he relates to those around him (and one of the plot twists).
Darkness for Light is a compulsive read, the clock is ticking from very early on and soon there are multiple deadlines pushing Zelic and the plot forward. In amongst this there are plenty of twists, reverses and reveals, many of which rely on the reader’s knowledge of the history between Zelic and Frankie. While Viskic does sketch this history out for newcomers, readers new to this series are advised to start from Ned Kelly and Davitt Award winner Resurrection Bay. For those who have already followed Zelic (and Viskic) this far, Darkness for Light is essential reading.