Darkness for Light: a propulsive third entry in the Caleb Zelic series and why aren’t you reading this right now?

What is this about?: This book is about Caleb and Frankie, and everything that lies between these two former partners. Theirs is the friendship Caleb can’t walk away from, but Frankie has other concerns.

What else is this about?: Frankie has been part of this series since book 1, but Darkness for Light maintains a tight focus on these two, letting us into their relationship and how they worked together. Theirs is a friendship of years and a betrayal so can they work together?

Blurb

Caleb Zelic can’t hear you. But he can see everything.
The latest pulsating thriller in the Caleb Zelic series

After a lifetime of bad decisions PI Caleb Zelic is finally making good ones. He’s in therapy, his business is recovering and his relationship with his estranged wife Kat is on the mend.

But soon Caleb is drawn into the tangled life of his troubled ex partner Frankie, which leads to a confrontation with the cops. And when Frankie’s niece is kidnapped, she and Caleb must work together to save the child’s life. But can Caleb trust her after her past betrayals?

Darkness for Light is relentless.

I don’t use that word lightly, because pacing has always been the thing that makes or breaks a book for me, and this one does not let up from the first page — and it is utterly, completely and immensely compelling as a result.

Caleb has kind of found a balance in his life when the book opens — his wife, Kat, is pregnant and they are both cautiously waiting to see if the pregnancy will come to term. Caleb is determined to make things work with Kat now and he’s doing a decent job of it.

But when he finds the body of a dead informant, and a federal cop comes looking with him with evidence (of sorts) that implicates him in a murder (the evidence isn’t wrong) he finds himself going to visit Maggie, Frankie’s sister and finding her unconscious, the victim of a vicious attack. And that’s when he finds Tilda, Frankie’s niece.

That brings Frankie back into Caleb’s orbit. And then Tilda gets kidnapped.

Complicated doesn’t even begun to cover their relationship

Frankie was an addict, and as a cop that saw her working for criminals to fund her addiction, and endangering Kat — but Frankie saved Kat and Caleb too, so that’s where the complicated comes in.

Caleb would never step away from finding Tilda, and works with Frankie to do so. I feel like in part, Caleb looked up to Frankie as a partner and a cop, and her betrayals devastated him. But he can’t quite let the memory of the Frankie he worked with go.

Frankie for her part is a no nonsense cop, but ruthless where Caleb isn’t. Without a doubt, she wants to save Tilda, but the feeling remains that she’s still working all angles to make sure she gets what she wants.

As they begin looking for Tilda, readers get to see how they work together, and get a taste of what they used to be. Frankie knows how much Kat’s miscarriages devastated Caleb, and what it means to them both to have a chance with this pregnancy.

And while all that is going on…

The action does not let up. There’s a lot of quite moments in here, but it never once lessens the sense that you are flying forward in this investigation and every time you turn the page, you can expect… something to happen. It’s glorious, and I didn’t even realise how close I was to the end. And by the end I was …. wait, it’s finished??

And I love it when a book leaves me reeling like that, leaves me breathless and surprised that I am at the end.

What else is happening in this book?

Kat is never far from Caleb’s thoughts, though the introduction of an ex leaves Caleb with some insecurities. Viskic’s prose is efficient and gets to the heart of these characters and the plot, which leaves readers with that breathless feeling at the end.

Caleb is also investigating who is vandalising one of his favourite cafes, and a place that gives everyone who is deaf a sense of community. Investigating Tilda’s kidnapping doesn’t take away from his concern for his friends.

The characterisation like the pacing is compelling, building on the people readers met in other books and moving them forward in tangible ways in this world. Too often, I find series like this can be comfortable where they are, focusing on mysteries and cases and no so much of the characters, until something big happens in their lives, I guess? But, this series thus far leaves me with a feeling that Caleb is moving ahead in his life — big steps and small. 

Viskic draws everything together together, the pacing (yes, there’s that word again) keeping the plot moving ahead in all the different plot threads.

Darkness for Light is out now, and it 100% should be on your TBR. 

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