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Those Who Perish

Reviewed by John Newton

It is inevitable, I suppose, that a thriller which features an Australian who is deaf, is bound to attract the attention of any deaf person and I am no exception. I lived and travelled in Australia for a year or more and learned to understand its huge attraction as a country. If I had visited a few decades earlier, I might have stayed.

This book is set in the remote southwest of Australia and has interesting connections with Aboriginal culture and a lot of Aussie slang. It’s quite a long way from Miss Marple or Sherlock Holmes.

I am not a fan of thrillers generally, but I persisted with this one because I firmly believe that the way to understand people in other places and times is to read the fiction produced about them. (It’s resoundingly obvious to remark that deafness is not a popular subject in fiction.)

Caleb Zelec, the hero of this tale is a private investigator, previously a cop, who is  profoundly deaf and survives on a mixture of lip reading, sign language (Auslan in this context) and his hearing aids. Can you accept that, on occasions he talks to his car passenger using Auslan while driving at speed?!

He is an outsider, cut off from most of his friends and relatives. The story starts here when he finds himself summoned to protect his estranged brother from a mysterious threat.

The writing style is quite a long way from Arthur Conan Doyle, terse, almost like shorthand notes, which reflects the fast moving plot. It’s not always easy for the casual reader to follow the action and I suspect that this is because it’s part of a series. The reader is expected to be familiar with the characters. It follows that a newcomer to the series might be better to start with Resurrection Bay.

Whichever you choose I think you will be entertained and maybe even learn something about the consequences of deafness.

Disclaimer: Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner and do not represent those of Hearing Link Services or Hearing Dogs for Deaf People unless explicitly stated.

John Newton

John NewtonJohn Newton was forced to take early retirement in his early fifties because of increasingly serious hearing loss. He spent ten years wandering the world in a small sail boat, with over a year in Australia. After that trip, John was fitted with a cochlear implant and encountered other deaf people for the first time through Hearing Link. Subsequently he got involved in helping to run LinkUps from which he got immense satisfaction. John is still involved with Hearing Link and with another local charity which supports people with cochlear implants.