GUEST BLOG: Emma Viskic on Resurrection Bay

I get asked one Viskic, Emma - Resurrection Bayquestion above all others about Resurrection Bay – why did I set out to write a deaf protagonist? The truth is, I didn’t. Although Caleb was always deaf, it took me a long time to catch on.

When I first started writing Resurrection Bay, Caleb strode onto the page almost fully formed: he was strangely obstinate, isolated and hyper-aware. But I didn’t know why. His relationship with his parents went some way to explain it, but didn’t seem enough.

Halfway through the second draft, I began to see glimpses of someone from my childhood, a girl I’d gone to school with. She shared many of the same qualities as Caleb: she was watchful, proud, frustrated, and profoundly deaf. I began to wonder if Caleb might be deaf, too. The idea terrified me. I’m a classical musician; sound is central to my world. I couldn’t imagine writing a book where dialogue and nuance of tone were absent. And how could Caleb function as an investigator if he was deaf? How could he be independent? So I pushed the idea aside. It wasn’t a case of ignoring the muse, so much as slamming the door in her face and sprinting in the opposite direction.

But the idea kept nudging the back of my brain. Two drafts later, things still didn’t feel right, so I gave in and experimented with a single scene. That scene became two, then three, then a chapter. By the end of it, everything about Caleb had clicked into place. After that, he took over, ploughing ahead whenever I faltered, driving the story with a blatant disregard for his own happiness and safety. To my surprise, his deafness created as many boons as it did probleEmma Viskicms. His observational skills made him an excellent investigator, and dialogue became more, not less, important. Even my niggling worry that Caleb’s deafness would become too central to the plot was alleviated: although it’s an important part of who he is, it isn’t all he is.

While Caleb barged on, I was left to answer myriad technical questions. Could he lip-read or did he use sign language? How hard was it to lip-read anyway? Very hard, it turned out, but some people have a gift for it. Caleb was going to have to be one of them because there was no way he’d agree to being paired with an interpreter. But the idea of using sign language intrigued me. If Caleb could sign, it would be a perfect opportunity to show him at ease, and to explore his relationships. So he became bilingual. He speaks English with most people, but signs with those closest to him.

Decisions made, I set about learning Australian sign language (Auslan) and spoke to people. I learned the difference between being culturally Deaf, which Caleb isn’t, and small ‘d’ deaf, which he is. I spent hours walking around with ear buds in my ears, trying to do day-to-day things like shopping and catching public transport. And failing miserably. The more I learned, the more I understood Caleb’s character and what drove him. He might have been giving me a slow clap and muttering ‘About time’, but I got there in the end.

Grab your copy of Resurrection Bay here
Read an extract of Resurrection Bay here

Resurrection Bay

by Emma Viskic

Viskic, Emma - Resurrection BayCaleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside – watching, picking up tell-tale signs people hide in a smile, a cough, a kiss.

When a childhood friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can’t do it alone. Caleb and his troubled friend Frankie, an ex-cop, start with one clue: Scott, the last word the murder victim texted to Caleb. But Scott is always one step ahead.

This gripping, original and fast-paced crime thriller is set between a big city … Read more.

Grab your copy of Resurrection Bay here
Read an extract of Resurrection Bay here

About the Author

Emma Viskic

Emma Viskic

Emma Viskic has won two of Australia’s premier crime fiction short story awards: the Ned Kelly S.D. Harvey Award, and the New England

Thunderbolt Prize. A classical clarinettist by training, her musical career has ranged from performing with Jose Carreras, to a backyard wedding where the groom demanded to know where the fourth member of the trio was.  She lives in Melbourne’s inner north with her family and divides her time between writing, performing and teaching.

Grab your copy of Resurrection Bay here
Read an extract of Resurrection Bay here

Michael Robotham beats Stephen King and J.K. Rowling to win Gold Dagger Award for the best crime novel of the year

FB_IMG_1443558403338Australia crime writing superstar Michael Robotham has won the prestigious British Crime Writers’ Association Gold Dagger for the best crime novel of the year.

A longtime Booktopia favourite, Michael beat the likes of Stephen King, Belinda Bauer and J.K. Rowling (writing as Robert Galbraith).


“For all the fact that it’s lovely to have commercial success, to sell lots of books, to be able to be a full-time writer, something like the Dagger makes you feel you have the respect of your peers and you are part of a long tradition of very fine writers.”


Michael Robotham

In a 2014 review of Life or Death, we remarked ‘What sets Michael Robotham apart? A simple, but often neglected factor. He’s just a wonderful writer.’

It’s always nice to see the world agree.

Grab your copy of Life or Death here

Life or Death

Review by Andrew Cattanach

There seems to be two types of people in this world. Those who love Michael Robotham, and those who haven’t heard of him yet.

life-or-deathIt can be difficult for a crime writer to receive critical acclaim and popularity. Books by design are denser than any cop drama on TV, asking questions designed for reflection rather than ratings. Formulas are examined and broken down, cliches noted, thin characters ridiculed.

What sets Michael Robotham apart? A simple, but often neglected factor.

He’s just a wonderful writer.

Life or Death starts with an intriguing premise. Audie Palmer is on the run, having escaped from jail. 10 years of beatings and torture are behind him. But what’s the twist?

He has escaped just one day before he was due to be released.

In Audie Palmer, Robotham has created a character we can all root for. Lucky in his unluckiness, stoic, brave, principled. He is haunted by the ghosts of the past and by a crime he swears he didn’t commit. But can we trust him? Can we really trust anyone?

While Audie is the heart of the story,  there is plenty of meat around him, an ensemble cast of crooked politicians, kind-hearted criminals and shady FBI agents, not to mention a missing seven million dollars. The waters are murky, and Robotham revels in it.

Life or Death is for the crime fan who likes a story, not just an account. Brilliantly written, intelligent, funny, sad and meticulously mapped out, it’s easy to understand why there has already been so much interest in a big screen adaptation of the novel.

There is nothing more exciting than an author operating at the peak of their powers. With Life or Death, Robotham is doing just that, further strengthening his hold as one of Australia’s finest crime writers. Find out why Audie is on the run, before it’s too late.

Grab your copy of Life or Death here

Grab your copy of Life or Death here

GUEST BLOG: True lies by Gary Kemble, author of Skin Deep

Kemble, Gary Author Photo‘Fiction is the truth inside the lie.’ – Stephen King

I’m a journalist. Lies are not a valued commodity in my world. Unless, like Skin Deep’s Harry Hendrick, you’re uncovering other people’s, lies are a good way to get fired.

(In Harry’s case, uncovering other people’s lies is a good way to get killed).

So if I’m a journalist, what am I doing telling lies in my spare time? Well, as it happens, truth and fiction aren’t as far apart as you might think.

Jerry Jenkins, author of the best-selling Left Behind series, says the definitions of nonfiction and fiction have flip-flopped.

‘Nonfiction has to be unbelievable, and fiction has to be believable,’ he says.

Everything in Skin Deep has happened.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a lie.

But at each stage of fleshing out Skin Deep’s plot I asked, ‘Has this ever happened in real life?’ If I could find a real-world precedent, I would mould those true events into the lie I needed.

Have Australian Defence Force personnel ever been implicated in drug smuggling? Yes.

Have outlaw motorcycle gangs ever been used to traffic drugs? Absolutely.

Have property developers ever laundered money? Oh yeah.Left Behind

Did a Black Hawk carrying SAS troopers crash during an exercise off the coast of Fiji? Yes. (The true version of that incident is detailed in Rob Maylor’s excellent SAS Sniper).

Are there symbols created by Afghan Mullah Sensees designed to protect people from harm? Yes.

Of course, at some point as a writer you need to go off the beaten track and just make shit up.

As far as I know, no-one has ever had tattoos spontaneously manifest on their body.

Dreadnorts MC and Dead Ringers MC are fictional outlaw motorcycle gangs. I didn’t want any Hells Angels or Bandidos knocking on my door, accusing me of giving their club a bad write-up. (And it was actually quite difficult finding ominous-sounding names that aren’t real OMGs).

The protective sigil on Harry’s neck was originally going to be African in origin. The Australian SAS has deployed to various parts of Africa over the years, but it suited Skin Deep better to shift Rob’s story to Afghanistan.

So what’s the secret to telling convincing lies? Let’s hear from a guy who’s made a career out of it: Stephen King.

As King suggests, you should wrap your lie around a truth. Whether it’s characters, locations, or plot developments, thorough research can make the reader care.

‘Belief and readSAS sniperer absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything,’ King told Writer’s Digest.

‘Or a broken billboard. Or weeds growing in the cracks of a library’s steps.

‘Of course, none of this means a lot without characters the reader cares about (and sometimes characters—“bad guys”—the reader is rooting against), but the details are always the starting place in speculative or fantasy fiction. They must be clear and textured.

‘The writer must have a good imagination to begin with, but the imagination has to be muscular, which means it must be exercised in a disciplined way, day in and day out, by writing, failing, succeeding and revising.’

So what are you waiting for? Go to it!

Grab a copy of Skin Deep here

Skin Deep

Gary Kemble

When washed up journalist Harry Hendrick wakes with a hangover and a mysterious tattoo on his neck, he shrugs it off as aKemble, Gary - Skin Deep bad night out.

When more tattoos appear — accompanied by visions of war-torn Afghanistan, bikies, boat people, murder, bar fights and a mysterious woman — he begins to dig a little deeper.

Harry’s search leads him to Jess McGrath. She’s successful, married; they are drawn to each other though they have nothing in common but unwanted tattoos and high definition nightmares. Together, they edge closer to unearthing the truth behind the sinister disappearance of an SAS hero and his girlfriend Kyla.

There’s a federal election looming, with pundits tipping a landslide win for opposition leader Andrew Cardinal. Harry knows there’s a link between these disturbing visions and Cardinal’s shadowy past, and is compelled to right wrongs, one way or another.

Skin Deep is the thrilling, layered, genre-bending debut novel of Brisbane author and journalist Gary Kemble.

Grab a copy of Skin Deep here

About the Author

Gary Kemble has spent his life telling stories. He wrote, illustrated and self-published his first story (Back from the Grave) aged eight.

His award-winning short fiction has been published in magazines and anthologies in Australia and abroad, and his non-fiction has appeared in newspapers, magazines and online.

Born in England and raised in Brisbane, Gary lives on a farm in Scotland with his wife, kids, and a camera-shy weasel.

You can follow his adventures on Twitter (@garykemble).

Grab a copy of Skin Deep here

Michael Connelly on Bosch, crime and his amazing career

Michael Connelly is one of the world’s most acclaimed and highest selling crime authors in the world. He chats to John Purcell.

Grab a copy of The Burning Room here

The Burning Room Connelly, Michael - The Burning Room

by Michael Connelly

A bullet takes ten years to find its mark. Now Bosch must find the killer …

Detective Harry Bosch and his new partner investigate a recent murder where the trigger was pulled years earlier.

In the LAPD’s Open-Unsolved Unit, not many murder victims die a decade after the crime. So when Orlando Merced finally succumbs to complications from being shot ten years earlier, Bosch catches a case in which the body is still fresh, but any other evidence is virtually nonexistent.

Partnered with Lucia Soto, a rookie detective who made her name in a violent liquor store shoot-out, Bosch begins to see political dimensions to the case – a case where, despite the seemingly impossible odds, failure to find the killer is simply not an option.

But not only does Soto soon reveal a burning obsession that could make her a loose cannon, the one piece of evidence they have on the Merced shooting also points in a shocking and unexpected direction that could unsettle the very people who want Bosch to close out the case.

It’s looking like Orlando Merced may not be the investigation’s only victim – and that includes Bosch himself.

About the Author

Connelly, Michael - Author PhotoMichael Connelly decided to become a writer after discovering the books of Raymond Chandler while attending the University of Florida. Once he decided on this direction he chose a major in journalism and a minor in creative writing — a curriculum in which one of his teachers was novelist Harry Crews.

After graduating in 1980, Connelly worked at newspapers in Daytona Beach and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, primarily specializing in the crime beat. In Fort Lauderdale he wrote about police and crime during the height of the murder and violence wave that rolled over South Florida during the so-called cocaine wars. In 1986, he and two other reporters spent several months interviewing survivors of a major airline crash. They wrote a magazine story on the crash and the survivors which was later short-listed for the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. The magazine story also moved Connelly into the upper levels of journalism, landing him a job as a crime reporter for the Los Angeles Times, one of the largest papers in the country, and bringing him to the city of which his literary hero, Chandler, had written.

After three years on the crime beat in L.A., Connelly began writing his first novel to feature LAPD Detective Hieronymus Bosch. The novel, The Black Echo, based in part on a true crime that had occurred in Los Angeles, was published in 1992 and won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel by the Mystery Writers of America. Connelly has followed that up with 18 more novels. Connelly’s books have been translated in 35 languages and have won the Edgar Award, Anthony Award, Macavity Award, Los Angeles Times Best Mystery/Thriller Award, Shamus Award, Dilys Award, Nero Award, Barry Award, Audie Award, Ridley Award, Maltese Falcon Award (Japan), .38 Caliber Award (France), Grand Prix Award (France), and Premio Bancarella Award (Italy).

Michael was the President of the Mystery Writers of America organization in 2003 and 2004. In addition to his literary work, Michael was one of the creators, writers, and consulting producers of Level 9, a TV show about a task force fighting cyber crime, that ran on UPN in the Fall of 2000. Michael lives with his family in Florida.

Grab a copy of The Burning Room here

Michael Robotham on his brilliant new novel Close Your Eyes

Michael Robotham is one of Australia’s most loved crime writers, and one of the highest selling both home and abroad. He chats to Sarah McDuling.

Grab a copy of Close Your Eyes here

Close Your EyesRobotham, Michael - Close Your Eyes

by Michael Robotham

I close my eyes and feel my heart begin racing
Someone is coming
They’re going to find me

A mother and her teenage daughter are found brutally murdered in a remote farmhouse, one defiled by multiple stab wounds and the other left lying like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her Prince. Reluctantly, clinical psychologist Joe O’Loughlin is drawn into the investigation when a former student, calling himself the ‘Mindhunter’, trading on Joe’s name, has jeopardised the police inquiry by leaking details to the media and stirring up public anger.

With no shortage of suspects and tempers beginning to fray, Joe discover links between these murders to a series of brutal attacks where the men and women are choked unconscious and the letter ‘A’ is carved into their foreheads.

As the case becomes ever more complex, nothing is quite what it seems and soon Joe’s fate, and that of those closest to him, become intertwined with a merciless, unpredictable killer . . .


Robotham, Michael - Author PhotoAbout the Author

Born in Australia in November 1960, Michael Robotham grew up in small country towns that had more dogs than people and more flies than dogs. He escaped in 1979 and became a cadet journalist on an afternoon newspaper in Sydney.

For the next fourteen years he wrote for newspapers and magazines in Australia, Britain and America. As a senior feature writer for the UK’s Mail on Sunday he was among the first people to view the letters and diaries of Czar Nicholas II and his wife Empress Alexandra, unearthed in the Moscow State Archives in 1991. He also gained access to Stalin’s Hitler files, which had been missing for nearly fifty years until a cleaner stumbled upon a cardboard box that had been misplaced and misfiled.

In 1993 he quit journalism to become a ghostwriter, collaborating with politicians, pop stars, psychologists, adventurers and showbusiness personalities to write their autobiographies. Twelve of these non-fiction titles were bestsellers with combined sales of more than 2 million copies.

His first novel ‘The Suspect’, a psychological thriller, was chosen by the world’s largest consortium of book clubs as only the fifth “International Book of the Month”, making it the top recommendation to 28 million book club members in fifteen countries. It has been translated into twenty-two languages, including some he’s barely heard of.

His second novel ‘Lost’ won the Ned Kelly Award for the Crime Book of the Year in 2005, given by the Australian Crime Writers Association. It was also shortlisted for the 2006 Barry Award for the BEST BRITISH NOVEL published in the US in 2005.

Michael’s subsequent novels ‘The Night Ferry’ and ‘Shatter’ were both shortlisted for UK Crime Writers Association Steel Dagger in 2007 and 2008. ‘Shatter’ was also shortlisted in the inaugural ITV3 Thriller Awards in the UK and for South Africa’s Boeke Prize. In August 2008 ‘Shatter’ won the Ned Kelly award for Australia’s best crime novel. More recently, ‘Bleed for Me’ – Michael’s sixth novel – was shortlisted for the 2010 Ned Kelly Award. His upcoming novel, ‘The Wreckage’ will be released in June 2011.

Michael can most often be found working in his ‘pit of despair’ (basement office) on Sydney’s northern beaches where he funds the extravagant lifestyles of a wife and three daughters.

Grab a copy of Close Your Eyes here

Drum roll…. We’re announcing the winners of our August Competitions!

In the lead up to Father’s Day we gave you the chance to win some swag for Dad!

Lots and lots of goodies were up for grabs! See if you’re a winner below…

Pan_Macmillan_Fathers_Day_15_Category_Page_BannerAll you had to do to enter was order anything from The Pan Macmillan Father’s Day Collection by August 31st!


by Dustin Fletcher

In the tough, adrenaline-fueled world of Australian Football, Dustin Fletcher is a legend. In 2014, the 39-year-old Essendon Bomber runs out for his 22nd season not only as the oldest man in the game, but also one of the best-loved by sports fans, commentators, coaches and fellow players alike.

Fletch tells Fletcher’s incredible true story in his own words: from his beginnings growing up as the son of Essendon legend Ken Fletcher to his prodigal son debut aged just 17, and his meteoric rise with premiership-winning dream team “The Baby Bombers” led by iconic coach Kevin Sheedy and more…

…and the winner is:

W.Thomson, Warner, QLD

All you had to do to enter was order a copy of The Ultimate Sandwich by August 31st!

The Ultimate Sandwichthe-ultimate-sandwich-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win- (1)

100 Classic Sandwiches from Reuben to Po’boy and Everything in Between

by Jonas Cramby

At last a cookbook that affords the modest sandwich all the respect it deserves, from BLTs to banh mi

When John Montagu, the fourth Duke of Sandwich, got the brilliant idea of putting slices of cold meat between two pieces of bread, he not only invented the first, really modern meal – he created a global obsession. today there are variations of the portable, cheap (but, above all, good) sandwich in most cultures and it is about time a book appeared that takes the subject seriously. In more than 90 recipes, you learn such skills as how to make more…

…and the winner is:

W.Cowell, Ringwood, VIC

All you had to do to enter was order a copy of Aussie Grit by August 31st!

xaussie-grit.jpg.pagespeed.ic.CPLHrpyVsuAussie Grit

by Mark Webber

In the exhilarating, high-stakes world of Formula One, only the fastest make it to the top.

And no one knows this better than Australian Formula One legend Mark Webber. His career in F1 stretched for an incredible eleven years, seeing him garner thirteen poll positions, earn forty-two podiums and win nine races including the crown jewel of F1, the Monacco Grand prix, twice.

But there’s more than F1 to the more…

…and the winner is:

R.Butcher, Littlehampton, SA

All you had to do to enter was order a copy of Time and Space by August 31st!

Time and Spacetime-and-space-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-

The Tactics That Shaped Australian Rules – and the Players and Coaches Who Mastered Them

by James Coventry

An accomplished book about the genius and ingenuity of the game’s greats (and the forgotten) and how they have shaped the game through the innovation of tactics.

From Pagan’s Paddock to Clarkson’s Cluster, from Fitzroy’s huddle to Sydney’s flood, the tactics of Australian football have become part of the vernacular.

In this groundbreaking book, ABC journalist James Coventry reveals the more…

…and the winner is:

M.Gourlay, Eildon, VIC

All you had to do to enter was order a copy of Normal by August 31st!


by Graeme Cameron

Buy Normal by August 31st and you could win 1 of 10 crime prize packs! Terms and Conditions apply.

“The truth is I hurt people. It’s what I do. It’s all I do. It’s all I’ve ever done.”

He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving you into the lane ahead of him.

What you don’t know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he’s carefully shopping for is more…

…and the winners are:

T.Hingston, Mount Stuart, TAS
K.Cain, Cobar, NSW
D.Prinsen, West Gosford, NSW
S.Carr, Emu Plains, NSW
P.Hrvic, Oakleigh, VIC
K.Allitt, Glenroy, NSW
J.McKenney, Hamilton, QLD
J.Lowe, Newport, VIC
L.Reinke, Ayr, QLD
J.Bishop, Burketown, QLD

All you had to do to enter was order a copy of You Are Dead by August 31st!

You Are Dead

A Roy Grace Novel : Book 11

you-are-dead-order-now-for-your-chance-to-win-by Peter James


The last words Nick Walton hears from his fiancée, Logan Somerville, are in a terrified mobile phone call. She has just driven into the underground car park beneath the block of flats where they live in Brighton. Then she screams and the phone goes dead. The police are on the scene within minutes, but Logan has vanished, leaving behind her neatly parked car and mobile phone. That same afternoon, workmen digging up a park in another part of the city, unearth the remains of a woman in her early twenties, who has been dead for more…

…and the winner is:

L.Lee, Manyana, NSW

Congratulations to the winners!

Missed out on the prize? Hey, turn that frown upside up, we’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!

Head to our Promotions and Competitions page, where you could be a winner every day!


Have you won $500 worth of Euro Crime or the ENTIRE DISCWORLD SERIES?

To celebrate the release of The Girl in the Spider’s Web, written by David Lagercrantz, and The Shepherd’s Crown, released after the passing of Terry Pratchett, we gave Booktopians the chance to win $500 of Euro Crime and THE ENTIRE DISCWORLD SERIES, worth $800!

Here’s what you had to do to enter…


All you had to do to enter was order The Girl in the Spider’s Web, by August 27th!

isbn9780857053503The Girl in the Spider’s Web (as created by Stieg Larsson)

Millennium : Book 4

by David Lagercrantz, George Goulding (Transcribed by), Stieg Larsson (Created by)

She is the girl with the dragon tattoo. Lisbeth Salander. An uncompromising misfit whose burning sense of injustice and talent for investigation will never respect boundaries of state or status.

He is a campaigning journalist. Mikael Blomkvist. A lone wolf whose integrity and championing of the truth bring him time and again to the brink of unemployment – and prosecution.

The call comes in late at night: a superhacker has gained access to more…

…and the winner is:

M.Wykoff, Bayview, NSW


All you had to do to enter was order The Shepherd’s Crown, by August 27th!

The Shepherd’s Crownxthe-shepherd-s-crown.jpg.pagespeed.ic.L9bJJIDgGB

Discworld Novels : Book 41

by Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett’s final Discworld novel.

Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength.

This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.

As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must more…

…and the winner is:

G.Tavendale, Trevallyn, TAS

Congratulations to the winners!

Missed out on the prize? Hey, turn that frown upside up, we’ve got so much more up for grabs, not to mention limited editions signed copies and 2 for 1 offers!

Head to our Promotions and Competitions page, where you could be a winner every day!



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