A gripping, genre-bending novel from a master storyteller
Sixteen-year-old runaway Cassie Weathers is utterly alone, living on the streets of Victoria as winter sets in. She meets Skylark, a girl who draws her into a community of street dwellers, a rag tag group led by the charismatic Brother Paul.
Cassie begins to find friendship and a tentative sense of belonging within the group, though everyone is on edge when the city is rocked by the news that a number of young prostitutes have been murdered. Cassie is haunted by dreams and the secrets that she fled from at home. What is real from her past and what exists only in her night terrors? How did the darkness of her dreams slip into her life back then, and why does it seem to be happening again? Under the spectre of a serial killer and questioning her own violent nature, Cassie spirals into complex dreamworlds where her past blurs with her present and nothing can be trusted.
Reminiscent of the works of Stephen King, Charles de Lint and Neil Gaiman, Black Feathers is a mythic thriller that carries you in its grip right until its heart-stopping conclusion.
“Robert Wiersema . . . has written an accomplished first novel, the sort of book veteran novelists might well envy. . . . Before I Wake is deceptively easy to read because it is so well written and so emotionally engaging. It is not, however, an easily forgotten book. It will haunt you long after you’ve lent it to a friend. And lend it you will, because it is too good not to share.” –National Post
“We go along for this unusual ride – that takes us to purgatory and awakens images of the inquisition – because we trust Wiersema’s consummate skill: a talent that makes him one of our most promising and original voices.” –The Gazette (Montreal)
"…riveting debut novel…Wiersema has crafted a literary, supernatural thriller that grips the reader in a chokehold on page one and doesn’t let go until the very last line…Before I Wake is a classic thriller: creepy in all the right places and deliciously suspenseful. Beyond that, it has great emotional depth and resonance." –The Globe and Mail
"Before I Wake is a stunning debut. Robert Wiersema's novel is original, thought-provoking and downright wonderful." –Michael Connelly, author of The Closers and The Lincoln Lawyer
"Through a tale that is both intimate and profound, Robert J. Wiersema reminds us there is magic in truth, and truth in the fantastic. Before I Wake is an edge-of-your-seat debut that is never faint of heart." –Ami McKay, author of The Birth House
"I wept over this book as I read it, and I'm still haunted by it. Wiersema’s compassion for us all shines through in writing that is vivid and very often disturbingly powerful. He is a beautiful writer, and this is a beautiful book." –Gail Anderson-Dargatz, author of The Cure for Death by Lightning, A Recipe for Bees and A Rhinestone Button
"I read this book in less than three days, over the Christmas holidays with a house full of family and friends, and every time I had to put it down, I found myself compiling lists of people for whom I wanted to buy it. It captured me from the opening page and kept me going, wanting more, because it is a wonderful story, superbly told. The tight, tersely written chapters with their constantly changing points of view had me totally enthralled, because the characters are all utterly believable; every one of them rings true, with no miscues. A wonderful novel from a storyteller who knows what being a master of the craft entails." –Jack Whyte, author of the Dream of Eagles series
"Inventively told using cinematic jump cuts and fantastical interventions, Before I Wake provocatively dances along the lines between faith and science, life and death. Robert Wiersema’s first novel shows a writer possessed with the kind of storytelling instincts that make you care about the answer to the one question that really counts: What happens next?" –Andrew Pyper, author of The Wildfire Season
"Powerful… Bedtime Story is all that it should be. More. It is frightening. It is fabulous entertainment. It is intensely thought-provoking. Above all, it is a hint and a tickle of things to come." —January Magazine
"About a good book, we say we 'devoured it.' But what if a book devoured us?… In Robert Wiersema's Bedtime Story, it does." —The Vancouver Sun
“Un-put-downable. . . . masterful storytelling and intricate plotting. . . . Bedtime Story is immensely enjoyable.” —Edmonton Journal
“Serpentine and clever in structure, . . . rich in weird, surprising characters. . . . Enchanting.” —The Globe and Mail
“Fascinating and transformative. . . . The ‘supernatural thriller’ aspect of the novel is well-oiled and keeps the pages turning.” —National Post
“An absorbing excursion. . . . [Bedtime Story] . . . is a genre unto itself, a hybrid of supernatural thriller and sword-and-sorcery fantasy.” —Times Colonist