A Wakeland Novel
- Random House of Canada
- Initial publish date
- Jun 2016
- Crime, Private Investigators, Noir
Paperback / softback
- Publish Date
- Jun 2016
- List Price
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A gritty, private-eye series begins on the streets of Vancouver, from an award-winning new crime writer.
Dave Wakeland isn't the usual PI. A 29-year-old ex-cop, he makes a habit of bad ideas. Chelsea Loam falls squarely into that category. Chelsea disappeared eleven years ago, leaving a trail leading towards career criminals and powerful men. Taking her case quickly starts to look like a good way to get killed.
Whatever ghosts drive Wakeland, they drive him inexorably, addictively toward danger and the allure of an unsolvable mystery. In this fresh and fast-paced noir thriller, echoing the darkest troubles of our age, a witty and badly bruised new face takes his place in the ranks of the very finest characters in crime fiction
About the author
Sam Wiebe is the award-winning author of the Vancouver crime novels Cut You Down, Invisible Dead and Last of the Independents. His short stories have appeared in Thuglit, Spinetingler and subTerrain. He is a former Vancouver Public Library Writer in Residence and the winner of the 2015 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Sam lives in Vancouver.
- Short-listed, City of Vancouver Book Award
Shortlisted for the 2017 City of Vancouver Book Award
“A gripping, wrenching, brilliant piece of fiction, quite possibly the definitive Vancouver crime novel. If Last of the Independents announced Sam Wiebe’s arrival, Invisible Dead places him in the ranks of the best young mystery writers working today—on either side of the border. This book is outstanding.” —Owen Laukkanen, author of the Stevens and Windermere novels
“Invisible Dead does all the things that only the PI novel can do, pushing the limits of morals to the breaking point in the pursuit of truth. Dave Wakeland is a great guide into the dark soul of Vancouver, never stopping and never looking away. This is the PI done right.” —John McFetridge, author of the Eddie Dougherty mysteries
“A timely, gripping story that rages with frustration and anger at what might have been and what might yet be; a book that does for the missing women of the Downtown Eastside what Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath did for migrant workers. Complex, brilliantly crafted, it has an underlying sadness that permeates every gritty, lyrical word.” —Peggy Blair, author of the Inspector Ramirez novels
“[S]harp and terrific. . . . Wiebe serves up an absorbing story. . . . [A] harrowing, superbly puzzling, and richly cinematic tale.” —The Vancouver Sun
“Haven’t yet heard of Sam Wiebe? You will soon. . . . Lots of personal demons and good backstories give this novel heft. Wiebe is definitely a writer on the rise.” —The Globe and Mail
“[A] story as appealing as it is mysterious.” —Toronto Star
“Sam Wiebe’s Invisible Dead was so refreshing and original and beautifully dark that I found myself rereading several scenes over and over. I could not put it down. It’s a Vancouver crime novel, but can just as easily be any city because the story is big, and Wiebe’s exciting new protagonist, Dave Wakeland, has a way of staying with you long after you have read [it].” —David Swinson, author of The Second Girl, BOLO Books (blog)
“Invisible Dead is by far [Wiebe’s] most polished and nuanced work yet. The detective novel is alive and well and it might’ve just found its new generation flagship author. . . . Sam Wiebe created a rich and nuanced atmosphere without ever tipping into over-the-top grittiness. . . . Invisible Dead is a thoroughly well-crafted traditional detective novel. . . . Some novels are meant to challenge your expectations and others to fulfill them. Invisible Dead is of the latter sort and succeeds in every possible way.” —Dead End Follies (blog)
Praise for Last of the Independents:
"A literary achievement." —Booklist (starred review)
"Drayton's sardonic voice is counterpoint to his assistants and supporting players, along with an ending that delivers a knockout punch, make Last of the Independents a debut well worth spending time with." —National Post
"Opening paragraphs don't get much more bang-on enticing than the one with which Vancouver writer Sam Wiebe kicks off Last of the Independents. It would be nice to quote the paragraph to prove the point, but in a general-interest newspaper, that can't be done--which is a clue to the opener's perfect rambunctiousness." —The Tribune
Bikers, escorts & a detective with a conscienceI do read mysteries, but I don't tend to read the gritty crime/noir genre. Too dark, in most cases. I loved this, though.
Wiebe captures the culture, ephemera, and atmosphere of Vancouver with endless telling details, making his narrative about crime and the seedy, dark underbelly of the city all the more alarming. Reads smoothly and convincingly, with all-too-recognizable characters. The endless men (and some women) dismissing the harm they do to others, particularly to the most vulnerable (and often First Nations and visible minority) women, are the company owners I've worked with and for, the powerful and dismissive, the entitled and self-satisfied, and most of all, the casually careless.
The specificity of eating out in Vancouver and enjoying the views are so common in the city as to be living stereotypes, and the friendly familiarity of the lifestyle and location details drives the knife in even further as one character after another drives the women who've suffered in this book, and on our streets in real life, further into the mud.
I prefer reading mysteries set in exotic foreign places and times. New York. Chicago. London. Paris. 1920s. 1940s. A crime novel calling out not only the shady hidden figures of my Vancouver, but all of us in the city, privileged and struggling alike, for glossing past, stepping over, and treating with casual disdain and irresponsibility the ones having the hardest time surviving, hits far too close to home. But there's a balance of hope and tenacity in this book that keeps the darkness from feeling entirely crushing. So I'll read more of Wiebe's work, if only to remind myself of the faces, the voices, and the stories I need to not forget.