2015 Kobo Emerging Writer's — Winner, Fiction
2015 Arthur Ellis Award — Nominated, Best First Novel
2012 Unhanged Arthur Award — Winner, Best Unpublished First Crime Novel
What do a necrophile, a missing boy, and an unsavoury P.I. have in common? Private detective Michael Drayton is about to find out….
Twenty-nine-year-old Michael Drayton runs a private investigation agency in Vancouver that specializes in missing persons — only, as Mike has discovered, some missing people stay with you. Still haunted by the unsolved disappearance of a young girl, Mike is hired to find the vanished son of a local junk merchant. However, he quickly discovers that the case has been damaged by a crooked private eye and dismissed by a disinterested justice system. Worse, the only viable lead involves a drug-addicted car thief with gang connections.
As the stakes rise, Mike attempts to balance his search for the junk merchant’s son with a more profitable case involving a necrophile and a funeral home, while simultaneously struggling to keep a disreputable psychic from bilking the mother of a missing girl.
Sam Wiebe's Last of the Independents won the 2012 Unhanged Arthur Award for Best Unpublished First Novel. His crime fiction has been published internationally. Recent projects include audio adaptations of Hamlet and Frankenstein, an independent film script, and a follow-up novel. He lives in Vancouver.
. . . a literary achievement. (starred review)
Drayton’s sardonic voice in 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.
Smart, sharp writing that kicks into gear on the first page. Wiebe is a 21st century Raymond Chandler, and his Vancouver is like Chandler’s LA — its darkest corners are supporting characters. PI Mike Drayton is cynical, funny, and warm-hearted, with a strict moral code and a terrifying temper. What a debut! (E.R. Brown)
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 unanimous winner of an Arthur Ellis Award in 2012, Wiebe’s debut novel is something quite special. It promises more from a young writer who looks sure to turn Vancouver into one of the great cities of noir.