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Fiction Literary


A Novel

by (author) Alisa Smith

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Mar 2017
Literary, Espionage
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Mar 2017
    List Price

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A former undetected outlaw who ran with Bill Bagley’s notorious gang during the Depression, Lena Stillman is now an elite codebreaker in a position to know the nation’s strategic secrets. Good under pressure, good at keeping her mouth shut, Lena never had trouble keeping her double lives compartmentalized—at least not until Bill is sentenced to hang, and her old Clockwork Gang becomes newsworthy.

Despite mounting fear that her secrets might be revealed, Lena excels at work and her skills attract new, unwanted attention. She is assigned to root out a spy at the Esquimalt base, and even her friends become suspects.

Intricate and entertaining, Speakeasy is a riveting West Coast caper, but like enemy submarines patrolling offshore, deeper issues lurk below. With the violence of war encroaching on Canada’s shores, Lena must grapple with her past and use all of her skills, linguistic and otherwise. She discovers that loyalty is simply a form of love. Who knows what causes it—or what revelations could make it disappear?

About the author

Alisa Smith is an award-winning journalist and author. Her best-selling first book, The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating (Vintage Canada, 2009), won the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize, the Canadian Culinary Book Award and the American Cordon d’Or Award of Literary Merit. She has contributed to many publications including Canadian Geographic, Explore and the National Post, and she is the recipient of several National Magazine Awards. She is pursuing a designation as a forensic accountant. She lives in Vancouver, BC, where she is working on the sequel to Speakeasy, Doublespeak.

Alisa Smith's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“This first novel is a remarkable leap for a writer who often gets awards for journalism but whose only previous book (the winner of multiple prizes) was The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating. ...she has managed to merge a gangster noir with a feminist spy thriller. ...The result is a satisfying and well-thought-out novel…”

Georgia Straight


“Speakeasy is an entrancing tale of Prohibition-era gangsters, Gatsby-esque living, and wartime intrigue. Mixing real people and events with unforgettable characters and unbelievable exploits, the novel is a true West Coast caper and a winning debut.”

Winnipeg Free Press

"Thompson's writing here is as informative as ever, particularly on the commercialism of the museum scene and the eerie parallels between the economic clout of the real-world economy's one-percenters and contemporary art institutions' very top tier."


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