“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 Professionals
“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 Tumblin’ Dice and Dirty Sweet
“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 Beggar’s Opera
Since Chelsea Loam’s disappearance eleven years ago, only one lead has turned up, and it connects the troubled young woman to serial killer Ed Leary Nichulls. It falls to private investigator Dave Wakeland to drive to Kent Prison and question Nichulls.
While the interview yields little, Nichulls’s lawyer discloses an even more frightening connection: a photo of Chelsea with Terry Rhodes, a remorseless, dog-loving biker gang chieftain. When Wakeland hazards an interview with Rhodes, he is quickly and violently warned off.
Digging into Chelsea’s past, Wakeland locates her boyfriend-cum-pimp and uncovers her diary. Obsession takes hold as Wakeland tracks down Chelsea’s friends and former clients. He learns the troubled history of the Loam family and encounters lawyers, artists, criminals and captains of industry, each of whom seems to know a different Chelsea Loam.
As he begins to close in on the truth, Wakeland is abducted by Rhodes’s crew and taken into the wilderness. His choice: the diary or his life.
Praise for Sam Wiebe’s novel Last of the Independents
“Sam Wiebe’s Last of the Independents is a well-crafted homage to the age of crime noir combined with a thoroughly modern sensibility. Sam’s characters were engaging and tightly drawn. His dialogue was especially effective and rang true to the ear. Lastly, his plot was well thought-out and sustained. His competition for this first Kobo Emerging Writer Award was formidable, and that is a further compliment to the quality of Sam’s work.”
-Kobo Emerging Writer prize jury
“. . . a literary achievement.”
– Booklist 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.”
– Sarah Weinman, The National Post
“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
“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.”
– The Peak, Simon Fraser University
“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
“If the thrill of reading detective fiction results from the complexity of the case and playing detective with the surplus of clues and suspects, then Wiebe succeeds here too, crafting a harrowing, superbly puzzling, and richly cinematic tale.” – Brett Josef Grubisic, Vancouver Sun
Random House Canada, Summer 2016