- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Random House Canada; 1st Edition edition (June 14 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345816277
- ISBN-13: 978-0345816276
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
- Shipping Weight: 299 g
- Average Customer Review: 15 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #161,835 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Invisible Dead: A Wakeland Novel Paperback – Deckle Edge, Jun 14 2016
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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
About the Author
SAM WIEBE's stand-alone debut novel, Last of the Independents, won an Arthur Ellis Award and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and was nominated for a Shamus award. His stories have appeared in Thuglit, subTerrain and Criminal Element's The Malfeasance Occasional e-collection, among others. He lives in Vancouver. The author lives in Vancouver, BC.
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Dave Wakeland is an ex-cop turned private investigator who has recently formed a partnership with Jeff Chen. Jeff is everything Dave is not - ambitious, trying to build a successful security firm handling corporate and wealthy clients, while Dave is more comfortable on the streets than sitting behind a desk in an luxury office tower. Nevertheless, their partnership works. Dave has a street rep that gives the firm credibility and in turn for doing the odd well paying corporate job, Dave has the freedom to take on cases he chooses - or maybe they choose him? Because the cases he chooses inevitably seem to be unsolvable lost causes.
His latest lost cause is tracking down the 11 year old disappearance of Chelsea Loam, a missing young aboriginal woman - a hooker and an addict. The only person who really cares is her foster mother, dying of cancer who simply wants closure before she dies. She receives an anonymous tip linking the disappearance of Chelsea to a serial killer currently in jail for the murders of other young women, who like Chelsea, were living on the margins of society. She hires Dave to check out the tip and to see what ever else he can find.
This lead soon leads to another - the kingpin of the Exiles - a brutal motorcycle gang, and other "johns" including a crown attorney and a very wealthy businessman. And despite threats to his life, Dave stubbornly persists in piecing together the last days of Chelsea's life. He's not even sure why he's doing it, for justice? for truth? for Chelsea's foster mother or maybe himself?
The story unfolds from Dave's point of view - deeply cynical, dark with humour, perhaps just masking a quiet desperation for hope and redemption. He leads us through the highs and lows of Chelsea's life and the back alleys and glass towers of Vancouver, at a pace that keeps moving, that keeps you turning the page to the very end. Couldn't put it down.
A missing persons case and a cold one at that. Chelsea Loam made some wrong choices in her young life. Adopted and loved, she fell pregnant, abandoned her son and drifted into a life of drug addiction and prostitution. Contact with her family gradually dwindled and she disappeared.
Present day, her adopted mother has come into some money, but is suffering through ill-health. She tasks Dave Wakeland with finding Chelsea or at least discovering her fate before she passes.
I really liked this one. Wakeland is a committed investigator. He's a partner in a security firm, but has no real head for business or interest in glad-handing clients or the corporate side of the job. He's a man for the trenches and isn't above getting his hands dirty or his head busted in pursuit of the truth.
Just as well really, as an assortment of politicians, businessmen, ex-boyfriends and the leader of Vancouver's biggest biker gang don't want the truth uncovered. Chelsea Loam slept with some dangerous people on her downward slide and Wakeland recovering her diary has painted a big target on his back.
We have a credible investigation with plenty of dead ends and distractions. There's tension with our business partner and our soft-hearted investigator picks up another waif in the course of the case. You wonder if Wakeland naively thinks he can save the world, one person at a time. Other work intervenes, as well as the odd family involvement, both his own and his clients.
I enjoyed the setting of Vancouver, which plays a big part in the novel. The gentrification and renewal of the city succeeding in excluding the working classes from property ownership. I don't think this is a trend exclusive to Vancouver.
Plenty of violence and tension and difficult hurdles to overcome with the biker gang. Wakeland might be ten years too late to save Chelsea, but holding those responsible might be the best he can hope for. Justice of sorts beckons.
Really really good.
4.5 from 5
Wiebe's first book - Last of the Independents was read a year or two ago.
The second Dave Wakeland book - Cut You Down has just been published. Thoughts on this one coming soon.
Read in March, 2018
Published - 2018
Page count - 321
Source - purchased copy
Format - trade paperback
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