- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Dundurn (Aug. 30 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1459709489
- ISBN-13: 978-1459709485
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.2 x 20.3 cm
- Shipping Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #234,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Last of the Independents: Vancouver Noir Paperback – Aug 30 2014
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. . . a literary achievement. (starred review) (Booklist)
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)
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. (National Post 2014-09-20)
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 2014-09-06)
About the Author
Sam Wiebe's Last of the Independents won the 2012 Unhanged Arthur Award for Best Unpublished First Novel.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.
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Wiebe introduces us to Michael Drayton, an ex-cop running his own investigative agency. Drayton has a couple of office assistant-cum-employees-cum helpers-friends – Ben Loeb and Katherine Hough. There’s an interesting dynamic between the three of them. Loeb is a game designer and a constant reminder to Drayton, not that he needs one of an on-going, unsolved, going-nowhere missing child case. The child in question is Loeb’s sister and while the case file sits permanently on Drayton’s desk and Michael himself works it, you sense Loeb has given up. Hough is the part-time employee, someone more committed to her college education and not totally sure if working with Drayton is wise.
Drayton himself is interesting. He lives and cares for his elderly grandmother and frets over his cancer-ridden pet dog, not quite able to do the right thing by them both and let her go. In the course of the book we cross paths with his ex-fiancee, Mira Das and her partner, Gavin Fisk. Das and Fisk are both cops who become involved in Drayton’s missing child case. The fact that Das and Fisk cheated on Drayton together adds another layer of intrigue to the relationships both personal and professional during the course of the investigation.
As well as the Loeb – unsolved, Drayton has two cases on the go through the course of this book. Another missing child case which has stalled and a disturbing sex case involving someone interfering and defiling some corpses at a funeral home. Following Drayton as he pursues both cases, juggling his time and his limited resources while managing his home situation is fantastic. The stop-start-stall nature of the cases and the gradual uncovering of facts, witnesses, leads, plans and ultimately action gradually brings the plot to a boil.
Wiebe nails it. Plot, pace, character, setting, action and resolution with moments of genuine tension and dread as the climax approached. Causing this reader to scratch head and ponder………how did he do that?
I’m hopeful this is the start of a series as opposed to a one-shot deal, but I don’t know.
Probably September’s book of the month.
My thanks to Caitlyn at Dundurn for allowing me to get this one via Net Galley.
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