Sam Wiebe's Last of the Independents won an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Unpublished First Novel. His prize-winning 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.
Last of the Independents
2015 Kobo Emerging Writer's â€” Winner, Fiction
2015 Arthur Ellis Award â€” Nominated, Best First Novel
2012 Unhanged Arthur Award â€” Winner, Best Unpublished First Crime Novel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 outâ€¦.
Twenty-nine-year-old Michael Drayton runs a private investigation agency in Vancouver that specializes in missing persons â€” 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 merchantâ€™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.
. . . a literary achievement. (starred review)
Smart, sharp writing that kicks into gear on the first page. Wiebe is a 21st century Raymond Chandler, and his Vancouver is like Chandlerâ€™s LA â€” 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, Wiebeâ€™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.
Draytonâ€™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.
Opening paragraphs donâ€™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 canâ€™t be done â€” which is a clue to the openerâ€™s perfect rambunctiousness.