Created by Sam Wiebe
“There’s no real polite way to say this, Mr. Drayton. Someone’s fucking our corpses and we’d like it to stop.”
— Michael meets a new client.
Twenty-nine year old Vancouver dick MICHAEL DRAYTON isn’t your usual hard-boiled gumshoe — in fact, he gives off something of a slacker vibe. He drinks tea, is devoted to his ailing dog, and lives with his Grandma in her basement. His best friend, Ben, is a wealthy but ne’er-do-well game developer who mostly just hangs around the office, pestering part-time secretary Katherine, who it turns out is a closet Goth. All three of them are spinning their wheels; caught up in a generational rut.
But Drayton is serious about one thing — finding missing persons. To the point of obsession. Years later, he’s still haunted by his failure to find Ben’s kid sister, long presumed dead, and his latest case, the disappearance of a young boy — the apparent victim of a carjacking gone very, very wrong — is beginning to look like it might never be solved, either.
Drayton’s one appearance to date, Last of the Independents (2014), the winner of the 2012 Unhanged Arthur Award for Best Unpublished First Novel, is just one heartbreaker of a read, full of moments of dark raw power, flashes of cheerfully profane humour and unexpected bursts of fierce light; a book that announces a truly fresh, original voice to the genre.
Drayton’s a glorious mess of a character, full of contradictions. He’s a doofus as apt to quote Shakespeare or make Kafka jokes as he is to spill a drink on himself; the sort of character that either rises or falls depending on the writing. Fortunately Wiebe totally pulls it off.
Plus, the book boasts one of the best epilogues ever. Forget the eternally squabbling Ben or Katherine — Grandma should come to work with Mike.
Vancouver’s Sam Wiebe’s crime fiction has been published internationally. Recent projects include audio adaptations of Hamlet and Frankenstein, an independent film script, and a new series featuring Dave Wakeland, another Vancouver private eye. He’s also the editor, appropriately enough, of Vancouver Noir, a 2018 Askashic release.
- “One of my grandpa’s favourite sayings: ‘When you’ve only got a hammer you treat every problem like a nail.’ Sometimes your options aren’t limited by your tools so much as the mindset you bring to them. But that doesn’t mean that mindset is necessarily wrong. Sometimes the problem really does call for a big fucking hammer blow.”
- “…a debut well worth spending time with.”
— National Post
- “Buckle yourself in for this one… (Drayton’s) queries lead him into a tiresome world of tough-talking twerps and droning druggies. Readers can wonder: Is this all? Keep reading. In the last pages, the PI enters the heart of darkness, an evocation of evil all the more powerful for its understated style. Not a beach read but a literary achievement.”
— Don Crinklaw in Booklist (starred review)
- “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 openerís perfect rambunctiousness.”
— The Tribune
- Vancouver and Beautiful British Columbia
Private Eyes of the West Coast
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.