Wednesday 4 April 2018



No one knows what happened to Tabitha Sorenson, a brilliant but troubled college student who vanished in the aftermath of a scandal involving millions of dollars in school funds Hired to find the missing girl by her professor (and admirer) Dana Essex, private investigator Dave Wakeland is tossed into a world of suburban gangsters, corrupt authorities, and a contract killer with an unhealthy fondness for blades--all of them ready to guard their secrets at any cost.

Aided by Sonia Drego, a police officer and former lover with dangerous secrets of her own, Wakeland's world is upended when the investigation takes a deadly turn. Suspecting he may have been played for a rube by the woman who hired him, the young PI crosses borders--and lines--in his hunt for a sadistic killer, a journey of discovery that takes him from the back alleys of a rapidly modernizing Vancouver to the wilds of Washington State to a disorienting suburban sprawl, where nothing is as it seems.

My second outing with Sam Wiebe and his creation, the ex-cop turned PI Dave Wakeland in the merry month of March. Again Wiebe serves up another compelling, edge of the seat tale.

A missing girl and maybe some missing money in addition to a favour for a friend that puts Wakeland on the trail of a vicious cop who moonlights as an enforcer for some connected crime figures in the Vancouver underworld. That the friend is the dodgy cop's on the job partner and Dave's ex-lover complicates matters further.

I quite liked the duality of the cases and the crossover with Wakeland's time and attention between sorting both. Inevitably the tension between Dave and his former partner, Sonia dissolves during the course of the book and an element of romance gets rekindled.

Wakeland is an interesting guy. An ex-cop himself, dogged and hard-nosed, stubborn, persistent, loyal and capable in a fight, though often times he seems to come off second best and on occasions seemingly operates as a pinyata. The term shit-magnet might also be appropriate. Give him his due, he takes his licks and keeps at it.

While the book does well as a standalone, there are some reappearing characters who crossed swords with Wakeland last time around. For me their presence reinforced and strengthened the landscape Wiebe had created. I did enjoy the outcome of their rematch.

Overall, I really liked this one. Vancouver and its dark side is a memorable setting in Wiebe's hands and somewhere I hope he keeps writing about. The plot is more complicated than is immediately apparent and had me guessing most of the way through. There was maybe one little wriggle too many towards the end, which instead of wrong-footing me, seemed a little bit telegraphed and therefore had my antennae raised.

That little niggle aside - impressive, superb, top notch, top banana, admirable, etc etc....

4.5 from 5

Sam Wiebe has his website here and is on Twitter@sam_wiebe

His two previous books have been enjoyed.
Last of the Independents - thoughts here.
Invisible Dead - thoughts here.

A long-short story with Dave Wakeland - Hollywood North awaits.

Read in March, 2018
Published - 2018
Page count - 356
Source - review copy from publisher Quercus and Edelweiss early reviewer site
Format - Kindle


  1. Dave Wakeland sounds like an interesting and well-drawn character, Col. I really like the Pacific Northwest as the setting, too. You make an interesting point about recurring characters. It's one of the reasons I like to read series in order when it's possible. Glad you enjoyed this.

    1. Me too Margot. I'm looking forward to his next full length offering (whenever that might be)

  2. Missing girls, Vancouver, students and college politics and missing money - a lot of boxes ticked there, just the kind of plots I like... could definitely be one for me.

    1. I'm not going to put anyone off reading Sam Wiebe.