Sunday 1 April 2018
SAM WIEBE - INVISIBLE DEAD (2016)
A gritty, private-eye series begins on the streets of Vancouver, from an award-winning new crime writer.
Dave Wakeland isn't the usual PI. A 29-year-old ex-cop, he makes a habit of bad ideas. Chelsea Loam falls squarely into that category. Chelsea disappeared eleven years ago, leaving a trail leading towards career criminals and powerful men. Taking her case quickly starts to look like a good way to get killed.
Whatever ghosts drive Wakeland, they drive him inexorably, addictively toward danger and the allure of an unsolvable mystery. In this fresh and fast-paced noir thriller, echoing the darkest troubles of our age, a witty and badly bruised new face takes his place in the ranks of the very finest characters in crime fiction
No real cutting insights or in depth analysis on this blog. Another day, another book, another really impressive PI tale, this time from Canadian author Sam Wiebe.
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
Sam Wiebe has his website here.
His first book - Last of the Independents was read a year or two ago - thoughts here.
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