The Crime Writers of Canada announced the 2015 Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlists for Crime Writing this week. Among the finalists for “Best First Novel” was Sam Wiebe for LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS.
Best First Novel
- Janet Brons, A Quiet Kill, Touchwood Editions
- Steve Burrows, Siege of Bitterns, Dundurn Press
- M.H. Callway, Windigo Fire, Seraphim Editions
- Eve McBride, No Worst, There Is None, Dundurn Press
- Sam Wiebe, Last of the Independents, Dundurn Press
I met Sam at Bouchercon in Long Beach late last year and read his debut novel shortly after. Here is the brief review I gave it on Amazon:
“What a great debut novel. I couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. The author clearly understands the rich history of Noir, but manages to update the genre in a truly compelling way. Definitely looking forward to more Vancouver Noir from Sam Wiebe.”
I also followed up with a Q&A in January of this year. Here is an excerpt from my Sam Wiebe interview:
Chandler’s famous speech from ‘Simple Art of Murder’ has been quoted ad nauseam…and I’m happy to do so again here: “[D]own these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid…He is the hero, he is everything.”
But that doesn’t really speak to me. It seems dated.
In the same essay, he mentions, on the topic of theme, that “some very dull books have been written about God, and some very fine ones about how to make a living and stay fairly honest.” That to me is the heart of the P.I. novel. It’s about work; it’s about entrepreneurship; it’s about keeping honest while surviving in a hostile economy. What could be more relevant in 2015 than that?
If you haven’t had time to pick up LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS yet, I encourage you to do so soon. Sam is a young writer who understands where Noir is coming from and is helping to shape where it’s headed. But don’t take my word for it—Penguin/Random House Canada just signed him to a two book deal. His next novel comes out in mid-2016.