Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Invisible Dead"

Sam Wiebe's novel Last of the Independents won the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize and an Arthur Ellis Award, and was nominated for a Shamus award. His second novel, Invisible Dead, was published by Random House Canada and Quercus USA. His short stories have appeared in Thuglit, Spinetingler, and subTerrain, and he was the 2016 Vancouver Public Library Writer in Residence. He lives in Vancouver.

Wiebe applied the Page 69 Test to Invisible Dead and reported the following:
From page 69:
I waited for him to swing at me. The punch didn’t come. Instead a kick swept out and clipped the side of my knee, too fast to deflect. I was off balance, rocked by the pain. I swung anyway. He batted my fist away, seized my shoulder and propelled me backward into the kitchen, back until my spine hit the countertop.

“Stick you hand in the drain,” he said.

I didn’t. His grip on my shoulder tightened. I tried to shrug him off but his forearm came up into my throat and he bent me back over the sink so the back of my head pressed against the drape over the window and shook it down.

“Stick your hand into the sink.”

I did.

“Fingers into the drain. All the way. Until your hand’s stuck.”

I complied.

There was a switch over the drain. He flipped it…
Invisible Dead is a novel about systemic violence, the kind we often don’t notice or don’t think about. The main character, Dave Wakeland, sets out to find a missing sex trade worker, and must eventually confront his own complicity in being part of a city where troubled young women go missing all too often.

In some ways Wakeland is a classic detective, in the vein of Lew Archer. This makes him capable in some ways, and woefully unequipped in others.

In this scene, Dave comes up against an unnamed enforcer for a gangster who’s somehow connected to his missing person. Dave is capable and familiar with violence, but as this scene shows, he’s physically outmatched by someone more ruthless than he is. If he survives this encounter, he’ll be left to wonder: if the underling of this gangster is able to manhandle him, how will he deal with the gangster himself?
Visit Sam Wiebe's website.

Writers Read: Sam Wiebe.

My Book, The Movie: Invisible Dead.

--Marshal Zeringue