Invisible Dead (Wakeland, #1)
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

Invisible Dead (Wakeland, #1) Details

TitleInvisible Dead (Wakeland, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 14th, 2016
PublisherRandom House Canada
ISBN-139780345816276
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Cultural, Canada, Crime, Thriller, Suspense

Invisible Dead (Wakeland, #1) Review

  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    I won a copy of INVISIBLE DEAD (Wakeland #1) by Sam Wiebe, a dark gritty detective tale set in Vancouver, Canada, through the Goodreads Giveaway Contest. This is a stand-alone debut novel.In Canada we have a problem that is coming more and more to the forefront: and it involves the number of missing/murdered aboriginal women in British Columbia whose cases remain unsolved INVISIBLE DEAD focuses on one fictional victim, Chelsea Loam.Dave Wakeland is a private investigator, former cop, looking fo I won a copy of INVISIBLE DEAD (Wakeland #1) by Sam Wiebe, a dark gritty detective tale set in Vancouver, Canada, through the Goodreads Giveaway Contest. This is a stand-alone debut novel.In Canada we have a problem that is coming more and more to the forefront: and it involves the number of missing/murdered aboriginal women in British Columbia whose cases remain unsolved INVISIBLE DEAD focuses on one fictional victim, Chelsea Loam.Dave Wakeland is a private investigator, former cop, looking for a woman named Chelsea Loom that went missing eleven years ago. Her mother, Gail Kirby, adopted mother of Chelsea, suffers from stage 3 cancer and has only a few months to live, and hires Wakeland from the partnership of Wakeland and Chen, Private Investigations. She needs to know what happened to her daughter…to put her mind at peace.Dave Wakeland and his partner Jeff Chen complement each other. Wakeland is more of a loner, eccentric in nature, who prefers his quiet time, and takes on cold cases that he feels comfortable with, while his partner, Jeff, came from the corporate security world and networks and brings in the money and clients into the business. Dave starts to look into the disappearance of Chelsea Loam – checking out every tip he can. Chelsea is a prostitute and was also involved in the drug scene so this cold case file never got much attention. Now eleven years later Chelsea would be thirty-five.But when Dave starts following up on all his tips, and interviews some savoury people, he finds himself right in the centre of powerful men in organised crime who want him to get lost. Dave also finds himself getting romantically involved with someone he went to school with…a prostitute and drug addict. I felt that this romantic encounter did not add anything to the novel. Will Dave be able to find out the truth about Chelsea without being eliminated himself? This crime novel is well written with a full cast of characters. A very enjoyable read.
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  • Sebastien Castell
    January 1, 1970
    Sam Wiebe's an exceptional writer and it shows from the first page of Invisible Dead. For those who enjoyed his debut detective novel, Last of the Independents, his new Wakeland series feels very much like the next level of that storytelling. The prose is crisp, maintaining the economy and directness of the early noir writers but without following so closely as to dip into self-parody. The characters and relationships feel real and compelling, and his compassion for the subject matter – that of Sam Wiebe's an exceptional writer and it shows from the first page of Invisible Dead. For those who enjoyed his debut detective novel, Last of the Independents, his new Wakeland series feels very much like the next level of that storytelling. The prose is crisp, maintaining the economy and directness of the early noir writers but without following so closely as to dip into self-parody. The characters and relationships feel real and compelling, and his compassion for the subject matter – that of missing and murdered women too long ignored because of their status as sex workers – shows throughout. It's rare to find a private eye novel that feels as realistic as a police procedural, but that's what Wiebe does here. In fact, if there was one thing that kept the novel from being as enjoyable as I might like, it's simply that his commitment to realism outweights his commitment to entertainment. Where nordic noir tends to be bleak while maintaining a streak of undeniable idealism, Invisible Dead tends towards an honest – and therefore depressing – view of its subject matter. I suspect that this will make Wiebe's novels even more compelling for fans of realistic crime fiction.
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  • Simon
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this one. This was a PI novel that stood on the shoulders of the genre and gave it a lift. It took from the past while giving a fresh take. The mood is dark and I don't think I'll view Vancouver the same way again. Well worth a read.
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  • Kris - My Novelesque Life
    January 1, 1970
    INVISIBLE DEAD(Wakeland: #1)Written by Sam Wiebe2016; Random House Canada (320 Pages)Genre: series, fiction, mystery, suspense, noir, canadian, detectiveRATING: 4.5 STARSFormer cop turned private investigator, Dave Wakeland cannot seem to catch a break. He relies on his business partner to bring in the money while he takes on dead end cases. Dave starts to look into the disappearance of Chelsea Loam - who disappeared eleven years ago. Chelsea's foster mother is dying soon and would like to know INVISIBLE DEAD(Wakeland: #1)Written by Sam Wiebe2016; Random House Canada (320 Pages)Genre: series, fiction, mystery, suspense, noir, canadian, detectiveRATING: 4.5 STARSFormer cop turned private investigator, Dave Wakeland cannot seem to catch a break. He relies on his business partner to bring in the money while he takes on dead end cases. Dave starts to look into the disappearance of Chelsea Loam - who disappeared eleven years ago. Chelsea's foster mother is dying soon and would like to know what happened to her eleven years ago. Chelsea is a prostitute and was also in the drug scene so her disappearance have not garnered much attention. When Dave starts digging he finds himself smack in the middle of powerful men who don't want any attention. He also finds himself falling for an ex-schoolmate turned prostitute and drug addict. Can Dave find Chelsea without disappearing himself? Drop Everything And ReadInvisible Dead is set in Vancouver, BC (Canada) so for me it was great knowing exactly where things were happening (and also catch some Canadian and/or Vancouver references). Sam Wiebe is known for Vancouver noir and this novel is a great example of noir. I loved the darkness and grittiness of this mystery/suspense novel. This book is well-written and had me gripped from the beginning. The only thing I was not a fan of was Dave's love interest as I found myself getting annoyed with him. Yet, this "love story" seems realistic with Dave's character. I am looking forward to the next Wakeland book! I would recommend this book to fans of Michael Connelly, Karin Slaughter, Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain. ***I received an eARC from NETGALLEY***My Novelesque Blog
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  • Benoit Lelièvre
    January 1, 1970
    I love a novel that knows what it's trying to be and that doesn't try and take moral responsibility for anything. Sam Wiebe's Invisible Death is, like his first novel, very much a PI story although it feels considerably more polished and atmospheric. Influences of Dashiell Hammett and especially Ross MacDonald were palpable, I thought. Perhaps the novel's calling card is that everything in there is so believable. Private detectives are the most romanticized creatures ever and here is an author p I love a novel that knows what it's trying to be and that doesn't try and take moral responsibility for anything. Sam Wiebe's Invisible Death is, like his first novel, very much a PI story although it feels considerably more polished and atmospheric. Influences of Dashiell Hammett and especially Ross MacDonald were palpable, I thought. Perhaps the novel's calling card is that everything in there is so believable. Private detectives are the most romanticized creatures ever and here is an author putting a flawed, no so witty character through the gauntlet of the underworld. The danger feels crisp and very real through the 300 pages of INVISIBLE DEAD.Not every novel has to reinvent everything. I can appreciate a labor of passion that does things right. Sometimes I don't want my expectations redefined, I want them fulfilled and that's exactly what INVISIBLE DEAD does.
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  • Col
    January 1, 1970
    Synopsis/blurb....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, addictive Synopsis/blurb....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--------------My take....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 5Sam Wiebe has his website here.http://samwiebe.com/His first book - Last of the Independents was read a year or two ago - thoughts here.http://col2910.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09...The second Dave Wakeland book - Cut You Down has just been published. Thoughts on this one coming soon.Read in March, 2018Published - 2018Page count - 321Source - purchased copyFormat - trade paperbackhttps://col2910.blogspot.co.uk/2018/0...
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  • Janie
    January 1, 1970
    I can't overstate how impressed I am by this novel. Sam Wiebe's novel is a detective story that crusades for social justice. It's also about loneliness and identity, and includes the best character portrayals I've read in a long time; Wakeland's past is skillfully filled in bit by bit, just when you need to know more about his motivations. Some of the secondary characters are limned in for now, but already interesting in their own right. I look forward to getting to know them better as the serie I can't overstate how impressed I am by this novel. Sam Wiebe's novel is a detective story that crusades for social justice. It's also about loneliness and identity, and includes the best character portrayals I've read in a long time; Wakeland's past is skillfully filled in bit by bit, just when you need to know more about his motivations. Some of the secondary characters are limned in for now, but already interesting in their own right. I look forward to getting to know them better as the series progresses. The number of missing and murdered aboriginal women in British Columbia whose cases remain unsolved is a disgrace and a tragedy. (http://www.vancouversun.com/news/many...) INVISIBLE DEAD focuses on one fictional victim, Chelsea Loam, and in doing so, paints a picture that handles Chelsea's life and decisions with sensitivity, but without sentimentality. This is, after all, being told through the eyes of a hard-boiled male detective. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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  • Mary Anne
    January 1, 1970
    Deals with the disturbing number of deaths of aboriginal women by focusing on the life of one dead one and one live one. Perhaps a bit too much violence for my taste, but still, how could it go wrong being set in Vancouver?
  • Brian Thornton
    January 1, 1970
    Must-read If you want to see Vancouver in all her glory and grit, read this book. Sam Wiebe turns his city into another, important character in this book, and Vancouver comes alive in his words in much the same manner as Monument Valley did through the lens of John Ford's camera. A must-read for fans of noir or of crime fiction in general!
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  • Andy
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent crime/detective novel set in Vancouver. Sam Wiebe immediately goes on my list of must-read authors.
  • Jose
    January 1, 1970
    I've noticed a lot of the film and literary work done in Vancouver seems very interested in pointing out the criminal aspects of the city. It seems as if the place can't be taken seriously unless some nasty stuff boils at its heart. In this case the centerpiece is decorated with missing native wmen (Who knew?) I have no problem with this desire to give Vancouver a big 'noir', gritty, and corrupt underbelly. I am sure it's there and it would help put Vancouver firmly in the 'great cities to die I've noticed a lot of the film and literary work done in Vancouver seems very interested in pointing out the criminal aspects of the city. It seems as if the place can't be taken seriously unless some nasty stuff boils at its heart. In this case the centerpiece is decorated with missing native wmen (Who knew?) I have no problem with this desire to give Vancouver a big 'noir', gritty, and corrupt underbelly. I am sure it's there and it would help put Vancouver firmly in the 'great cities to die in' list. Beyond the kayak...or something. And for human tragedy, the place has a daily display in East Hastings and beyond. Sam Wiebe's book came to me at a reading I happened to be trapped into while browsing at a second-hand bookstore. I wasn't looking for anything in particular, I couldn't even hear the reading as the author struggled with his voice. But a few people commented how the book is about Vancouver as a "character" -can you be more trite trying to sound smart?. I am a newcomer in Vancouver and, hard as I try , I find it as dull as a hotel lobby, a developer's fantasy gone awry. So here it was, my little guide to the "spirit" of the place. Sam was very friendly and he signed my copy so off I was with my new read. To be fair, the author admitted loving clichés so i was ready for an easy detective romp. The first surprise: it is really well written. Yes, cliches abound and the plot is hardly groundbreaking but soon I was engrossed with the colourful characters and the snappy dialogue. The detective Wakeland is dutifully cynical, tough and terse, a man guided by a duty that seems to be genetic rather than sensible. I won't go into describing some of the other members of the cast as there are many. From the alpha-criminal Rhodes and other depraved bastions of civic pride to the petty criminals, prostitutes, addicts and lawyers. Some scenes felt particularly hard to read, dense with violence and threat. As any good Vancouver novel should, the scenes with dogs stick in my memory. They would made a great movie I'd never manage to watch. The ending was a bit tortured in places with the final revelation coming out of nowhere and managing to be both unsurprising and inexplicable considering the smart turns the author concocts in other places. If something ruins an otherwise excellent detective story it is a weak ending. -There is also a love story that seems to be a bit contrived as well except for the fact that it wasn't really substantial to the story, more like an effort to give our hero a doomed romance in the way other books of the genre tend to do. "Femme fatale" our PI's squeeze isn't . Undeniable talent for very good writing gets my stars any day. Great characters and a lot of them is also a good omen. Good sense of pace and creation of memorable scenes is one hair short of a great plot. So it's missing a real arch, a conclusion as luscious as the rest of the gripping prose....oh well. One could do a lot worse. As for Vancouver itself, I still have to see what the author likes so much about it. But apparently, it beats Winnipeg.
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  • Cail
    January 1, 1970
    I finished the last chunk of this book in downtown Los Angeles. It suits a full stomach and a cold beer, elbows on the bar. Sam writes with a gritty aplomb that draws you in, and like a good tour-guide should, shows you locals-only spots. It was cool and unusual (to me) to experience reading a book where I'm intimately familiar with the city and settings. The narrative is strong and it's hard to put down. It does what the best crime fiction should: keeps you guessing, about who committed the cri I finished the last chunk of this book in downtown Los Angeles. It suits a full stomach and a cold beer, elbows on the bar. Sam writes with a gritty aplomb that draws you in, and like a good tour-guide should, shows you locals-only spots. It was cool and unusual (to me) to experience reading a book where I'm intimately familiar with the city and settings. The narrative is strong and it's hard to put down. It does what the best crime fiction should: keeps you guessing, about who committed the crime and how long can Wakeland stay alive. A bold Vancouver novel that should be read far beyond this fair city.
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  • Bret Kinghorn
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book through a goodreads giveaway. I entered the giveaway thinking that it may be a decent book to read, and hey, that's face it, it was free.It follows Dave Wakeland, a PI and one time (very short time) Vancouver Cop. He is hired to track down am Aboriginal girl who had gone missing. The plot alone seems torn from the headlines of Canadian news. For years women, mostly Aboriginal and mostly sex trade workers, have gone missing from Vancouver. The women in this story is both and I received this book through a goodreads giveaway. I entered the giveaway thinking that it may be a decent book to read, and hey, that's face it, it was free.It follows Dave Wakeland, a PI and one time (very short time) Vancouver Cop. He is hired to track down am Aboriginal girl who had gone missing. The plot alone seems torn from the headlines of Canadian news. For years women, mostly Aboriginal and mostly sex trade workers, have gone missing from Vancouver. The women in this story is both and could easily be one of those women who has disappeared without a trace (Picton case aside). To say Wakeland is tormented by past demons would be a weak choice of words. This torment seems to drive him in the case, all the while he seems to care deeply about Chelsea (the missing women) and then not care. He enlists the help of many people, who some would consider to be the underbelly of society, to try to find her. He uses dirty tactics at times, but it works. The hunt is hard enough given that Chelsea disappeared 11 years prior. What makes it worse is that he seems to be trying to find a woman that someone will stop at nothing to keep lost. This puts him up against a local bike gang, along with some small time crooks and someone(s) with the money to keep him out of the loop.I said earlier that I thought it may be a nice read. It turned out to be an excellent story. It was gritty, fast paced and very well written. Sam Wiebe's description of some of the seedier areas of Vancouver are so well done, you'd swear you were there. The only reason I did not give it the 5th star was because there were a few points in which it felt that the characters dialogue was strained. It doesn't detract from the story though.All in all, if you like a good mystery, laced with action, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this book.
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  • Ameema Saeed
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book as an ARC, and although it is not my usual sort of book, I was intrigued by the description - and rightly so. It was great to read a book that touched (a little bit) on issues like colonialism, violence against sex workers, addictions, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous and Aboriginal women. I liked that a lot of the characters were self-deprecating (almost anti-heroes, at the risk of using that cliche). I wasn't expecting to like the protagonist, Dave Wakeland, as much as I di I read this book as an ARC, and although it is not my usual sort of book, I was intrigued by the description - and rightly so. It was great to read a book that touched (a little bit) on issues like colonialism, violence against sex workers, addictions, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous and Aboriginal women. I liked that a lot of the characters were self-deprecating (almost anti-heroes, at the risk of using that cliche). I wasn't expecting to like the protagonist, Dave Wakeland, as much as I did - I thought he would be predictable and dry, but he kept surprising me, and I really love him as a character. The writing style was a bit hard to follow at times - the author would start by describing something that happened without really leading into it, which was a little confusing and frustrating, because I found that I had to re-read paragraphs (multiple times, on occasion) in order to see if I missed something, only to have it clarified in the next paragraph. I can see this becoming a movie series eventually, and I can see myself watching (and enjoying) it. I really enjoyed the book overall, and am looking forward to reading more books from Wiebe's Dave Wakeland series.
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  • Christina
    January 1, 1970
    * I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review *Wow. This book is potent. In all honesty, I almost abandoned it a third of the way through. I set it aside and came back to it after several months -- and I'm glad I did. I'm not sure why it didn't grab me right away but when I picked it up the second time, I eagerly read straight through. The story is emotional but serious -- I wish I could say it's truly fiction. While it is a fictional story, the characters & situ * I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review *Wow. This book is potent. In all honesty, I almost abandoned it a third of the way through. I set it aside and came back to it after several months -- and I'm glad I did. I'm not sure why it didn't grab me right away but when I picked it up the second time, I eagerly read straight through. The story is emotional but serious -- I wish I could say it's truly fiction. While it is a fictional story, the characters & situations are (sadly) all too real. Made even more real by the author's honest and intelligent writing style, it's a world we need to see. Invisible dead, indeed. Ironically I had the book in my bag when I inadvertently found myself in the middle of the Strawberry Ceremony on Valentine's Day in Toronto. I had no idea it existed and I'm so very glad the universe placed me there. My heart is bigger because of this and for having read this book. Thank you for writing it. <3
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  • Ashley Corbett
    January 1, 1970
    This novel kept my interest and I loved the characters. I felt connected to each of them (even though I have nothing in common with any of them), which isn't always an easy task for an author. I WILL definitely be reading the next book in the series, even if juat for the characters. I enjoyed the book but it just wasn't un-put-down-able. I was interested and absolutely had to finish it, but there wasn't a point where I absolutely couldn't put it down! There are a lot of secondary characters that This novel kept my interest and I loved the characters. I felt connected to each of them (even though I have nothing in common with any of them), which isn't always an easy task for an author. I WILL definitely be reading the next book in the series, even if juat for the characters. I enjoyed the book but it just wasn't un-put-down-able. I was interested and absolutely had to finish it, but there wasn't a point where I absolutely couldn't put it down! There are a lot of secondary characters that are barely described but referenced often and I found myself going back in the book to try and remember who they were. Others rave about the ending but honestly I was left confused and had to reread an entire chapter from the first 100 pages to realize what I'd missed. Still, 3.5 stars.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Sam Wiebe does all the right things in Invisible Dead. Every sentence, every word is effective and well crafted. The dialogue is crisp and realistic. The characters are revealed through their actions and interactions, little by little. Wiebe catches the flavours of the different neighbourhoods in Vancouver very well.My only criticism is that although the subject matter is dark, the story didn't feel gritty like I thought it should. I was never concerned about the protagonist's safety because Dav Sam Wiebe does all the right things in Invisible Dead. Every sentence, every word is effective and well crafted. The dialogue is crisp and realistic. The characters are revealed through their actions and interactions, little by little. Wiebe catches the flavours of the different neighbourhoods in Vancouver very well.My only criticism is that although the subject matter is dark, the story didn't feel gritty like I thought it should. I was never concerned about the protagonist's safety because David Wakefield didn't seem concerned. He's too likable to complain about for long though, that Wakefield.I'll be reading Wiebe's other book, Last of the Independents, in the near future.
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  • John Eldridge
    January 1, 1970
    Author Sam Wiebe knows Vancouver very well. I like his descriptions of the gritty side of life in the city. Invisible Dead is a good crime story and anyone who is familiar with Vancouver knows that the subject matter is very current. A good read that held my interest as I tried to figure out who did the crime.
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  • Caroline Ingvaldsen
    January 1, 1970
    The first Dave Wakeland mystery is not only a splendidly written homage to the golden age of 20th century PI noir, it's an absorbing journey through the gritty reality of drugs, prostitution and missing women of 21st century Vancouver.
  • Robert Bose
    January 1, 1970
    Another excellent dark gritty detective tale from Sam Wiebe. Loved the Vancouver setting and great cast of characters. Highly recommended!
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I liked the story but the ending seemed rushed, too easy, like "she woke up and realize it was just a dream". 2.5 stars for me!
  • Trevor Pearson
    January 1, 1970
    Received a copy of The Invisible Dead by Sam Wiebe through the GoodReads First Reads Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review "Cases. I was doing what the authorities did - treating her as a thing. A collection of scraps of paper, captured images and faint recollections. Chelsea Anne Loam had lived. She'd been one of the billions. Maybe that didn't entitle her to anything. There's so many of us, it's hard to maintain the belief that any one of us matters. Maybe impossible. We value our Received a copy of The Invisible Dead by Sam Wiebe through the GoodReads First Reads Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review "Cases. I was doing what the authorities did - treating her as a thing. A collection of scraps of paper, captured images and faint recollections. Chelsea Anne Loam had lived. She'd been one of the billions. Maybe that didn't entitle her to anything. There's so many of us, it's hard to maintain the belief that any one of us matters. Maybe impossible. We value our own life, our friends, those near us, those that look like us. But maybe that speaks only in our vanity, our need to see reflections of ourselves everywhere." The belief of street women in Vancouver being valueless is unjustly proficient and leads to a prejudiced view of First Nation's people that forms an attitude of racism and sexism that is all to common in today's inner cities. As much as you may believe that there is a pattern of behaviour or injustices for the people inhabiting the streets, in some cases there is no distinct recipe for why they choose the path that they do. It may be love, it may be drugs, it may be fear, it could be a miscalculated investment, it may be undiagnosed mental illness, it could be death, it could be denial; it could be anything, or it could be everything. The Invisible Dead by Sam Wiebe shines a light on the loneliness of the big city, the public's marginalization of the sex trade worker along with the vulnerability they face. Books like these often change your perspective of the big city, the unaccounted for victims and the amount of untold stories. Nameless and endless.Dave Wakeland is a twenty-something private investigator serving the lower mainland of the Vancouver area in partnership with Jefferson Chen and their private security firm. An ex-cop who quit the force because he didn't quite fit the criteria of being a schmoozer extraordinaire or enjoy the fake smile while ingratiating himself to the key political figures at the quarterly balls; Dave finally decided enough was enough. From a personal standpoint he's not much different as he often wonders to himself how long it would take to rip the happiness out of even the most vivacious of personalities. This dude is in serious need of a puppy and/or cookie dough ice cream. As an independent contractor with no quotas to meet or supervisors to please, Dave has established a habit of taking on unsolvable cases rather than the easy money which has infuriated his more level-headed, and monetarily goal oriented partner. Currently investigating another cold case, Dave has been beckoned by an affluent woman to take on the investigation of her daughter Chelsea who has been missing for eleven years. Another case of a drug addicted sex trade worker who, like all the other victims, local authorities never gave a shit to throw a cent of taxpayers money at. Instead it took a few hundred thousand dollars in the direction of a man with an attitude to kill or be killed for closure to a case that has been frozen solid for far too long. It wasn't about the money, what Dave ultimately wanted was not self-indulgent, it was to save people, he needed somebody to protect and whatever evil came his way was simply part of the job. Dave spent most of his professional life torturing himself on cold cases and it looked like he was once again going down that haunted and lonely. Dave often internally debated whether Chelsea's disappearance was best left as a fog hanging over the Vancouver harbor, slowly pacing towards the city's underbelly rather than being revealed, but you know and I know that that's straight bullshit, questions were going to be answered one way or another. An anonymous note at the door has incited a new hope leading Dave to a federal penitentiary to talk to a proficient killer of runaways and prostitutes that strangely resembles the notorious Vancouver pig farmer Robert Pickton; hmmmmmm. As optimistic as the mother was it also reopened emotional scars that have just started to scar over. In the time before her disappearance Chelsea became a drug addict and a prostitute after showing warning signs during her teenage years. She also become desperate to find her birth mother, so much so she often made dangerous decisions that put her in harms way. At the age of thirteen Chelsea was adopted by the Loam family, which is truly unique in the foster care system, but one that Gail and Lew Kirby took very seriously and with the very best of intentions. After Lew died in an industrial accident the family was granted a substantial settlement and the Kirby family would never be the same again. "Somewhere above or below ground was a woman who'd vanished when she was twenty-four and would be thirty-five this year. The world hadn't paused. Hadn't even noticed. With all the global positioning satellites and surveillance cameras that now blanketed the city in a unified field of transmissions, we were no safer - maybe much less so. Our technology makes us blind to the fact that we're humans, with an inborn need to wreckage transcend any system we come up with. Cameras can't stop us from disappearing - they're one more thing to hurl angrily into the approaching void." Caitlin is the lone blood born to the Kirby's, but shares a varying opinion to her mother's as it pertains to the current state of her adopted sister. Caitlin believes Chelsea finally became a victim to her horrible decision making and that Dave is bilking her terminally ill mother for money that could be better wasted elsewhere. For Caitlin growing up in the Kirby household was not as rosy as it appeared to be, Caitlin felt that books and movies raised her and believed that after Chelsea went missing there was not enough parental time and attention paid to her. There is a resentment from her end to say the least from, and one that won't stop until she's the last remaining Kirby remaining above ground. Charity became her identity, a Caucasian/aboriginal street walker that received plenty of attention from high-ranking John's turning big-time, high-stakes tricks. Not white enough, not native enough, she was caught in between two cultures and tried her best to take advantage of her inability to fit in to her environment using sex as her sole means. As years go on, time waits for nobody and with drug abuse comes a loss of beauty that came oh so naturally once before. Desperate times calls for desperate measures Charity met a guy in treatment named Kamikaze, two young people battling their inner demons together with the utilization of drugs and sex to help mute their inner voices and distract their pain with pleasure. She thought she was getting clean, seeking help, relapsing, withdrawing, finding a confidante; when in reality she was going down a treacherous path to being auctioned off on the meat market to the highest bidder with no rules, regulations, or safe words, sinking deeper until she evaporated out of thin air with no one around to save her. Chelsea becomes pregnant and gives birth to a heroin-addicted child whom she wanted to give up for adoption but her mother was steadfast in her decision to keep him. When Chelsea went missing Caitlin became a reluctant mother, with her father dead, her mother devoted all of her free time to finding Chelsea and a family became lost as well.Pardon the pun but The Invisible Dead by Sam Wiebe seemed to flat line too much for my liking. What I enjoy most about whodunit's is a cleverly write story that keeps you guessing with a few twist and turns along the way, establishing a tone and pace where along the way the reader figures many of the assembled cast of characters to be the killer at one time or another with no chance of being right but a sense of reasoning in the end. The author likes to be a little grimy, which I enjoy, but if other readers are put off by a play by play commentary of a beating in front of friends and a dog going to town on a man's leg as a means to subordination to the gang leader just remember that it may not be good for one's confidence, but it may save your life. The more you know and you're welcome. The one key distinguishable element that this author presents is a showcase for his abilities as a literary novelist without losing the point of providing a character-laden, plot-driven mystery, and his penchant for being naughty. "The pattern of living out your parents' lives without learning anything, without avoiding the pitfalls that had brought them down. Wasn't that an almost universal fear? And yet whoever avoided that completely? Anne Loam separated from her family, Chelsea from hers, Kevin from his. In a way Chelsea had been the most fortunate. She'd ended up with people who loved her. But was that enough? Maybe her fate had been written into her blood and tissue, in a place that a foster family's love couldn't reach."
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  • Darrell Reimer
    January 1, 1970
    Some choice quotes from Sam Wiebe's PI narrator, Dave Wakeland: "Whoever had called Vancouver a city of glass hadn’t been talking about my city"; "Far from being kind-hearted rustics, the islanders are real estate swindlers, corporate sleazes, tycoons, stock manipulators. And lawyers. Lots of lawyers. Bowen Island is a refuge for the undeserving"; "[The architect's] fondness for concrete and despair helped earn SFU the unflattering distinction of having the highest suicide rate among Canadian un Some choice quotes from Sam Wiebe's PI narrator, Dave Wakeland: "Whoever had called Vancouver a city of glass hadn’t been talking about my city"; "Far from being kind-hearted rustics, the islanders are real estate swindlers, corporate sleazes, tycoons, stock manipulators. And lawyers. Lots of lawyers. Bowen Island is a refuge for the undeserving"; "[The architect's] fondness for concrete and despair helped earn SFU the unflattering distinction of having the highest suicide rate among Canadian universities"; and perhaps most tellingly, "And I know the idea of a person having a soul is laughable, obscene even, given this world of mass destruction, of epidemics, of fast food genocide. It is unprovable and it is silly and I hold on to it, clinging, with all my terrified strength."The last is as metaphysical as Wakeland or Wiebe get, but it's enough to leaven what is an almost punishingly physical read. Wakeland's pursuit of a woman -- a junkie and a prostitute -- who vanished a number of years ago is quixotic in the extreme: by now the number of women who have "disappeared" from the streets of Vancouver would be enough to populate a city all their own. The investigation nets him more than one beating, and leads him down unexpected paths that pull together seemingly disparate strata Vancouver society.Wiebe seems heavily influenced by both Ross and John D. MacDonald, dragging their bruised and weary Galahads into a world where digital cameras and Google searches necessarily contribute to the intrigue. With this novel Wiebe's Vancouver is poised to join the MacDonalds' LA and Florida as a locale that mirrors the disparities and vagaries within the human heart.This is accomplished contemporary pulp noir, in other words -- a terrific launch.
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  • K.A. Wiggins
    January 1, 1970
    I do read mysteries, but I don't tend to read the gritty crime/noir genre. Too dark, in most cases. I loved this, though. Wiebe captures the culture, ephemera, and atmosphere of Vancouver with endless telling details, making his narrative about crime and the seedy, dark underbelly of the city all the more alarming. Reads smoothly and convincingly, with all-too-recognizable characters. The endless men (and some women) dismissing the harm they do to others, particularly to the most vulnerable (and I do read mysteries, but I don't tend to read the gritty crime/noir genre. Too dark, in most cases. I loved this, though. Wiebe captures the culture, ephemera, and atmosphere of Vancouver with endless telling details, making his narrative about crime and the seedy, dark underbelly of the city all the more alarming. Reads smoothly and convincingly, with all-too-recognizable characters. The endless men (and some women) dismissing the harm they do to others, particularly to the most vulnerable (and often First Nations and visible minority) women, are the company owners I've worked with and for, the powerful and dismissive, the entitled and self-satisfied, and most of all, the casually careless.The specificity of eating out in Vancouver and enjoying the views are so common in the city as to be living stereotypes, and the friendly familiarity of the lifestyle and location details drives the knife in even further as one character after another drives the women who've suffered in this book, and on our streets in real life, further into the mud.I prefer reading mysteries set in exotic foreign places and times. New York. Chicago. London. Paris. 1920s. 1940s. A crime novel calling out not only the shady hidden figures of my Vancouver, but all of us in the city, privileged and struggling alike, for glossing past, stepping over, and treating with casual disdain and irresponsibility the ones having the hardest time surviving, hits far too close to home. But there's a balance of hope and tenacity in this book that keeps the darkness from feeling entirely crushing. So I'll read more of Wiebe's work, if only to remind myself of the faces, the voices, and the stories I need to not forget.
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    At first, I was unsure what to make of the protagonist's almost painstaking descriptions of his wanderings around Vancouver. But then I realized this setting is absolutely essential to the foundation of this story; after all, this is where marginalized women disappear, largely without a second thought. They truly are the "invisible dead." Why shouldn't this dark underside of Vancouver be laid bare for all to see? This novel is a gritty, fast-paced page-turner and, while true that the subject mat At first, I was unsure what to make of the protagonist's almost painstaking descriptions of his wanderings around Vancouver. But then I realized this setting is absolutely essential to the foundation of this story; after all, this is where marginalized women disappear, largely without a second thought. They truly are the "invisible dead." Why shouldn't this dark underside of Vancouver be laid bare for all to see? This novel is a gritty, fast-paced page-turner and, while true that the subject matter may be disturbing and violent at times, this is based on reality of what has happened (is happening) in this urban center - and therefore, is something readers should not shy away from. As a resident of Vancouver, I'm aware of activity and discussions that have taken place here regarding murdered and missing indigenous women and I appreciate the effort that Sam Wiebe has taken to write a story based on this very sad issue. As Wiebe exclaims in his afterword, "This marginalization is not new. This, unfortunately, is part of our way of life." And as he suggests, I will be picking up Stevie Cameron's "On the Farm" for a closer look at Vancouver's troubled history because, as someone who lives here, sharing space with those who have much less, I think this is important to understand - particularly by anyone lucky enough to exist under more fortunate circumstances than those represented by the character of Chelsea Loam. After that, I look forward to reading the next in the Wakeland series.
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  • Joanne
    January 1, 1970
    Oh man, this book is good. It was described as Vancouver noir in one review, and that is on the nose. However, it is so much more. It might increase your understanding of some of his references if you know about the serial killer who stalked the streets of Vancouver 15 years ago, or the appalling number of murdered and missing First Nations women in this country. Invisible Dead indeed!What I really like about this book is Wiebe's obvious love/hate relationship with the streets of Vancouver. His Oh man, this book is good. It was described as Vancouver noir in one review, and that is on the nose. However, it is so much more. It might increase your understanding of some of his references if you know about the serial killer who stalked the streets of Vancouver 15 years ago, or the appalling number of murdered and missing First Nations women in this country. Invisible Dead indeed!What I really like about this book is Wiebe's obvious love/hate relationship with the streets of Vancouver. His descriptions of the various locales evoke the dark side of the city so vividly, and yet he can describe the beauty of sitting on a park bench and you can smell the salt air.This book is not for the squeamish: a number of people die in grizzly ways. The sense of ugly menace is on every page. And yet, even though I usually hate and avoid that kind of material, it didn't bother me in this book. It was just too good. I'm diving right into the second book in this series, after I get a good night's sleep. I can't stay up late every night diving into the dark side.
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  • Steve Aldous
    January 1, 1970
    Whilst there are occasional affectionate nods to its pulp fiction roots, this is a thoroughly modern take on the first-person private eye mystery. Here the case surrounds the search for a girl who has been missing for ten years, having been estranged from her family after being sucked into a life of drugs and prostitution. Wiebe’s view of this sleazy world is a nasty and violent one populated with self-satisfying characters who you would not want to meet on the dark streets. Throughout this, the Whilst there are occasional affectionate nods to its pulp fiction roots, this is a thoroughly modern take on the first-person private eye mystery. Here the case surrounds the search for a girl who has been missing for ten years, having been estranged from her family after being sucked into a life of drugs and prostitution. Wiebe’s view of this sleazy world is a nasty and violent one populated with self-satisfying characters who you would not want to meet on the dark streets. Throughout this, the writer manages to keep Wakeland a likeable hero – seemingly the only character in the book with a moral compass – and it is his observations that keep the book readable through to its inevitable conclusion. It is not for the faint-hearted – there are a number of unpleasant sequences, which may suggest Wiebe is trying too hard to shock at times. But it may also be that he is merely trying to de-glamorise the legacy he pays homage to.
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  • Susan Hamilton
    January 1, 1970
    It is always enjoyable reading books written and based in the city you live in. That being said, I still want to be able to enjoy the read. This is one of those books. All throughout there are reference to places and people who are in greater Vancouver as well as some which allude to places, using other names. I also got to hear a talk by the author, when he came to our class to discuss it, and was made to appreciate the book even more.So I won't go too much into detail on the book, but it addre It is always enjoyable reading books written and based in the city you live in. That being said, I still want to be able to enjoy the read. This is one of those books. All throughout there are reference to places and people who are in greater Vancouver as well as some which allude to places, using other names. I also got to hear a talk by the author, when he came to our class to discuss it, and was made to appreciate the book even more.So I won't go too much into detail on the book, but it addresses many key issues which dominate BC. Examples of this are the bike gangs, prostitution and drug abuse, missing women and police involvement in searching for them, and the prosecution of First Nation's people in Canada. Give it a read if you enjoy mystery novels, private detectives, Canadian lit, BC lit, or a good read.
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  • Jack Garton
    January 1, 1970
    A young woman is missing. Dave Wakeland, P.I. is hired to solve the mystery. In his second novel Invisible Dead, Sam Wiebe leads us into the heart of one of Canada's open wounds, the ongoing indifference to cases of missing indigenous women. Page by page, Wiebe dissects the labyrinthine power structures of the street, corporate and gang worlds in a complicit Vancouver he renders hauntingly familiar. Can a crime novel be culturally important? This one proves the answer to be yes.
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  • Marie-Pier
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book via the Goodreads Giveaway more then a year ago... Better late then neverI liked the book, but found the end a little too much fast. I would of love to know more about the relation of Shay and Dave after the story and what happen with Terry. I had the feeling that the end was "we have ten page left so let finish it". But the story was good and I'm excited to read the second one soon.
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