Sam Wiebe


Blog posts : "General"

Newsletter Launch

I'm starting a monthly-ish newsletter for book and film/TV news, upcoming events and seminars, interviews with other writers, and the odd bit of writing advice. I set a modest signup goal, which has already been exceeded--so thanks to everyone who has signed up! If you'd like to, you can sign up here:

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The Hammett Prize

Cut You Down has been nominated for the 2019 Hammett Prize by the North American branch of the International Association of Crime Writers. What an honour!


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Happy 2019!

Tomorrow is the U.S. paperback release for Cut You Down. This book probably shouldn’t exist in that format. That it does is a minor miracle.


When it came out in US hardcover, Cut You Down got rave reviews, though it didn’t break any sales records. It didn’t help that its publisher is going through some changes. But the book came out the way I wanted it to, and as fates go, that’s not the worst. 


This wasn’t written to chase a trend. It’s neither a domestic suspense thriller with Girl in the title, nor an action thriller about a super-tough sociopath.


It’s a private eye novel (strike one), second in a series (strike two), set in a Canadian city in the Pacific Northwest (let's be generous and call that a foul tip). The body count is reasonable and the dead and living are written about as people, as much as my abilities permit.


That two of the biggest publishers took a shot on Cut You Down (3 counting Blackstone Audio) speaks to a faith in…something. Maybe the writing. Maybe that readers aren’t entirely reducible to trends. That companies can sometimes act on faith at all is miraculous.


I hope you give the book a shot. I hope you enjoy it. 2019 is looking dark and bloody and grand.

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Praise for Vancouver Noir

The reviews for the new anthology have been stellar, so far. Here are a few excerpts:

Praise for Vancouver Noir:

"The stories range widely in their subject matter and writing styles, but they have a couple of things in common: impeccably rendered characters, dialogue that rings true, and a plot that pulls the reader in from the very first paragraph. Another winner in this always-interesting series and a real treat for fans of short crime fiction."

"Vancouver Noir is an excellent anthology that would appeal to short-story fans of all types...the new anthology serves as a fantastic introduction for those unfamiliar with the genre and a reminder that Canada, bursting with amazing writers, is one of the strongest countries for crime writing in the world."
Quill and Quire (starred review)

"Noir aficionados will find plenty to like"
Publishers Weekly

"Given the book's mix of wily pros, moody misfits, bewildered bystanders, and a touch of the supernatural, Wiebe makes a strong case that as far as crime is concerned, Vancouver is "a city like any other.""

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Vancouver Noir

Vancouver Noir comes out in less than a week! You can pre-order here: 

For those of you in the Vancouver area, the book launch will be November 8th, 7pm, at the Shebeen Whiskey Room, behind the Irish Heather on Carrall Street. Hope to see you there!

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Mystery Writing Masterclass Oct 6th

Have an idea for a mystery novel? Mired in the middle of a tough first draft? Wondering what revisions will make your work publication-ready? Then this is the class for you!

Join acclaimed author Sam Wiebe for a seminar focused on mystery and crime writing. You’ll learn how to develop ideas, create characters, write an opening that hooks readers, plant clues and plot your story, and revise your work like a pro. 

We’ll cover:
Where to find ideas, and how to develop them
Creating your detective, suspects, and killers.
Writing an opening that hooks readers
Planting clues and red herrings
Plotting and structuring your novel
Common errors and how to fix them
Revising and submitting your work like a pro

Suitable for beginners to intermediate writers, and all genres.

Course material and pencil provided.

Register via Eventbrite

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Cut You Down Reviews and Vancouver Noir news

Great new review of Cut You Down by Tara Henley in the Toronto Star:

"Sam Wiebe’s excellent new novel, Cut You Down...proves a study in both riveting crime writing and stark social realism."

You can check out the full review here.

Vancouver Noir can be pre-ordered here (Indiebound link--it's easily searchable on Amazon, too).  There will be a launch event in Vancouver in the fall, which I hope to announce shortly.


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Cut You Down

Have you checked out Cut You Down? Here are what the reviews say:

The Georgia Straight: "Wiebe sharpens his prose to a point."

Midwest Book Review: "Another deftly crafted gem by a master of the genre, Sam Wiebe’s Cut You Down is a riveting read from cover to cover."

Dead End Follies: "Sam Wiebe is a master of tone and atmosphere."

Cemetery Dance: "Recommended for noir fans." …

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Mystery Writing Masterclass: Crime in the Suburbs; Crime Fiction and Fact

Registration for the Mystery Writing Masterclass is filling up nicely!
If you've always wanted to write crime and mystery fiction, this is the class for you!
June 9th at SFU Harbour Centre, EJ Safarik Sr Conference Room, 10-2:30.

see for details, or buy tickets at:

Also upcoming: an event at Book Warehouse Main Street on June 12th with Charlie Demers and Michelle Kim.

On June 13th, I'll be giving a talk at the Vancouver Police Museum on "Vancouver Crime Fiction and Fact."

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Mystery Writing Masterclass Seminar

June 9th I'm running a "Mystery Writing Masterclass" at SFU Harbour Centre (Downtown Vancouver) from 10-230. Registration is open now. Details below.

Mystery Writing Masterclass with Sam Wiebe


Have an idea for a mystery novel? Mired in the middle of a tough first draft? Wondering what revisions will make your work publication-ready? Then this is the class for you!

Join acclaimed author Sam Wiebe for a seminar focused on novel writing, with special emphasis on the crime and mystery genre. Topics include developing ideas, creating characters, fine-tuning plot, and revising your work for submission. Suitable for beginners to intermediate writers, and applicable to all genres of narrative fiction, this fun and interactive masterclass is based on materials developed from Sam’s residency at the Vancouver Public Library. 

We’ll cover:

Where to find ideas, and how to develop them

Creating your detective, suspects, and killers.

Writing an opening that hooks readers

Planting clues and red herrings

Plotting and structuring your novel

Common errors and how to fix them

Revising and submitting your work like a pro


Course booklet and pencil provided. Registration limited.

Sam Wiebe is the author of three critically acclaimed novels: Cut You Down, Invisible Dead, and Last of the Independents. He has won the Arthur Ellis Award and the Kobo Emerging Writers Prize, and has been nominated for the Shamus Award and the City of Vancouver Book Award. He’s the editor of the forthcoming anthology Vancouver Noir, and has published short fiction and articles in various publications. Wiebe was the 2016 Vancouver Public Library Writer in Residence, and has given lectures and seminars internationally, including the Write on the Sound conference and ThrillerFest New York. He holds an MA (English) from SFU. Visit for more information.




Saturday, June 9th, 2018 

10:00 am – 2:30 pm,

SFU Harbour Centre, EJ Safarik Conference Room,

DATE: June 9th, 2018,

TIME: 10:00am-2:30pm

DURATION: Four hours with two short breaks.

LOCATION: EJ Safarik Sr Conference Room, HC 2235

Simon Fraser University Harbour Center Campus

515 West Hastings St, a three-minute walk from Waterfront Station

FEE: $115

Materials Provided: Booklet with course content, paper and pencils.



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Seattle Event, Reviews, What am I Reading

March was a very difficult month. I had to cancel and reschedule several events, and it's taken me this long to get back into things. But I have some good news to share 

My event at Third Place Books in Seattle has been rescheduled for Thursday May 17th, 7pm, at the Forest Park location. I'll be in conversation with Brian Thornton, author, editor, former President of Mystery Writers America's Pacific Northwest chapter, and all-around great guy. It should be a terrific night. 

My books are available at Third Place right now, in person or on their website: .

If you're looking for a free ebook, follow the link and pick up Hollywood North, a free Wakeland story available on their Kobo page.

A couple of new reviews I'm happy to share:

Col's Criminal Library gives CUT YOU DOWN 4.5/5, saying "Wiebe serves up another compelling, edge of the seat tale."

Unnerving Magazine says "CUT YOU DOWN has thrills and suspense, emotion and grit. Quality read."

For all reviews, go to my Cut You Down page.

If you get a minute, please review the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indigo, or any other booksellers' site. It helps authors. 

OK, enough business. What am I reading these days?

Honestly, I've read very little over the last month. I did watch the first season of Hap and Leonard, which does credit to Joe Lansdale's book series. I read the second novel, Mucho Mojo, and am working on the third, the Two-Bear Mambo. I also read Sheena Kamal's follow-up to her excellent debut The Lost Ones, which is called It All Falls Down. It's even better than the first. There are a lot of great crime books coming out soon, including Jennifer Hillier's Jar of Hearts, Owen Laukkanen's Gale Force, and Charles Demers's Property Values, which I was happy to blurb.There's a wealth of great writing out there.

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Hollywood North

"Hollywood North" is out, published by Quercus USA, March 2018.  
This is a FREE e-book that features Dave Wakeland investigating the disappearance of a poet-turned sitcom writer. "Hollywood North" includes an excerpt from CUT YOU DOWN.

Check it out here.




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The CUT YOU DOWN Reviews are In, plus new article

My article "Expect No Mercy: Crime Fiction and Gentrification" is live over at Crime Reads. I've gotten great feedback on it so far, and I feel like it lays out some of the things I'm going for in Cut You Down.

Speaking of which: several rave reviews have come in for Cut You Down. Due to circumstances I haven't posted them before today, but they've been a small bright spot in a gloomy couple of weeks.

From the New York Journal of Books: “A wonderful setting and likeable characters, lots of action and subtle humor will have readers calling for more stories featuring David Wakeland.

From Killer Nashville, where it was a Book of the Day: "Sam Wiebe has built a reputation for creating PIs who seem straight out of the pulp fiction classics. Cut You Down will only add to it."

From JessicaMapReviews: "The writing was great and I loved the rough around the edges Wakeland. I can’t wait to see where Wiebe takes him next!"

From Steve Aberle: "
A  a first-class story...a compulsory P.I. novel of the best kind."

If you've read Cut You Down, please leave a review on Amazon, Indigo or Barnes and Noble, and help spread the word. And if you haven't read it yet, give it a try.

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My dad passed away last Tuesday. Since then my mom and brothers and I have been dealing with our grief and the arrangements.
It was unexpected, but peaceful. He was a warm and genuine person, and I have a lot of great memories. That's some comfort.
Because of this, I've cancelled several book events, including tonight's talk with Brian Thornton at Third Place Books in Seattle. I hope to reschedule these at some point in the future. Apologies to those organizing or planning on attending.
Thanks to the people who've reached out--if we don't get back to you immediately or individually, I hope you'll understand.
My dad's memorial service is this Friday, 1-3, at Seaview Fellowship Hall in South Surrey/White Rock.

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Vancouver Noir announcement

Thrilled to announce that Vancouver Noir, the anthology I edited for Akashic Books, has a release date of November 2018! 

Vancouver Noir features new stories from Timothy Taylor, Sheena Kamal, Nathan Ripley, Yasuko Thanh, Carleigh Baker, Dietrich Kalteis, Linda Richards, Robin Spano, Nick Mamatas, RM Greenaway, Don English, SG Wong, Kristi Charish...and yours truly. The astonishing cover art comes from the great Mel Yap.

From the introduction: 

"You might wonder what shadows could exist in Vancouver, rain-spattered jewel of the Pacific Northwest. Nestled between the US border and the Coast Mountains, the city's postcard charms are familiar, even to those who've never been here, thanks to the films and TV shows shot in Hollywood North: The X-Files and Deadpool, Rumble in the Bronx and Jason Takes Manhattan. Vancouver is the so-called City of Glass. A nice place, in any case, and much too nice for noir. Looked at from afar, Vancouver may seem idyllic.

But living here is different--cold and baffling and occasionally hostile. While outsiders focus on high-test BC bud, locals see a heroin crises: Vancouver is home to the first legalized safe injection site in North America, now heavily taxed by overdoses resulting from street drugs cut with fentanyl. It's ground zero for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, a nationwide catastrophe involving the deaths and disappearances of hundreds of marginalized women. Money and status trample culture and community.

If Vancouver is a city of glass, that glass is underneath our feet."

VANCOUVER NOIR is out November 6th, 2018. Pre-order yours today!



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Upcoming events, AMA, and Reviews

The reviews for CUT YOU DOWN have been tremendous. In addition to a starred review from Publishers Weekly, Here are a couple others:

Mystery People named CUT YOU DOWN one of its February picks, calling it "a fresh spin on the tough yet emotionally vulnerable private eye."

Susan Hoover on Reviewing the Evidence says, "CUT YOU DOWN is an edge of the seat thriller. I held my breath through the last fifty pages...Sam Wiebe has done a great job of scaring the pants off the reader."

It's also on the cover of Publishers Weekly this month.

This is going to be a busy spring. Next week is the Galiano Island Writers Fest, where I'll be the guest for a live taping of the Well Reds podcast, hosted by Charles Demers. That's on Sunday at noon.

March 6th I'll be at Book Warehouse on Main Street, along with Dietrich Kalteis, Eve Lazarus, and Kate Bird, for an event called Vancouver Crime, Fact and Fiction.

March 9th I'll be down in Olympia, Washington, at Orca Books. And on March 12th I'll be at Third Place Books in Seattle, in conversation with Brian Thornton. Here's the Facebook event page for that.

Please check the Events page for all upcoming events. 

If you read CUT YOU DOWN, please take a moment to review it, especially on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Indigo. Reviews help make a difference for authors. Thank you.

Finally, I did an AMA for Urban 13. I closed it early, technology not being my strong suit, so we're doing another one March 2nd. But the video of answers is below. Thanks to everyone who participated!


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CUT YOU DOWN launches!


Today is the day the second Wakeland novel, CUT YOU DOWN, arrives in stores. Here's how you can order it:

Amazon (US)      Amazon (CA)     Chapters/Indigo  Barnes & Noble    Book Warehouse    

The book has garnered incredible reviews so far, including a starred rave review from Publishers Weekly. Here's the synopsis: 

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.

CUT YOU DOWN is available in hardcover, e-book, audiobook, and trade. Give it a shot. 

Amazon (US)      Amazon (CA)     Chapters/Indigo  Barnes & Noble    Book Warehouse     Indiebound


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2018 Events

I'll be doing a few events around B.C. and Washington in February and March.
A few other events in the Interior and elsewhere are in the works. But here's what's confirmed:

February: CUT YOU DOWN published
 by Random House Canada and Quercus USA.
Feb 7th is the Cut You Down book launch at the Shebeen Whisky Room, 210 Carrall Street, 7pm. Here's the event's Facebook page.

Feb 7th: Authors on the Radio interview
Feb 13th is the official publication date. 
You can pre-order Cut You Down below:
Amazon (US)    Amazon (CA)    Chapters/Indigo     B&N

Feb 23-25th Galiano Island Lit Fest. Live taping of Charles Demers's Well Reds podcast on Sunday, 12:30-1:30
March 9th: Orca Books, Olympia,Washington
March 12th: Third Place Books, Seattle, Washington, event with Brian Thornton
March 14th: InCite reading series with Sheena Kamal and Nathan Ripley
April 2nd: Noir at the Bar Vancouver

More events TBA

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Starred Reviews, Year-End Awards, and my own best-reads list

It's nice to end the year on a high note: Publishers Weekly gave Cut You Down a starred review "a cleverly tuned commentary on a society that forces its citizens to choose between doing the wrong thing for the right reason and doing the right thing for the wrong reasons," and "Wiebe convincingly brings Raymond Chandler into the 21st century." Read the full review here. 

Invisible Dead was awarded two spots on the Sons of Spade year-end best list: Best PI Novel and Best New PI for Dave Wakeland. The book is in good company, with Sheena Kamal's The Lost Ones and Steve Hamilton's Exit Strategy

I don't have a best-of list, but looking back at what I read this year, here are a few books that stood out to me:

George Saunders's Lincoln in the Bardo took a conceit that could have been nothing but postmodern walking and made it a touching and original polyphonic experience.
Eden Robinson's Son of a Trickster was equally terrific, describing hardscrabble living and unpleasant stuff in a fun, funny, and thoughtful narrative.
They're friends, but I can highly, highly recommend Janie Chang's Dragon Springs Road, David Swinson's Crime Song, and Sheena Kamal's The Lost Ones. The reunion scene in The Lost Ones was incredibly powerful. Crime Song continued and deepened rogue cop Frank Marr's adventures from Swinson's awesome The Second Girl. And Dragon Springs Road was a touching, beautifully-wrought melding of historical fiction and magic realism, in a way that brought out the best of both.


For thrillers, Jordan Harper's She Rides Shotgun, Meg Gardiner's Unsub, Don Winslow's The Force, John Le Carre's A Legacy of Spies, and Linwood Barclay's Parting Shot were all really enjoyable. David Chariandy's Brother and Roxane Gay's Hunger were both good, too.

Charles Campisi's Blue on Blue is one of the most fascinating nonfiction books I've read. Campisi was head of the NYPD's Internal Affairs division, and he talks about the methodology and problems in policing the police. Very timely and interesting.
Naben Ruthnum's Curry covers race, literature, pop culture, the uses of a pseudonym, and the purpose of thrillers, in a readable and personable style. I'm highly anticipating his pseudonymous thriller, Find You in the Dark.

Slightly older books that might have been overlooked: Steve Hamilton's The Lock Artist, Reed Farrell Coleman's Where it Hurts, Bill Buford's Heat, Paul Hawken's Growing a Business, Jill Leovy's Ghettoside and Akhil Sharma's Family Life were all great reads. And I finally got around to reading a few classics: Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca, Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, David Morrell's First Blood (yes it is a classic), Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son, and especially Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon. Every thirty year-old male writer should be forced to read two Morrison books for every Cormac McCarthy he's allowed.

Thanks for reading this, and happy holidays. 


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Cut You Down book blurbs and synopsis

Order Cut You Down Now:
Amazon (US) Amazon (CA) Chapters/Indigo B&N

Vancouver PI Dave Wakeland is back--this time staring down the knife edge of corruption and murder.

No one knows what happened to Tabitha Sorensen. The brilliant but troubled student seems to have vanished, leaving a deadly trail of missing millions and links to a notorious family of criminals. Hired to find her, Wakeland matches wits and fists with suburban gangsters, corrupt authorities, and a contract killer with a fondness for blades--one of which seems destined for Wakeland's throat. 

Aided by Sonia Drego, a police officer and former lover with dangerous secrets of her own, Wakeland must uncover the deadliest killer that the morally challenged young detective has ever faced. From the back alleys of a rapidly changing Vancouver, to the wilds of Washington, to a suburban sprawl where things aren't what they seem, Wakeland crosses borders--and lines--in a treacherous game of cat and mouse that pushes him to his limits, and threatens everything he cares for.


Sam Wiebe does it again with CUT YOU DOWN –

smart and razor-sharp, with a plot that keeps unraveling

all the way to its exciting, unputdownable conclusion."

David Swinson, author of The Second Girl and Crime Song


"A highly intelligent and satisfying page-turner."  

 Janie Chang, author of national bestseller Dragon Springs Road

"Sam Wiebe pulls no punches in his latest thriller,
CUT YOU DOWN. Gripping, complex, and with an unusual play
on the classic femme fatale trope, this is crime fiction at its best."
Sheena Kamal, author of The Lost Ones


Order Cut You Down Now:
Amazon (US)    Amazon (CA)    Chapters/Indigo     B&N

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