Sam Wiebe


Blog posts : "General"

Reviews and Interviews

August 1, 2016

The response to Invisible Dead so far has been amazing. I wanted to share two things that I thought were especially cool.

Naben Ruthnum interviewed me for Hazlitt. In his review of the novel he compares it to the work of Richard Price and David Simon, which doesn't happen every day. I'm really proud of how this turned out.

And from Margaret Cannon's review of Invisible Dead in the Globe and Mail: "Haven't heard yet of Sam Wiebe? You will soon."

It's incredibly gratifying.

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August Events and Book Tour

August 1, 2016

What a month. July saw me tour Invisible Dead from Vancouver to Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, Toronto, was exhausting, but a lot of fun. Thanks to all the writers, book store owners, and everyone else who helped facilitate this trip.

Here's my schedule of events for August, most in Vancouver or its surrounding area:

August 1st: CBC Radio interview, the Stephen Quinn Show
August 2nd: Harmony Arts Festival, West Vancouver, Crime Fiction panel with Ian Hamilton and William Deverell, moderated by Robin Spano

August 6th: Black Bond Books in Maple Ridge, BC with Cathy Ace, Allan Emerson and others
August 13th: Black Bond Books in Central City, Surrey, BC with Cathy Ace, Allan Emerson and others

August 20th: Kamloops Library


Here's a book recommendation: John McFetridge's One or the Other is officially released today. It's a great procedural set in Montreal at the tail end of the seventies. I can also recommend Viet Than Nguyen's The Sympathizer, which was a really interesting spy novel that's won a boatload of awards. Both books are interested in the ways that the victimized become victimizers. 

Thanks for reading this,



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Book Launch, Upcoming Tour

June 23, 2016

To everyone who came to the book launch at Pulp Fiction--thank you! I had a terrific time connecting and re-connecting with people...and the after-launch drinks at Main Street Brewing and The Whip were pretty great, too.

Invisible Dead has been out for about a week now. The reviews have been pretty stellar--check out the write-up in the Vancouver Sun, and on the Dead End Follies Blog

In July I'll be embarking on a cross-Canada tour that will take me from Vancouver to Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. I'm hoping to add some more cities to that list, but we'll see. I've heard "July isn't a good time for book events..." though those are the same people who've also said "nobody comes out to events in the sunshine" and "if it rains no one will come out." As David Milch says, the 'smart money' usually misses its bus in the morning.


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Two Weeks and Counting

June 1, 2016

INVISIBLE DEAD comes out June 14th, two weeks from today. The book launch is at Pulp Fiction Books on Main Street, in Vancouver. Here's the link to the Facebook event.

Hope to see you there! 


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New Events Added; Authors for Indies and Noir at the Bar

May 1, 2016

Authors for Indies was yesterday. I was at three stores--Black Bond Books in Central City, Dead Write/White Dwarf in the West End, and Pulp Fiction on Main. Busy day, but great to connect with so many booksellers. Janie Chang organizes AFI, and has made it into a rewarding ceebration of independent bookstores.

This Wednesday is Noir at the Bar Vancouver, which will be at the Shebeen Whisk(e)y Room, inside the Irish Heather Bar in Gastown. [All of these are greater Vancouver locations, by the way.] NATB is consistently my favorite literary events, probably due to the alcohol, but also the cozy atmosphere. Come out, have a drink and a pretzel, and hear some crime writers read from their newest work.

Invisible Dead comes out in a month and a half, and I'm already organizing a barrage of new bookings, including Kelowna, Kamloops, Nelson, Surrey, and Maple Ridge. June and August I'll be doing Vancouver and B.C. events, but in July I'm arranging a road trip. I'm hoping to include Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, at the very least. It'll be a lot of fun. 

And then in the fall...I have some VERY cool announcements to make about what I'll be doing in the fall. Stay tuned!

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2016 Spring/Summer Events

March 25, 2016

My new book INVISIBLE DEAD comes out this June, and I'll be doing a ton of events around Vancouver, as well as road trips to Kelowna and Nelson, to Seattle, and (I'm hoping), the rest of Canada. Here's what I've lined up so far:

April 9th: Booked for Crime -  Capilano Library, with Dietrich Kalteis, Owen Laukkanen, and Jackie Bateman

April 30th: Authors For Indies -I'll be at Black Bond Books at Surrey Central in the morning, followed by Dead Write  Books from 1-3, and Pulp Fiction (Main Street location) 4-6. 

May 4th: Noir at the Bar Vancouver - The Shebeen Whisky Room (212 Carrall Street, Vancouver)

May 18th: Kelowna and Nelson trip--details to come

May 26: Christianne's Lyceum - Last of the Independents book chat

June 14 - Publication date for INVISIBLE DEAD

August 2: Harmony Arts Festival, West Vancouver, Crime Fiction panel with Ian Hamilton and William Deverell, moderated by Robin Spano

More events to come!

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Couple of Brief Announcements

November 3, 2015

I'm taking over blogging duty for Robin Spano on 7 Criminal Minds, a wonderful blog run by a great group of writers. My first post is up already, on motivation.

Tomorrow night is Noir at the Bar Vancouver, the event I look forward to the most. It's at the Shebeen Whisky Room in Gastown, and starts at seven. Then the day after is a library event with Dietrich Kalteis and ER Brown

My other semi-regular blog, Off The Cuff, has a new post up about our road trip to Bouchercon with John McFetridge, John Jantunen, and ECW Press publisher Jack David. It was a hell of a trip. 

Other than that...I've been working on edits for Invisible Dead, I have a cool short story announcement to make pretty soon, and I'm finally caught up on my midterm marking. Books I've read recently which I'd recommend:

Patricia Highsmith, Talented Mr. Ripley
Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo, Roseanna
Les Edgerton, The Bitch
Josephine Tey, The Franchise Affair
John McFetridge, Dirty Sweet
and I'm still working through the Ross MacDonald Lew Archer series. 


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Bouchercon, Shamus Awards, and Advice for New Writers

October 18, 2015

The last two weeks have been busy as hell. I've been in Edmonds, Washington for the Write on the Sound conference, then a week in Toronto and Raleigh for Bouchercon, and then down to Seattle for their first Noir at the Bar. Add to that the panel I was on at Word Vancouver, and the discussion I was a part of at the West Vancouver Library, and it's already been a crazy fall.

Last year at Bouchercon Long Beach, I was a new writer, there for the first time, not knowing anybody. I was shown a lot of kindness by writers like Elaine Ash, John McFetridge, David Swinson, Tanis Mallow, and Brian Thornton. This year I was able to hang out with writers like Michael Pool, Danny Gardner and John Jantunen, who were at Bouchcercon for THEIR first time.

All writers deal with feelings of insecurity and fraudulence. I definitely felt that last year at Bouchercon, less so this year. But in these last weeks I've seen a lot of writers covering for those feelings by exaggerating their own accomplishments, hard-selling their books, or, like I did last year, waiting on the edge of the group for someone to talk to them.

All of them secretly wondering what they can do to earn admission into the group.

This is what I've realized: those feelings of fraudulence and insecurity ARE your ticket in.

When I was starting out I went to an Ian Rankin reading, and afterwards asked him for advice. He said to me, "Just remember, we've all been where you are."

Hopefully realizing that will make those things easier.

One last illustration: Last of the Independents was up for a Shamus award, which are given out at Bouchercon. The awards dinner was nice, and I got to hang with Corky and Dana King and meet Lawrence Block. I didn't win. My next stop was the bar, for obvious reasons. When I walked in the first person I saw was Peter Rozovsky. Peter is the godfather of Noir at the Bar, a critic and crime fiction champion, and overall a very nice and knowledgeable guy. 

As I got my drink, Peter walked up to me, pointed at me, and said loudly:


And I laughed, and felt really happy to be amongst my own tribe.

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The Hugo Awards

August 23, 2015

(This is a response to Amy Wallace's article in Wired, Who Who Won Science Fiction's Hugo Awards, And Why it Matters: )

Ok. I know four-fifths of fuck-all about SFF, (other than a borderline-unhealthy obsession with Blade Runner and a broken heart from the shitty ending to Mass Effect 3). But as a writer I've found the Hugo awards an interesting debacle to follow.

You have two pretty worthy causes at stake here--the championing of good writing, and the championing of diverse voices in a genre. Anyone who thinks those are incompatible, or even competing values, is deluded.

I'd like to think the Crime/Mystery genre is more advanced than SFF when it comes to representation, but I have nothing to back that up other than anecdotal evidence. It could be that this kind of revolution/revolt has already happened, is happening, has yet to happen.

In my own career I've been nominated for two Arthur Ellis awards, won one, won the Kobo Emerging thing, and been nominated for a Shamus. I've been way more fortunate than most.

Now, I'd like to think I received those accolades because I'm the unheard voice of my generation (or A voice of A generation, as Lena Dunham said on Girls.) You know the part in Casino where Joe Pesci says about Kevin Pollack, "He'd like to think the Teamsters gave him all that money because he's so fuckin' smart"?

The Shamus nom was really meaningful, because it's the category that Walter Mosely won for Devil In a Blue Dress and Dennis Lehane for A Drink Before the War. I grew up idolozing those guys. And I assume this year's award is a lock for Julia Dahl's Invisible City, because I've heard nothing but raves about it so far. (It currently sits at around base camp of the gloomy Eiger that is my to-read list).

But here's the rub--would a writer of color or an LGBT writer have those same awards? Would they have the same access to those awards?

And that's the thing--if the playing field isn't level, than awards are even more meaningless than they really are. 

And these are (in my mind) legit, judged awards, not really capable of the manipulation that the Hugos are. If the Hugos had a judging panel, they'd definitely be less susceptible to gaming the system. But maybe it's BECAUSE of how shitty they're set up that we can look at the system a little bit more objectively.

There are some interesting counter-arguments mentioned in that Wired piece. Of course quality should trump identity. Of course self-published and small-press authors face a harder struggle. But that's been twisted into some competition between 'blue-collar' and 'diverse' writers--one claim doesn't--shouldn't--can't--discount the others.

To me the real hero is Annie Bellet, the person who gets what the better parts of the Puppies group was trying to do, but refused her nomination because they sided with a racist/misogynistic-troll-'performance-artist' over people fighting to have their voices heard. The best quote from that article: "I want these awards to be about the fiction, and that was important enough to me to give one up."

Anyway, that Wired piece is worth a read.

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Toronto, Kobo Emerging Authors

July 9, 2015

7/9/2015: Just got back from Toronto for the 2015 Kobo Emerging Writer Awards. And I have some very good news...

Last of the Independents won in the Mystery category!

The books were shortlisted by a jury and then judged by Ian Hamilton, author of the Ava Lee series. I'm going to shamelessly retype Ian's comments: "a well-crafted homage to the age of crime noir combined with a thoroughly modern sensibility. Sam's characters were engaging and tightly drawn."

It's a tremendous honour, and the list of people who need to be thanked would be very long. If you've supported the book, your name should be on that list. I'll briefly thank everyone at Kobo for arranging this. Thank you, I'm honoured, and hopefully the next one will be even better!

Links to the story on CBC and Quill & Quire.

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Upcoming Events

June 25, 2015

It's shaping up to be a busy summer. A couple of new events have been planned, including When Words Collide in Calgary, Alberta, and some events in the fall in the Vancouver/Burnaby area. Check out the Upcoming Events page.

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Sirens of Suspense and Genre Snobbery

June 17, 2015

My guest blog is up at Sirens of Suspense, talking about genre snobbery and why mainstream disdain is perhaps a good thing. You can check it out here:

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Shamus Award Nomination

June 5, 2015

Last of the Independents has had a hell of a run, considering it hasn't been out a year. It won the 2012 Unhanged Arthur manuscript award, was nominated for an Arthur for Best First Novel, placed first on the House of Crime and Mystery Readers Poll, and has made it onto the shortlist for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. And now it's nominated for a Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America.

I'm humbled by the support the book has received from readers, from critics, and from other writers. It's incredible. I don't know what I expected when I wrote the book--what I do know is, I can't take any of this for granted, and I have to make the next one better.

I'm in an enviable place right now. I don't know how else to put it. If you've read or reviewed the book, then you've had a hand in its support, and you deserve my thanks. (If you haven't read it, of course...)

What's on the horizon?

Invisible Dead.

Details to come...

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Kobo Emerging Writers Shortlist; Summer/Fall events

May 27, 2015

More Last of the Independents news: it's been shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize! If I were prone to emoticons, this would be a "double smiley face atop a blinking kitty riding a skateboard"! As it is, it's a tremendous honor. Check out the shortlist press release here.

The novel is also nominated for a Crime Writers of Canada award for Best First Novel. The ceremony is tomorrow, in Toronto, and while I wish I could be there, I am stuck marking summaries and preparing midterms. In any case, win or lose, I'm very moved by the support CWC has shown me. Last of the Independents won the Best Unpublished First Novel Award in 2012; to see the book now in the Best First Novel category is unbelievable. It's ourageous. I'm the luckiest.

There's a bunch of stuff scheduled for the summer and fall, and more in the works. I've updated the Events Page. Check back regularly. Thanks for reading this. 



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Arthur Ellis Nomination; Mysterious Bookshop;

April 25, 2015

I just got back from Montreal and New York. One of the highlights was visiting the Mysterious Bookshop, one of the best mystery and crime bookstores in the world. I got to sign copies of Last of the Independents, and picked up a few books myself. Thanks to Ian and the rest of the staff!

I flew from New York to Seattle and took the train home, and the evening of my arrival was the Arthur Ellis Awards event at the Burnaby Public Library. I was on a panel with Kay Stewart, Don Hauka, and Owen Laukkanen, answering questions about Canadian-ness and crime writing. It was a good time.

And the big news--Last of the Independents has been nominated for a Best First Novel award!

(Owen Laukkanen, Don Hauka, and me. Credit to Don for the photo)

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Updates, Events for March

February 11, 2015

Some upcoming events in March, which I'm excited for:

Saturday March 7th I'll be at the Fleetwood branch of the Surrey Public Library for an event with Robin Spano, E.R. Brown and Dietrich Kalteis. 11:45-12:45.

March 12-15th is Left Coast Crime in Portland. No details on panels and events yet, but I'll be there.

March 24th we return to the Shebeen Whisky Room for Noir at the Bar. Always fun, and one of my highlights. 

April 23rd I'll be at the Crime Writers of Canada shortlist event, held at the Burnaby Public Library near Metrotown.

And finally, May 2nd is Authors for Indies. I'll be appearing at Pulp Fiction's Main Street location. 

So a busy spring to look forward to. That's good. I just handed in the draft of a novel to my agent, and now I have a large project looming, which I hope will carry me through the spring. It's a longer, different type of novel than I've written before. Not sure I can pull it off, and that's kind of the reason why I want to give it a try.

Hopefully I'll have some news to share soon on the follow-up to Last of the Independents. So far the responses have been really cool. 

Have a wonderful February. 

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Happy Holidays

December 20, 2014


I'm trying to think of some way to wrap up or summarize the year's events and accomplishments. "I wrote a novel; some people thought it was good; working on another." That's the best I can do and it's pitiful. Bear in mind I was up very late last night watching Batman movies and drinking.

It's the end of the year, and the novel has made it on a few lists, including Sukasa Reads's Mystery and Suspense List,  Bad Citizen Incorporated's favorites, and Quill & Quire's "Last-Minute Gifts Chosen by Indie Booksellers." I appreciate being included.

Margaret Cannon of the Globe and Mail writes that Last of the Independents "has smarts, style, and a slick P.I. who deserves a long series of searches...Wiebe’s characters are believable and well drawn." Nice to be included on the G&M's "18-Must Reads..." list.

2014 is the year I discovered Peter Temple, an outstanding Australian crime novelist. It's the year I watched Calvary, an amazing Irish film about death and God. I read John McFetridge's Black Rock, which makes me proud to be a Canadian and a crime writer, and right now I'm enjoying Janie Chang's Three Souls, which deserves all the hype it's getting and then more.

Here are some of the hare-brained schemes I have lined up for 2014: a graphic novel; an East Coast tour; a radio play; an anthology of wrestling noir stories; a revamped website. It's possible none of them will come to fruition, but I'm doing my damnedest to get to all of them. I also have some novels to write. 

Thanks for reading this, and thanks for your support. Happy holidays and we'll see you in the New Year.


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Post-Bouchercon Cosa Nostra Blues

November 20, 2014

I had a better time at Bouchercon than I thought I'd have. Which may sound weird, since it's a crime fiction convention, and crime fiction is a deep passion of mine. And sure, it was cool to see Michael Connelly and Sue Grafton hoofing around Long Beach. But I went down there thinking of it as a business trip, a chance to hype my book, to get the word out. Not as a vacation, and not as something that would be a lot of fun. 

But it was fun. I sold some books, and I made some connections, but more than that, I got to meet and hang with some writers I respect, like John McFetridge and David Swinson. That made the trip worthwhile.

Jacques Filippi, Your Correspondent, David Swinson, and John McFetridge. Photo by Tanis Mallow.

Writing is a solitary gig--that's one of its chief pleasures. My fifty-second pitch at the Bouchercon New Author's Brunch began with me saying, "I'm not a morning person, and I'm not a people person." Which is true. But I think what Bouchercon taught me was the pleasure of hanging with other crime writers.

My closest writing friends have typically been people working in different genres or mediums. This was the first time I really got to hang with people who work in the same genre as me, who struggle with the same problems I do, and who hold the same authors in regard. And it's an addicting feeling. As much as I love Vancouver's anarchist poets, I'm definitely not one of them. Nor am I a screenwriter, a fantasy/sci-fi buff, a romance writer, or a literary critic. I respect those genres, aspire to them on occasion, but crime fiction is my thing. And it's good to be reminded that it's our thing, something shared by millions of people. 

With Don and Jen Longmuir from Scene of the Crime Books. Photo by Dietrich Kalteis.

At Bouchercon you see people who are pure fans. You see people who are at the beginning of their writing careers, searching for a way into the walled city. You see established writers, big names, midlist authors, booksellers, critics, scholars. And people like me who fit somewhere in between those categories. The tables at the convention center are littered with bookmarks and book flyers, gew-gaws and doodads, all trying to hook the attention of publishers or agents or readers. It's obscene self-promotion, yeah, but it's also a beautiful collage of aspiration, a tribute to a shared love of a particular genre.

I'm privileged to do what I do, and have these opportunities. So thank you, Bouchercon, for letting me add my junk to the pile.





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Best of Fall 2014; Bouchercon

November 7, 2014

LAST OF THE INDEPENDENTS made the West Vancouver Library's Staff Pics for Best of Fall 2014, "The books that impressed us most this Fall." How flattering to be mentioned alongside Owen Laukkanen, Louise Penny, Suzanne Collins and Diane Keaton. Esteemed company indeed!

Also badass: the book got a very nice shout-out from J.D. Singh at the Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore in Toronto, in an article in the Toronto Star. Imagine seeing your book stacked with  Ian Rankin's. Pardon my French, but how fucking cool is that? 

 A few of the bestsellers stacked on a table at The Sleuth of Baker St. bookstore on Millwood Ave.

In the last few weeks I've done events in Bellingham, Surrey, and my own beloved Vancouver. It's been great, but greatly exhausting. And in a few days I fly out to Long Beach for Bouchercon. I have a presentation there, but to be honest, I haven't had much time to plan out what else I'm going to take in--as much as I can, probably.

I love writing. I love being a writer. I am uncomfortable being a writer in public. But I'm working at it. People who read this blog, who come out to events, who review or rate the book online--you make this process so much more fun and worthwhile than it otherwise would be. The other writers I've met have been damn cool: very unpretentious, very friendly, and very dedicated. Getting to talk to booksellers who are stocking or talking up the book, or people who love crime fiction and have recommended it, that means everything to me--because that's why and how I buy books, off the recommendations of people I respect. So thanks.

And [putting on his shilling hat] if you feel like buying a copy of the book, or rating/reviewing it, please do so. Stores like Amazon, Chapters, and Amazon Canada*  demand a steady diet of ratings and reviews to glut their gaping maws, and now there are Amazon Author Page likes, which also determine...something. Please review the book and hit the like button. Or go buy it at a badass independent bookstore like Pulp Fiction or Brown's or Dead Write in Vancouver, the Seattle Mystery Bookshop in Seattle, or Sleuth of Baker Street in Toronto.

See you at (or after) Long Beach.

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The Demon Dog and Bellingham

October 23, 2014


I'll be doing a signing in Bellingham this Saturday, at the Barnes and Noble from 12-4. Details can be found here. Please come out and hang.

I haven't read James Ellroy's new novel Perfidia. It's at the top of my ever-increasing stack. But I've read just about everything else he's done. My Dark Places, The Black Dahlia, White Jazz and American Tabloid are all seminal novels for me, as are the films he's been associated with, L.A. Confidential and Dark Blue. I think he's the most fearless living writer, and living proof that the Nobel committee is out to lunch.

So getting to meet him yesterday at the Writers Fest was great. His talk was a combination of his 'demon dog' schtick, a reading from Perfidia (which made me want to whip through the book I'm reading right now* to get to it), and questions. 

I'd met Ellroy before when I went to Seattle to see him hype his last book, Blood's A Rover. He is the most comfortable and eloquent reader of his own writing. And, channelling my inner Chris Farley, Ellroy seems like a cool guy.

As someone still finding his way as a public speaker, I look to Ellroy as the gold standard. Funny, insightful, able to quote poetry by heart, and can improvise when someone throws him a dumb question. I've done a few readings now and I think I'm getting better, but the only part I'm totally comfortable with is the Q&A. Ellroy gives me something to shoot for--if you could be that good, and have something new to say every time you come through town, you'd be on to something.

And of course I got him to sign my copy of Perfidia. His inscription: "To Sam: FEAR THIS BOOK."

Two masters of the written word.

*Joe Laurinaitis's biography. He's Animal from the Road Warriors/Legion of Doom. It's a really good book. And yes, I'm aware I probably won't get to Nicholas Nickelby or Middlemarch in this lifetime, due to the many pro wrestling biographies I've consumed. Let's not judge each other too harshly.

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