Sam Wiebe


Blog posts

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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Cut You Down Book Launch

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

Official publication date is February 13th. You can pre-order it at:
Amazon (US)    Amazon (CA)    Chapters/Indigo     B&N

More events TBA.

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Kamloops Postponement, Audiobook, and more...

Invisible Dead is now available as an audiobook from Blackstone Audio, read by Law and Order alumnus Donald Corren. Here's a link to the CD and MP3 versions on Amazon.

Unfortunately I've had to postpone my involvement in the Kamloops Writers Fest, due to--well, civic duty (I'll be able to say more later). Thanks to Lindsay and the other organizers, and Peter at the Kamloops Chapters, who have both been extremely accommodating with these unforeseen circumstances. I'm hoping to line up make-up events in the Spring. 

I'd never read John Le Carre's The Spy Who Came in From the Cold until last week, and damn. It's a great book, a spy thriller with a touch of noir--nasty, brutish and short. I'm reading his new one now, A Legacy of Spies, which deals with the offspring of some of the characters in Spy. It's also really good. Looking forward to reading Zero Avenue, Dietrich Kalteis's new novel about Vancouver punk musicians in the 70s--I'm saving it for the right moment.

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INVISIBLE DEAD comes out on audiobook October 24th, 2017! You can order it from Audible or Amazon (US).  I'm hoping it will come out in Canada soon...


I like that cover! Donald Corren, the audiobook narrator, did a whole lot of episodes of the original Law & Order, which is pretty cool.

I missed Bouchercon this year and will likely miss at least one other event due to a certain civic duty which I can't get into at this time--think Henry Fonda and Lee J Cobb--but I'll be lining up a lot of stuff for next year!


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Invisible Dead nominated for the City of Vancouver Book Award!

Invisible Dead has been shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award!
I'm honoured to be among such a great list of nominated books, including Carleigh Baker's Bad Endings, Pandas on the Eastside by Gabrielle Prendergast, and Susan Point: Spindle Whorl by Grant Arnold, Ian M. Thom, Susan Point, Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse, Thomas Cannell, Myrtle Mckay, and William McLennan.
The announcement came with a very flattering description of the novel: "This fast-paced thriller set in Vancouver’s criminal underworld follows a private investigator on a journey to solve an unsolvable mystery."
'It's an honour just to be nominated' is a cliche, but it's a true cliche--as far as I know a crime novel has never won or been shortlisted. I take a measure of pride in that, and I'm glad to be in such good company.

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My story "Off the Trail" was published in the September issue of Mysterical-E magazine. You can read it here. 

November 1st is the next Noir at the Bar Vancouver, and the lineup looks great: Jackie Bateman, Linda Richards, Janie Chang, Dietrich Kalteis, and more. Very excited for this.

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End of Summer; Bouchercon; Cut You Down

I was interviewed by Will Viharo for his "Author of the Week" column on Digital Media Ghost. We talked about CanLit, crime fiction, genre snobbery, and the Pacific Northwest.  

My story "Albuquerque" was published by Suspense magazine's June 2017 issue. It was originally written for a Neil Young-themed anthology which, sadly got shelved.
The story is about a group of security professionals working for a large agricultural company, bullying small farmers, until one of them begins to have a change of heart. I based it on an article I read about the devious tactics companies like Monsanto use to enforce their patents.

This year's WORD Vancouver lineup is stacked, including great local authors like Janie Chang, Carleigh Baker, Mercedes Eng, Dietrich Kalteis, Dina del Bucchia, and many others. I'll be moderating a panel on mystery fiction, Sunday September 24th at 4:00.

I'll also be at Bouchercon this year in Toronto--my panel is "Writers Under 40", Saturday October 14th from 1-2. Should be fun.

What will be even MORE fun is Noir at the Bar Toronto, hosted by Rob Brunet and Tanis Mallow, and featuring David Swinson and a host of other great writers. That's October 11th at the Rivoli.

For the past few weeks I've been working on revisions for Cut You Down, the second Wakeland novel, which will be published this February. After the umpteenth revision, sometimes you lose perspective and enthusiasm. But in this case I feel much more confident in the book. I'm happy with it, maybe for the first time since I finished the first draft. That's one of the mysteries of writing--each book is its own thing.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great last few weeks of summer.

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ThrillerFest and Invisible Dead Reviews

I'm back from ThrillerFest, which was a hell of a lot of fun. Thanks to D.P. Lyle and Kim Howe for inviting me to teach a class on character at CraftFest. Kim and Adam Hamdy are my fellow authors at Quercus USA, and the conference presented the perfect chance to get to meet them. The Quercus team are as cool and enthusiastic in real life as I hoped. Nathaniel, Amelia, Amanda and Elyse were terrific to hang out with. I got to meet Walter Mosley, David Morrell, Peter James, and I had a great but brief chat with John Lescroart, about focusing on writing instead of publishing. After a week of business, it was reassurance that what matters in the end is the work itself, rather than the deal.

I got to stay at the Barclay, where Hemingway wrote From Here to Eternity, which was also cool.

Reviews for INVISIBLE DEAD are still coming in, and on the whole are very complimentary. David Nemeth's review really gets the book. Here's a link.

The Quercus team shared with me their proposed cover for CUT YOU DOWN, and I like it a lot. I'll reveal it here soon.

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Invisible Dead is out today stateside and internationally from Quercus/Hachette. (It was released in Canada last June by Random House.)

Yesterday I did an interview with Paperback Radio. The host, Willem, asked how it felt to win literary awards. And obviously it feels great. But that stuff is so beside the point.

Getting something written is difficult, full stop. Getting something you're written that you're proud doesn't happen often, to me at least. But I'm proud of this book, in a way that I haven't been with anything else I've written.

The fact that two reputable publishers have agreed to put out a fucking private eye novel--set in fucking Canada--well, it's the nicest lunacy.

Sometimes I lose track of that, how lucky I am to be at this point.

I hope you give the book a chance, and that if you do, you enjoy it.

My article from Crimespree Magazine on music, crime fiction, and Invisible Dead

An Invisible Dead Q&A on The Big Thrill website, home of the International Thriller Writers. 

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This Week's Events; Craft Fest; Radio Stuff

Tomorrow night I'll be a guest at the South Hill branch of the Vancouver Public Library to talk with their book club about Invisible Dead. Jinder the book club host is terrific, and I really enjoyed co-hosting the Asian Mystery Writers book club with her last fall as part of the Writer in Residence program. It'll be nice to catch up with her, and to talk about my book.

This Saturday is Authors for Indies. Usually I run around to three or four bookstores, but this year I'm just doing 32 Books in North Vancouver from 3-5 pm. After that, though, I'll probably be back in East Van lurking aound Pulp Fiction on Main or one of the breweries nearby.

Sunday I'll be on Paperback Radio, talking about Invisible Dead. There are a few guest blogs and such that I'll be doing to promote the book.

May 2nd Invisible Dead comes out in the States and internationally. I'll be doing a few events in May, including a book signing at Seattle Mystery Bookshop on May 20th, Saturday, at noon. That same night I'll be a guest on Noir on the Radio, a show hosted by Greg Barth. 

This July I'll be in New York for Craft Fest and Thriller Fest, the conference put on by the International Thriller Writers. I've never done this conference before, but it should be a blast. Any chance to drop into the Mysterious Bookshop and The Strand is welcome. 

Thanks for reading through this litany of events. I'm currently at work on Wakeland Book 3, waiting for my Canadian and American editors to finish their edits of Book 2, Cut You Down.

I read the Shining a couple weeks ago, and was reminded how goddamn amazing Stephen King is. Right now I'm reading Salem's Lot, which is also really good. I usually don't read two books at once, but I started Jill Leovy's Ghettoside and was hooked instantly. Between reading those two and watching season three of Bosch, I'm pretty well-stocked for entertainment.

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Seattle Mystery Bookshop Event

Saturday May 20th at noon I'll be signing copies of Invisible Dead at Seattle Mystery Bookshop. Looking forward to it! 

You can pre-order at at

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Spring 2017 Events

I'll be doing a few events in the Winter/Spring 2017. Here are the details: 

Feb 22: Real Vancouver Writers, Grunt Gallery, 350 E 2nd Ave #116, Vancouver. Doors at 7, readings start at 7:30.
I'll be reading with Adele Barclay, Danila Botha, Jonina Kirton, David Ly, and Cole Nowicki. Hosted by Dina Del Bucchia and Sean Cranbury.

Apr 20: Arthur Ellis event, VPL Central. I'll be moderating the shortlist event panel, featuring Katherine Prairie, Elle Wild, Merrilee Robson, Marty Allen, and Cathy Ace.

Apr 25 : Book Club event, VPL South Hill branch, 7pm. I'll be discussing INVISIBLE DEAD with Jinder and the members of their book club. I believe drop-ins are ok.

I've also confirmed my participation in the Kamloops Writers Festival in November, but that's a ways off. Hope to see you out at one of these events!

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Heel Turn

My story "Heel Turn," about pro wrestling and racism (and boy do those things overlap), is in the latest issue of The Matador Review. Crude language abounds.

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