William Deverell — Novelist

The official website of William Deverell, Winner of the Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in North American Crime Writing

Sing a Worried Song is out ...

and I'm outa here too

bill holding books

“It takes a worried man to sing a worried song. I’m worried now, but I won’t be worried long.” It’s an old folk song that Arthur Beauchamp can’t get out of his head. But poor old Arthur will have lots to worry about, including his possible violent death.

Whatever happens to him is out of my hands now. Sing a Worried Song is out in hardcover and as an e-book as of today, April 1, 2015. Now I must return to my untitled, half-finished work-in-progress.

ferry in mist

I’m on my way to ferry and airport.

I’m going off to commune where there’s no phone, no Internet, no email.



The Blog / April 13

My Near-Death Experience

Just had a near-death experience. I was strolling up your driveway when an old pickup rattled down the hill toward me. My only hope was to cannonball into the second growth. Blue Dodge, crumpled fender, peace decal: I told myself to remember these specifics if I survived.

Read more

The Blog / April 7

Escape Fiction

Good morning, Blogosphere, I’m back. Hey, Bill, in case you stop by an Internet shop—do they exist where you are?—to check your emails, I have sent a couple to your old Yahoo account. No answer. But of course, anything from muy amigo mio, unheard from for thirty-three years, goes straight into Spam.

I was hoping you might at least glance at your website, your blog, and see my entreaties to make contact. Or maybe one of your cult following of good-humoured, nonconforming eco-liberals, or a relative, your agent, publisher, somebody who knows where the fuck you are, will get word to you that Bry Pomerantz has hacked into both your writing studio and your blog.

Read more

The Blog / April 4

The Wild Hippie Lawyer

Yeah, I clipped that item from the National Post. I had no idea. The deep end? You may have tiptoed near the edge. But divorce? Shacking up with hippies?

Flashback to this summery scene: I was sitting on a bench in Stanley Park. A bench I hoped to sleep on if it didn’t rain. The Screenwriters Guild had just denied my appeal to get my membership reinstated. I was homeless, hungover, as taut as a stretched condom, exhausted from ranting on the public pathways.

The final blow had just been delivered that morning: Sue announced I was domestically redundant, and gave me my walking papers. (You won’t know Sue, she was after your time. She’s a lawyer. Also, expensively, an afficionada of fine chopped flake.)

Aimlessly, I reached over to a trash bin from whose gaping mouth protruded the front section of the National Post. Yes, I’m guilty. I occasionally look at the National Post. I am not one of your leftie poseurs who boast of never reading it, as if that’s a mark of intellectual and spiritual attainment.

Read more

The Blog / April 2

Guess Who Just Hacked Your Blog…

That’s your parting shot? “I’m going off to commune where there’s no phone, no Internet, no email.”

You’re off to commune with whom, some hippie muse? Shit, man, we must have missed each other by a crotch hair.

Maybe that was you getting on the ferry as I was getting off. I said to myself, that can’t be Bill. That wild Einsteinian jungle of hair, the cheap sunglasses, the shirt half tucked in. No, couldn’t be you, I decided—you were always a snappy dresser. Back then. In those times of yore.

Don’t bother scrolling down to see who hacked into your blog—yes, it’s me, Bry Pomerantz, faded wunderkind of the big screen, your long-lost, long-ignored side kicker.

So now I guess that was you packing your bags onto the boat to Vancouver, to catch your flight to wherever the hell you’re going. A scruffy, rustic, yokelized version of you. I didn’t realize your breakdown was that severe, Bill. I read about it in the paper, how you went off the deep end and joined a hippie commune.

I assume you didn’t recognize me either. I was the Cool Hand Luke in the rattletrap truck, who having befriended its stoner owner got dropped off at the local mall, whence I made my way by foot to your house, hefting a pack with forty pounds of essentials. Cigarettes, beer, an illicit over-the-counter envelope of Captagon, and—in case I was invited to stay overnight—fresh gonches and socks. My MacAir and a script I’m working on.

I well remembered your place from when you were building it—that house-warming! a donkey roast, man. That was in ’79—you’d launched your first book, Needles. I brought along my old Needles file, btw, hoping to remind you how we had such a blast collaborating on it. There’s an old snapshot in it, you and me from the seventies. Arms around each other’s shoulders. Like brothers, man. If we were any closer, we’d have been gay.

Imagine my disappointment to find you’d taken a bunk. I was anticipating that delicious moment of recognition at the door, your shock, dismay. “Old soldiers never die, eh, Bill?” You would have responded with something like, “Yeah, but they don’t seem to fade away, either.” I would have explained, to your vast relief, that I’d popped in to your hokey little island only for the day. Just time to share a fast brew, that’s all, and to check on you. I was worried—I’ve been there, I’ve had breakdowns, some lulus. And I felt a need to reconnect with you, Bill, so we could mend our wounds, align our minds, bring back the old days, the creative sharing, the trips, the plots, the games, the laughs.

I would remind you how we brainstormed Needles. Remember that snapper I pulled out of my ass, making the hero a junkie? And how I came up with that twist for Chapter 15, the undercover hooker. (I picture your face darkening. A tremor, a twitch. Fear and loathing on Garibaldi. Oops, wrong island.)

Anyway, I found your house locked up tighter than Aunt Penelope’s anus, so I wandered around your forested hillside, checked out this cute little cabin buried in the forest above your house, which turns out to be your studio. dog cabin

Key under the mat—clearly an invitation from an upholder of the great Canadian tradition of hospitality, permitting wayfarers a respite from their arduous journeys, an escape from the bitter cold and shrieking gales. This is not hyperbole—I have known bitter cold and shrieking gales, much of which inclement weather came from the cold front known as Sue. (I still love you, Sue, if you are reading this.)

So if you don’t mind, I’ll crash here for a bit. Pretty basic, but beats my East-end hovel. Lots of stacked firewood for your old pot-belly, a sleeping loft, and you’ve got this beat-up old desktop, and you’ve got Internet. What you don’t have is a shitter. Ah, well, I can do as the Pope does.

Unfortunately, because of your current unreachable state there’s no way I can thank you.

Couldn’t believe you’d leave a scribbled password where any asshole could find it, taped beneath your keyboard. A password that got me into both the computer AND your blog. More soon. Off to grab a bite and a beer, if I can find a liquor outlet on this rock.

Happy Easter, btw.

Oh, and congratulations on the new book…

Posted by Bry Pomerantz on April 2, 2015

Read more

Blog Posts


books in box 2

April 2015Sing a Worried Song

The Publishers Weekly Review

publishers weekly worried man

Read more

Book cover

2012I’ll See You in My Dreams

In 1962, Arthur Beauchamp is about to undertake his first murder trial. His defendant is Gabriel Swift, a politically active young aboriginal accuse of killing Professor Dermot Mulligan, a former mentor to both men. Arthur becomes increasingly convinced that the police evidence against Gabriel is not only flimsy, but suspiciously convenient in a system - and a society - with entrenched racist assumptions. But as the case progresses, Arthur develops an uncomfortable sense that Gabriel is not telling him the whole truth. And to make matters worse, the green young lawyer is up against a wily veteran of the courts and a clever but biased judge. Five decades later, Arthur remains haunted by the case. Finally, he is compelled to emerge from retirement to try to complete what he began all those years ago. He must pass through some murky and long-repressed personal territory along the way, but the journey ultimately offers hope for the peace of redemption.

Just released is Audible.com’s version. Dreams Audible

The quality paperback edition is also available as an e-book. For more information and to purchase this title please go to http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/imprints/mcclelland-stewart and click on authors.

Read more

SNow Job book cover

Oct 2009Snow Job

This is the novel that many dared me (a thrice-failed candidate for office) to write: a novel that takes the mickey out of our posturing politicians while maintaining the tension of a true thriller but with great dollops of humour. A genre-jumping finalist for the Stephen Leacock Award, it was read with glee, I’m told, by Ottawa insiders, One wrote: “Warmest congrats on Snow Job, it is your and Arthur’s fulfillment. I was especially delighted by the recognition of the poisonous mix of vanity, fear and highly conditional loyalty that makes up political life at the top. I thought of your acuity as I wandered through various Xmas parties on the Hill this year - rife with angst on all sides.”

For more information and to purchase this title (http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/imprints/mcclelland-stewart) and click on authors

Read more

Kill All the Judges

April 2008Kill All The Judges

This comic thriller was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock award, and it drew widely upon this author’s growing collection of characters, including the ever-introspective Arthur Beauchamp, and the Garibaldi Island oddballs who constantly plague him. Here’s a summary:

Read more

April Fool cover

Sept 2006April Fool

Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for best Canadian crime novel…

“Hugely entertaining.” Calgary Herald

“The insular life of isolated places - Bamfield, Garibaldi - expensive law firms and the courtroom are handled with an insider’s knowledge and an iconoclastic sense of humour. Deverell writes breathless prose. Arthur Beauchamp is a lovely guy – spouting Latin, worrying about getting up to speed in the courtroom after such a hiatus, and fearing an inability to get it up when Margaret leaves her perch. He manages to be a scholar, a courtroom wonder and a doofus. April Fool spills over with idiosyncratic characters. The novel blasts out of the starting gate, rockets along, is hugely entertaining. Deverell plays with the blending of good and bad, but one thing is transparent - the fight for the environment, however goofy at times, is essential.” Edmonton Journal

Read more