Mark Lisac has some experience with politics — as a reporter at the Alberta Legislature, and author of two non-fiction books, Alberta Politics Uncovered and The Klein Revolution. In his new political thriller, Where the Bodies Lie [published by Edmonton’s NeWest Press], he takes his political knowledge into the fictional realm. In Where the Bodies Lie, a cabinet minister runs over and kills one of the local constituency executives with his half-ton truck in broad daylight in what is determined to be an accident. Harry Asher, a lawyer and former hockey player with a penchant for visiting gravesites, is asked by his friend the premier to investigate and find out if there is more to this event than meets the eye.
I had a couple of ideas kicking around in my head, and I decide to write [this novel] partly to see if I could do it, says Lisac. “I was newly retired, and if I was every going to try to writing a novel, it had to be now. My wife was still working, so I had lots of time at home each day where I was alone and it was quiet. The purpose of writing it was to entertain myself. I decided if it started feeling like drudgery, then I would stop writing.
While the pressure builds for Asher to uncover more secrets and untangle a web of corruption before more people get hurt, for Lisac, the writing of the books was quite leisurely — three to four hours a day for five months is a treat when doing what you love.
It was a pressure-free situation,” Lisac says. “I wqas not out to create a 40-year career for myself as a novel writer. I was in the position where I could work on it and didn’t have to worry about whether it was published. IUn fact, I didn’t really think about getting it published until I was finished writing it.
One advantage of writing fiction, according to Lisac, is that he long longer has to sweat over the accuracy of every single fact. In his words,
Now I can say it happened because I said so!
In the novel, the deeper Asher digs, the more scandal and dirty deals he funds, involving some of the most prominent citizens in the province., including a beloved former (and now senile) premier. Add a bit of romance, a brutal fight scene, some grave digging, and an unavoidable sense of loss to temper the hope Asher manages to maintain, and the result is an intriguing story of considerable depth.
And just how much did Lisac draw on is knowledge of Alberta politics?
The book has echoes of Alberta’s history,” he says. “In Alberta in politics, it seems that people are happy to believe the myths or half-facts they have developed over long periods of time when it comes to what Alberta is, or as we call it, they myths that take hold in people and begin to reshape reality. There have been grandoise dreams of Alberta that have come crashing down.
by Yvonne Dick for Prairie Books Now, Spring/Summer 2016 issue.
About the Author
Mark Lisac, originally from Hamilton, worked as a journalist in Saskatchewan for five years. He began writing about Alberta politics in 1979 as a reporter for The Canadian Press and then as a columnist for The Edmonton Journal. From 2005 to 2013, he was publisher and editor of the independent political newsletter Insight into Government. He published The Klein Revolution in 1995 and Alberta Politics Uncovered in 2004. He also contributed a chapter to Alberta Premiers of the Twentieth Century and edited Lois Hole Speaks. Where the Bodies Lie is his first novel. See more about and buy the book at: https://newestpress.com