Sigmund Brouwer won Canada’s top crime fiction award for his youth novel 'Dead Man’s Switch.'

Sigmund Brouwer won Canada’s top crime fiction award for his youth novel 'Dead Man’s Switch.'

Red Deer author lauded for youth mystery novel

Red Deer author Sigmund Brouwer won Canada’s top crime fiction award for his youth novel Dead Man’s Switch.

Red Deer author Sigmund Brouwer won Canada’s top crime fiction award for his youth novel Dead Man’s Switch.

Getting the Arthur Ellis Award for best juvenile novel is “very, very thrilling,” said Brouwer. “Believe me, I was surprised when they called my name — and delighted!”

Since the prize is named for a historic Canadian hangman, a trophy resembling a hanged man was presented to him last week at a ceremony at Toronto’s Arts and Letters Club.

Brouwer said the “unique” piece of hardware has a place of honour on top of his bookshelf.

While the prolific author has four million copies of his books in print, so far he’s written only three titles in the youth mystery genre.

His Dead Man’s Switch, published by the American firm Harvest House, is about a teenage boy who becomes endangered when he sets out to unravel a dark conspiracy. It’s a case of the hunter becoming the hunted on a remote island in a plot inspired by Brouwer’s own adolescent reading of The Most Dangerous Game, a short story by Richard Connell.

“I thought it was a fascinating concept,” said Brouwer, whose novel includes the use of modern devices to solve various dilemmas.

“The protagonist uses some new technology to defeat the bad guy.”

He added Dead Man’s Switch was written carefully and seriously, as “young readers are smart. I wanted to write this as well as if I was writing a grown-up novel.”

Judges called the book a “cleverly crafted intense mystery thriller” that’s loaded with action, humour, believable characters, plot twists — and food for thought: “Frighteningly realist in its exploration of the secrets and abuses of power that are hidden in today’s world, teens will have plenty to think about and discuss.”

While there’s no cash tied to the prize, Brouwer believes winning the esteemed Arthur Ellis Award raises his profile in Canadian literature.

Dead Man’s Switch already has a sequel, Nowhere To Hide, about teenage cyber bounty hunters who get drawn into another conspiracy.

The Central Alberta author is also in the running for another award. His book Thief of Glory is a finalist in the Alberta Readers’ Choice Awards, which comes with a purse of $10,000. It will be announced on Sept. 18.

Brouwer has written across many genres, from children’s picture books to scientific thrillers. He is published by mainstream and evangelical publishers.

The author, who has visited thousands of students at schools across North America to promote literacy, is married to a Christian singer Cindy Morgan and has two daughters. He divides his time between Nashville and Central Alberta.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools Board of Trustees selected the name St. Lorenzo Ruiz Middle School to be built in the north end of Red Deer. (Photo Courtesy of  Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools)
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raises about $8,720 for Terry Fox Foundation

Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools raised about $8,720 for the Terry Fox… Continue reading

A nurse gets a swab ready at a temporary COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Friday, May 15, 2020. Health Canada has reversed course on home test kits for COVID-19, saying it will now review applications for such devices. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Alberta declines Ontario’s request to send health-care workers

Alberta is “not in a position” to send health-care workers out of… Continue reading

The Red Deer Rebels allowed four straight goals from the Medicine Hat Tigers Friday night on the road. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers hand Red Deer Rebels 10th straight loss

Tigers 4 Rebels 2 Through 17 games in the shortened WHL season,… Continue reading

Meghan Huizing has been selected by Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools as a finalist for the Alberta School Boards Association (ASBA) 2021 Edwin Parr Award. (Photo courtesy of Red Deer Regional Catholic Schools)
Red Deer Catholic names finalist for Edwin Parr Award

Meghan Huizing from St. Gregory the Great Catholic School in Blackfalds has… Continue reading

GrammaLink-Africa members are participating in the Stride to Turn the Tide campaign until June 30. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer group walking to raise money for African grandmothers

A group of central Albertans will be walking every day until the… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools will not pilot the new draft curriculum at its elementary schools. (File photo contributed by Red Deer Public Schools)
UPDATED: Red Deer Public Schools says no to piloting new curriculum

Alberta Teachers’ Association support school boards

A person walks past a COVID-19 mural designed by artist Emily May Rose on a rainy day during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Monday, April 12, 2021. Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off the job or coming into work while knowingly sick could warrant discipline in the workplace. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Risky pandemic behaviour off the clock could mean workplace discipline: lawyers

CALGARY — Employment lawyers say flouting COVID-19 public health orders when off… Continue reading

Vials containing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine for COVID-19 are seen at the San Marino State Hospital, in San Marino, Friday, April 9, 2021.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Antonio Calanni
China, Russia using their COVID-19 vaccines to gain political influence

OTTAWA — China and Russia have been using their locally produced COVID-19… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference in Ottawa Tuesday, March 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau announces donation to Duke of Edinburgh’s award ahead of funeral

Canada will donate $200,000 to the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award as… Continue reading

Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Science) Will Amos responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. The Liberal MP who inadvertently flashed his parliamentary colleagues says the fact that a screenshot of him in the nude was leaked to the media sends a troubling message about the corrosive state of politics in Canada. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
Canada’s naked MP speaks out: leaked photo sends message ‘anything goes’ in politics

OTTAWA — The Liberal MP who inadvertently flashed his parliamentary colleagues says… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $10 million jackpot… Continue reading

Opinion
Opinion: Canada’s self-esteem needs Trump

Well, it was fun while it lasted. For four years, with Donald… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Shenanigans on the links

It must be something about my Scottish heritage but I seem to… Continue reading

Muskrats can occupy any wetland that is shallow enough to permit the growth of their aquatic food.
Pearman: Muskrats numbers rebounding in central Alberta

I have spent many pleasant hours muskrat watching. Time spent in the… Continue reading

Most Read