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

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta reports 1,731 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday

The province’s central zone has 992 active cases

Collin Orthner, manager at McBain Camera in downtown Red Deer, stands behind the store’s counter on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
A few Red Deer businesses happy with Black Friday results

While this year’s Black Friday wasn’t as successful as it was in… Continue reading

Le Chateau Inc. is the latest Canadian firm to start producing personal protective equipment for health care workers, in a July 3, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Hundreds of millions of dollars for frontline workers yet to be released, says Alberta Federation of Labour

Information recently released by the Alberta Federation of Labour suggests more than… Continue reading

Red Deer RCMP say a 30-year-old man faces sexual charges against a teen. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Man killed in two-vehicle collision near Penhold, says Blackfalds RCMP

A 46-year-old man is dead following a two-vehicle collision on Highway 42… Continue reading

Idyllic winter scenes are part of the atmosphere of the holiday season, and are depicted in many seasonal movies. How much do you know about holiday movies? Put your knowledge to the test. (Pixabay.com)
QUIZ: Test your knowledge of holiday movies and television specials

The festive season is a time for relaxing and enjoying some seasonal favourites

Banff National Park. (The Canadian Press)
Study finds train speed a top factor in wildlife deaths in Banff, Yoho national parks

EDMONTON — A study looking at 646 wildlife deaths on railway tracks… Continue reading

Cows on pasture at the University of Vermont dairy farm eat hay Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Burlington, Vt. Canadian dairy farmers are demanding compensation from the government because of losses to their industry they say have been caused by a series of international trade deals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Lisa Rathke
Feds unveil more funding for dairy, poultry and egg farmers hurt by free trade deals

OTTAWA — Canadian egg and poultry farmers who’ve lost domestic market share… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Dr. Theresa Tam speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Canada's top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track for new COVID-19 infections as case counts continue mounting in much of the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
COVID-19 cases in Canada remain on troubling course, Tam says, amid rising numbers

Canada’s top doctor says the country is still on a troubling track… Continue reading

hay
Hay’s Daze: Giraffe knows filling wishes can sometimes be a tall order

Last weekend, I had a lovely breakfast. “So what?” you may say.… Continue reading

A person enters a building as snow falls in Ottawa, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. Ottawa has been successful in limiting the spread of COVID-19 during its second wave thanks to the city’s residents who have been wearing masks and staying home, said Ottawa’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
People to thank for Ottawa’s success with curbing COVID-19: health officer

The city’s chief medical officer said much of the credit goes to the people who live in Ottawa

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh asks a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says tonight's public video gaming session with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is about reaching young people where they hang. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP leader stoked over ‘epic crossover’ in video gaming sesh with AOC

Singh and AOC discussed importance of universal pharmacare, political civility, a living wage

A south view of the Ward Hunt Ice Shelf breaking apart is seen from Ward Hunt Island, Nunavut, in an Aug. 20, 2011, handout photo. The remote area in the northern reach of the Nunavut Territory, has seen ice cover shrink from over 4 metres thick in the 1950s to complete loss, according to scientists, during recent years of record warming. Scientists are urging the federal government to permanently protect a vast stretch of Canada's remotest High Arctic called the Last Ice Area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CEN/Laval University, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Scientists urge permanent protection of Last Ice Area in Canada’s High Arctic

Tuvaijuittuq has the thickest and oldest ice in the Arctic

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 $55 million Lotto Max jackpot

No winning ticket was sold for the $55 million jackpot in Friday… Continue reading

Most Read