Kootenay author releases novel with Valley backdrop

Book centred in Banff National Park, spreads across the East Kootenays

Dave Butler’s debut novel may just surprise you. The East Kootenay resident showcases the Valley landscapes with clarity and passion in his novel, Full Curl.

The book explores the fictional world of Banff National Park warden Jenny Willson in a modern-day mystery.

Full Curl is loosely inspired by an investigation Mr. Butler was involved in back when he worked as a national park warden in Banff many years ago. At the time, he describes, the penalty for poaching was drastically less than now, causing wardens to deal with issues without the strong arm of the law to back them up.

Jenny Willson is a “hard-edged, caustic warden,” describes Mr. Butler. “She dislikes poachers as much as she dislikes some of the people she’s working for.”

When she discovers animals disappearing from Canada’s mountain parks, Ms. Willson begins a complex investigation that follows a trail of deceit, distraction, and murder. With a growing list of victims, she finds herself in a race for justice that criss-crosses the Canada-U.S. border and pushes her to a place from which she might not return.

While authors are always encouraged to write what you know, Mr. Butler laughingly admits he does not know what it is like to be a 32-year old woman.

“I started with a male character and it didn’t work quite as well,” he confessed. “I found a woman working in a man’s world was a much more interesting way to tell the story.”

The book takes readers into Banff National Park and into Columbia Valley locations within the Rocky Mountain Trench.

“I really love the landscape,” shared Mr. Butler. “I love the Rockies, the Purcells, and the space in between– the Rocky Mountain Trench… People in the Columbia Valley will recognize lots of places.”

The author is a forester and biologist living in Cranbrook. He says the future of books is looking up these days.

“I’m confident Canada is becoming a reading nation again,” he remarked to the Pioneer.

Full Curl is available in Cranbrook at Lotus Books and at Bacchus Books in Golden.

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