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Literature / Fall From Grace

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Fall From Grace is a crime novel written by Canadian author Wayne Arthurson. The story follows journalist Leo Desroches, a Metis (half Cree, half French) with a Dark and Troubled Past who lives and works in Edmonton, as he investigates the death of a young Aboriginal woman. A sequel was released in 2012, called A Killing Winter.


The book contains examples of:

  • Anti-Hero : Leo is not a likeable character, but somehow, you root for him. Plus he robs banks.
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  • Broken Bird : Zig-Zagged with Grace. While she was abandoned very young, she found a stable foster family and managed to finish high school. Played straighter when she turned to sex work to pay the bills.
  • Canada, Eh? : A Darker and Edgier subversion. Set in Edmonton, there are many distinctly Canadian things about the book (the Mounties, for instance). However, the setting could just as easily be any American city. There is Truth in Television here, in that the murdered women, many of Aboriginal descent, are a very real social problem in Canada.
  • Dark and Troubled Past : Leo is a recovering addict, who spent time on the streets.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The murdered Grace, as well as the other victims whose fate Desroches is trying to uncover.
  • Karma Houdini : Leo. Despite losing everything to his gambling addiction and having a rough time for a couple of years, during the course of the book, Leo has a roof over his head and a steady job. Yet he robs banks and doesn't get caught.
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  • Magical Native American : Averted, along with many stereotypes. The portrayal of Aboriginals, Cree in this case, is quite authentic. Leo also has a humourous moment when a Cree man offers him a cigarette, and Leo wonders if turning it down would be an insult to the man's peace offering.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: Leo is a journalist, which justifies his odd work hours and his connections in the community.
    • The One-Hour Work Week implied here is, however, an aversion as Leo is generally "on the job," if not "on the clock" while he's talking to various people in the course of his investigation.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown : Leo receives a nasty beating after he interviews a subject. An interesting example, in that rather than magically walking away untarnished, he suffers the symptoms of a fairly serious concussion (lack of focus, headache, etc.)
  • Non-Appearing Title : Grace is the name of the murder victim, but the term "fall" is used thematically in a couple of places in the text, both to refer to Leo's arc and as a colloquial expression.
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  • Parental Abandonment: Grace's parents abandoned her to the foster system when she was just four years old. Also, Leo doesn't see his own children.
  • Posthumous Character / The Ghost : Grace and possibly Charlie. Grace's murder is a Plot-Triggering Death that sends Leo on a quest to find out who she was. In doing so, he uncovers much more.
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