Found unconscious on a remote road in the coastal rain forest, Joseph Windebank is badly injured, water-soaked, and near death. After being nursed back to health in a rural community of fishers and loggers, Joey is a changed man. His memory is gone, his wife has disappeared, and, in piecing together the mystery, Joey comes to imagine his world as a shadowy and frightening place where vampires haunt the deep woods and the dead trade their lives on the land for an eerie afterlife in the dark waters of the coastal inlets. Teased, tolerated, and nicknamed “Zero,” he packs prawns at the local fish plant, making a new life for himself. But he hides a growing fear that a huge, dark, and hungry secret is rising from the depths of his past—a secret that he is better off not knowing.
“Commander Zero is a brilliantly written novel that takes place in the tiny community of Pender Harbour. This is not your quaint and cozy local yokel tale. It is dark and quirky, as lyrical and hard as the landscape itself … The elements of nature are powerful, fully-fledged characters in this novel, as they are in marginal coastal life. Author David Lee understands this and has created a profound and beautiful work because of it…. The voice that Lee developed to help him understand hard-scrabble Pender Harbour life has helped him to create a novel that is part poem, part tragedy, an honest and moving mystery.”—Carole Rubin, Coast Reporter
“David Neil Lee has written a probing story in Commander Zero … knife-edge writing, excellent pacing … Lee is a strong storyteller with powerful moments of insight and resolution.”—Don Graves, Hamilton Spectator
“I love books strongly rooted in place, where the writer is so generous with specific detail that you can visualize the land, the vistas, the houses, the weather. If you’re looking for a lively and intriguing read for the end of summer, this is your book … Commander Zero is more than a roman-à-clef.” —Theresa Kishkan, The Harbour Spiel
About the Author
Before David Neil Lee became known as a writer, including two books on jazz, he was a founding member of Toronto’s improvised music community, playing double bass and cello with international jazz artists, dancers, actors and poets. He is also the author of the best-selling Chainsaws: A History.