“Broken but not Dead” by Joylene Nowell Butler

Broken but not Dead: Brendell Kisêpîsim Meshango is of Métis heritage and a PhD university professor in Prince George, British Columbia. When Brendell resigns from the university and retreats to her isolated cabin to repair her psyche, she is confronted by a masked intruder. His racial comments lead her to believe she is the solitary victim of a hate crime. However, is all as it appears? After two bizarre days inflicting a sadistic captivity, the intruder mysteriously disappears.

Taught by her mother to fear and distrust the mainstream-based power structures, and with her stalker possibly linked to a high level of government, Brendell conceals the incident from the police. But will keeping quiet keep her safe?

Then her beloved daughter, Zoë, is threatened — and Brendell takes matters into her own hands. To save Zoë, Brendell searches for the stalker and confronts not just a depraved madman but her own fears and prejudices.


Even in my state of lethargy I realized time had abandoned me. I was so cold. And wet. A liquidly substance that I refused to look at lay on my torso. I remembered the knife. Was I dead now? Is this what death felt like?

No, my head and jaw hurt too much.

The room stank. A blend of sweet and sour, like a mixture of menstrual blood and vomit.

“Who knows best?”

I felt a mixture of joy for being alive and hatred because I couldn’t retaliate.  “You do.”

“Who are you?”

“The frog squaw.”

“You stupid?” His voice held no emotion.


“You ugly?”


“You deserve to die?”

I thought of begging, but instead whispered, “Yes.”

“You deserve to be forgiven?”

I stiffened with fear. Did I? Claustrophobic silence pushed me to the edge of hysteria. My mother once told me she’d been cursed the day I was born. If she couldn’t forgive me, why would he? “I hope so.”

Once again, I heard the rattle of glass and the flick of a match, a stark glare filled the room. He stood at the bottom of my bed with his hands behind his back and his balaclava covering his expression. Uncertainly threatened to suffocate me.

“The only important thing is what you think. That’s all that matters. Nothing else.” I gasped for air, but he didn’t move, didn’t pull the hose from behind his back. Instead, he stared down at my nakedness with eyes that were anything but lust-filled.


I lowered my eyes. My breasts, thighs, legs, crotch were covered in blood. The sight of an erratic latticework design drained all the will left in me. My blood? But I felt nothing. “Oh, please.”

He hung his head and looked down at me with a sad expression; I saw evidence of some mad thing obsessed with death.

My death…? “Please forgive me.”

“I want to forgive you. I want to believe you’ve changed.”

“I have.”

“Who knows best?”

“You do.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m nobody. I’m—I’m—”

“Who understands you?”

“You do.”

“Who can forgive you?”

“You can.”

“Am I your dream come true?”

“Yes. You, only you.”

“Goodgirl, Brendell.”

A sigh escaped me. Had I just averted another lashing?

He floated toward me, arms outstretched. Warm tobacco breath covered my face. “Sleep,” he said, applying hard pressure to the carotid arteries in my neck.

Despite the restrains, I fought to free my hands. Rope cut into my wrist. The pressure to my neck was excruciating. Pain, terrible pain.  I twisted. I used my chin and tried to shove his hand away. Pressure built up in my head, behind my eyes. I couldn’t breathe. I was drowning. Choking. The pain — bad!


Then the room blackened and his voice faded as I drifted off on the frangible pieces of my soul.

“Remember Brendell. Don’t make me hurt you.”

Hurt me? But wasn’t I dead now?


Joylene Nowell Butler began writing at the age of 31, eight months after losing her father. Seven years later, she had completed her first novel, knew it wasn’t publishable, but realized she was hooked on the process. Today she lives with her husband on beautiful Cluculz Lake in central BC. She’s the published author of the suspense thriller Dead Witness and psychological thriller Broken but not Dead. She’s currently revising Broken’s sequel Omatiwak: Woman Who Cries, also editing another suspense thriller, a children’s book, and a political thriller.

Click here to read an interview with: Joylene Nowell Butler, Author of “Broken but not Dead”

Click here to read an interview with: Valerie McCormick, Hero of Dead Witness by Joylene Nowell Butler

Click here to read an excerpt from:  Dead Witness by Joylene Nowell Butler

Broken But Not Dead
Joylene Nowell Butler
ISBN 978-1-926886-16-9
$17.95 USD
Publishers  Theytus Books, June 27, 2011

Dead Witness, Books & Co.
Broken But Not Dead – Theytus
Broken but not Dead, Amazon.ca
Broken but not Dead, Chapters.Indigo
blog – http://cluculzwriter.blogspot.com
webpage – http://joylenenowellbutler.com


13 Responses to ““Broken but not Dead” by Joylene Nowell Butler”

  1. Kaitlin Says:

    Wow! What a powerful excerpt.

  2. joylene Says:

    Thank you so much, Pat. I’m overwhelmed. This is so exciting. I have to say one thing though, the excerpt scared the beegeebees out of me. I had to write it during the day. The rest of the book is about Brendell taking back her power. Thank you for posting this.

  3. Marian Lanouette Says:

    The story drew me right in. Good Luck. Marian

  4. A. F. Stewart Says:

    Definitely going on the Christmas wish list.

  5. Adriana Ryan Says:

    Joylene, you have such a heart-stopping way of writing thrillers. It’s like I’m right there in the page with your characters, and my heart rate goes through the roof as I wait for what comes next! Love this. Definitely one for my Kindle Wishlist.

  6. Linda Acaster Says:

    Oooh, scary. And I thought I wrote dark. Jeez… This is powerful stuff.

  7. Carole Sutton Says:

    Yes, dark, yes, scary, but a terrific piece of writing that has hooked me right in. Well done Joylene, and thank you Pat Bertram for displaying it.

  8. Susanne Drazic Says:

    Wow, Joylene. That is quite an excerpt.

  9. Karen Cioffi Says:

    Great excerpt Joylene. I love the title.

  10. Sheila Deeth Says:

    Wow! Scary excerpt. Very powerful.

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