“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


Dead Witness by Joylene Nowell Butler

Valerie McCormick is a wife and mother from small town Canada. While visiting Seattle, she becomes the only witness to the brutal seaside murder of two FBI agents. When she flees to the nearest police station to report the crime, she becomes caught up in a web of international intrigue and danger.  Suddenly, she and her family are in the sights of ruthless criminals bent on preventing her from testifying against the murderer. Even with FBI protection, Valerie is not safe. Whisked away from her family and all that is familiar to her, Valerie fights back against the well-intentioned FBI to ultimately take control over her life with every ounce of fury a mother can possess. 


Excerpt of Dead Witness:


Aidan Roth heard a car pull into Valerie’s driveway. He tossed the magazine onto the coffee table and stood up. He’d been waiting an hour for his sister, or for one of her family to return home. He stretched his neck and looked out the front window …. It wasn’t Valerie. A 1996 blue sedan stopped a short distance from the front door. Aidan didn’t recognize the vehicle, but the burly man crawling out from behind the wheel was his old boss; someone he hadn’t seen in six months.

He rushed toward the foyer and threw the front door open. “Inspector?”

RCMP Inspector Banyan rubbed his hands vigorously then rechecked his notepad. “Aidan? You live here?”

Aidan yanked his collar away from his neck and fought to breath. “No. My sister … does.”

“Valerie McCormick …? Aidan?”


“Is your brother-in-law home?”

“He’s at his office.”

Aidan looked past the Inspector to the large front yard. From nowhere the wind had come, skimming off the snowdrifts outlining the driveway, twirling beads of crystallized moisture around him, his lungs gasping as the frozen air swept down his throat.

“Aidan?” Inspector Banyan gripped his elbow and turned him.

Aidan frowned at his old boss. Banyan said something weird. If only he could make sense of it.

He remembered the day his parents died. Remembered it as if it were yesterday. A rough dayshift. Difficulty sleeping. The phone rang at half past three in the morning. Then the empty, hollow feeling like the world had sucked him in and spit him out. The worst kind of worse imaginable. Where his whole being failed him. What was that? The Inspector repeated something. Had he replied ‘what’ to himself, or had he said it out loud as he intended?

“Let’s go and sit down, okay? What’s your brother-in-law’s office number? Do you have someone you can call? Do you want me to fix some coffee?”

Then Aidan absorbed the words the Inspector had spoken and he whispered, “She can’t be dead.” He stopped short of sitting on the couch—sitting being a confirmation, and no way could he do that. No. “You’re wrong, sir.”

* * *

Joylene Nowell Butler was born in Manitoba and raised in British Columbia, Canada. She attended Douglas College and Simon Fraser University. In 1992, she and her husband retired to a community in central BC called Cluculz Lake. There, Joylene wrote 4 other books and is currently working on her sixth. Her novel Broken But Not Dead will be released in 2011 by Theytus Books.

See also: Pat Bertram Introduces Valerie McCormick, Hero of Dead Witness by Joylene Nowell Butler