Cheakamus is a fictional town in the British Columbia mountains, full of down-home, quirky people. It’s the setting for The Snow Job, the first of the Cheakamus series.
Although Gabe, the protagonist in The Snow Job, has ties to the area, his hometown is Eau Claire, Alberta, a fictional town in southwestern Alberta. Located in the rolling ranchland near the Alberta foothills, Eau Claire has a front row view of the Rocky Mountains. The Old Man River is to the south, the Bow to the north, and the Cowboy Trail skirts the eastern edge of the town. Calgary is a mere hour’s drive away.
Where Eau Claire sits in the midst of ranch country, beneath the impossibly huge Alberta sky, Cheakamus, British Columbia is clutched in a fist of granite peaks behind which the sun sets much too early.
Farms and small ranches occupy the Rocque River valley to the west of town, and surrounding mountains offer a variety of outdoor activities, from trail riding to back packing to skiing.
Cheakamus sits not far from the Slocan Valley, an area into which draft dodgers disappeared in the seventies. The town is also very close to the U.S. border. Just a few kilometers south of town and you’re looking at that unguarded piece of real estate that separates Canadians from their American neighbours.
In the first of the series Gabe takes on the second most important case of his life when his kid brother, Jack, is fingered as the primary suspect in deadly sabotage at mining sites near Cheakamus.
His kid brother’s fate ranks second on Gabe’s list of important cases because an Alberta case in which Gabe was once arrested for murder, and which remains unsolved, tops the list.
A recovering lawyer who, if asked, would list his F150 among his good friends.
Primarily because when Gabe talks, the truck named Three listens.
And yes, there were two before Three.
If he had his druthers, Gabe would hang out here, just a short canter away from The Cowboy Trail.
Instead, The Snow Job finds Gabe scrambling around those granite peaks pictured above, and unmarked trails in areas like this: