A prison escape, a bear on the loose, botched lyrics. What more could go wrong with Crow Valley’s most anticipated night of the year?
A year after forest fires ravaged the town of Crow Valley and claimed the life of Dale Jepson—karaoke legend, local prison guard, and all-around good guy—the community hosts a high-stakes karaoke competition. But when a convicted murderer escapes from nearby Crow Valley Correctional, residents discover there’s more on the line than local, perhaps even national, karaoke fame.
In this darkly comedic, fast-paced ride through an unforgettable small town, five residents with intimate connections to Dale and drastically different goals for the night will collide into, conspire with, and aid one another as they scramble to make it successfully through the evening under the scrutinizing watch of neighbors.
To the soundtrack of classics belted out with abandon, voices will crack, cars will be stolen, marriages will falter, and kids will slip away in search of trouble. And maybe, just maybe, lives will be transformed for the better.
About the Author
Ali Bryan is a writer based in Calgary, Alberta. Her first novel, Roost, won a Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was an official selection of One Book Nova Scotia. Her second novel, The Figgs, was released in 2018 and was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. She won the 2020 Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story. She is a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Emerging Artist recipient. Her debut YA novel, The Hill, was released in March 2021 from Dottir Press and was long-listed for the 2021 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize.
"This book has it all—it's hilarious, moving, bawdy, empathetic, and packed with beauty and insight. Readers will be cheering for every one of these characters, and this book is a reminder that there's always more than one kind of victory."
—J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest
"Ali Bryan is a comedic genius—the kind of writer who makes you laugh until your guts hurt, and then turns around and sucker punches you with a truth so powerful it breaks your heart. The Crow Valley Karaoke Championships is a wise, hilarious, big-hearted novel that made me want to move to Crow Valley, practice up on my singing, and hang out with this motley crew of characters in all their quirky, messy, charming, relatable glory. Strap yourself in, this is one wild ride."
—Amy Jones, bestselling author of We're All In This Together
"This is undoubtedly a book we need right now. The big, bold cast in this big, bold story serves as an able reminder that life is deep and rich and fun and tragic. It's all these things, daily, and there’s nobility in the adventure we undertake toward each sundown; every second of every day is worth it, whether glad or bad. The buckets of humor that Ali dumps atop it all makes this karaoke-fest a fine lot of fun, too. In these pages, there’s love and loss, life and death, drama, danger, mystery, and poutine. Never has so much hinged on a karaoke regional qualifier. This book is a dazzling spectacle. You won’t be able to turn away."
—Bradley Somer, author of Fishbowl and Extinction
"Ali Bryan has written a haunting, gritty and often funny meditation on love, loss, family, and forgiveness and how it all ripples through a caring community. The pages practically turned themselves, and the story and characters have been with me ever since. Bravo!"
—Terry Fallis, two-time winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour
"[A] madcap romp that will have you laughing all the way to the last page."
"[T]he antic and darkly comic latest from Bryan."