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Home > Author > Joylene Nowell Butler
Joylene Nowell Butler

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Member Since: Jul, 2008

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  Joylene Nowell Butler

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If Chapter One doesn’t force your adrenaline pumping—you better check your pulse. You’ve ceased breathing. —WR.PARK, author of the highly acclaimed suspense-thriller COMA

Background Information

 Joylene Nowell Butler, Métis Canadian, has been writing for 27 years. A retired emergency responder, she was born in Manitoba, moved to Maple Ridge as a child, attended Douglas College and Simon Fraser University. She and her husband Ralph moved to Pr. George in 1979 where they raised their five sons. In 1992 they built a cottage on Cluculz Lake, near Vanderhoof. In her spare time, Joylene teaches Tai Chi.

            Joylene wrote her first manuscript Always Father’s Child in 1984, as a tribute to her father Charles Murray Nowell, who had passed away suddenly the year before. Seven years later, she shelved AFC and began work on DEAD WITNESS. Three years later, she began Kiss of the Assassin. In 2004, she wrote Broken But Not Dead, a story, like Dead Witness that takes place in Pr. George and Cluculz Lake. Broken But Not Dead is due to be released by Theytus Books in July 2011. The sequel Omatiwak: Woman Who Cries is in its 4th revision. Joylene’s 6th novel, untitled is still in its infancy.



Birth Place
Portage La Prairie, Manitoba,  Canada

Reviews for Dead Witness:

Dead Witness by Joylene Butler 4 Sep 2008
by Robert Fink

Ms. Butler has a gem of a story in “Dead Witness”. There is so much to like about it, starting with a plot that takes the reader through a roller coaster ride of twists and turns. And, though the story is true to adventure genre in its feel, it is different, different in a very good way. The star of the difference is the protagonist, Valerie McCormick. Valerie is not a superwoman, but she does incredible things in a very believable way. Valerie’s growth throughout the novel is the true driver of this gem of a book. Ms. Butler does a superb job of putting the reader inside of Valerie, and I do not say just her head. The protagonist is so real that I would expect to meet her like a dear friend. It is the strong way that Ms. Butler brings a woman’s perspective to a man’s genre that is so refreshing and different.

* * * *

"Dead Witness" by Joylene Nowell Butler 12 Aug 2008
by Karen Slater

"Dead Witness," is a heart rending story every mother will identify with. Should she jeopardize the safety of her three beautiful daughters or do the right thing and testify against a murderer? Valerie McCormick, is a real person (at least in this book), sometimes she feels weak and not able to cope, but is fearless and strong when her family needs her to protect them. Brilliantly plotted, it’s an exciting thriller that will have you on the edge of your seats rooting for Valerie. Hating the villains and marvelling at the speed in which the plot turns and takes you on a roller-coaster of emotions. You’ve gotta read this book!

* * * *
Dead Witness is a great thriller 11 Aug 2008
by Lisa Haselton

Valerie McCormick is combining a solo all-expense paid dream trip to Seattle with business, while her family is at home in Canada. Her trip takes a life-altering turn when she accidentally witnesses two murders.

Valerie realizes how alone she is when the murderers give chase to silence her. She is unfamiliar with the area and panics even more when she realizes what she dropped. Her inner need for self-preservation to stay alive and get home to her kids keeps her alive. She wrestles with her conscience about what to do about what she saw. It’s her personal family history that helps her make the tough decision and it might not be the safest one.

Learning she witnessed the murder of two FBI agents does nothing to soothe Valerie’s nerves as she makes her way home and tries to keep the graphic images out of her mind. With her brother’s unwavering support, she focuses on the family lumber business and raising her three daughters.

Joylene Butler’s protagonist is a ‘real person’ – a mother, wife, and co-owner of a family business – but it’s the exceptionally crafted, extreme circumstances Butler devises for the protagonist that yank the reader into the prose and keep eyes focused on the pages. Butler’s research is seamlessly written to make the story move along as quickly as the action. The tight, descriptive writing makes the characters seem like they are on a movie screen and not mere text in a book.

Joylene Nowell Butler was born in Manitoba, Canada, grew up in Haney, and raised her sons in Pr. George, BC. She and her husband built and now live in a cottage on Cluculz Lake. The jury is out whether they'll retire there or not, but it’s where Joylene is currently at work on her sixth novel. Check out her blog at:

Dead Witness is a true suspense novel. The reader naturally tries to anticipate where the story is going, but Butler has a surprise around every corner. If you enjoy thrillers or suspense, this book does not disappoint. The novel is a literal page turner if you focus on the story and overlook any editorial issues. Butler is a name to watch in the thriller genre.

* * * *

Intriguing plot, vivid characters …. an utterly gripping read. 31 Jul 2008
by megwestley

Watch out for Joylene Nowell Butler. Her first novel, Dead Witness, is a gripping tale of a woman whose life changes forever when she witnesses the leader of a Latin drug cartel murder two FBI agents. The FBI desperately wants Valerie to testify; the drug lord is just as determined to make sure she never does.

It's a rollercoaster ride of chilling plot twists and turns. Butler takes us into the mind and heart of a woman who lost her parents as a child and now loses her children, when the FBI force her into hiding. As she struggles to elude the drug lord and return to her children, she discovers an inner strength that allows her to not only face the demons in her past, but also find romance in a most unlikely place. Butler's writing is fluid and compelling: she evokes each scene with an attention to detail that makes you feel you're actually there.

Plot, pace, characterization and prose: Butler delivers on all counts. Pick up Dead Witness and you won't want to put it down.
If Chapter One doesn’t force your adrenaline pumping—you better check your pulse. You’ve ceased breathing.

* * * *

Author Joylene Nowell Butler words on a white sheet of paper is the equivalent of a master painter creating a scene that comes to life on canvas in every detail. The reader will make the same journey as her characters—and sense the action, joy and sorrow, as witnessed and experienced through fictional eyes.

Ms. Butler is as talented as those whose names are featured on the bestseller list. Pack up your beach bag, suntan lotion, and a copy of Dead Witness—then lean back in your lounger and enjoy the ride.

—WR.PARK, author of the highly acclaimed suspense-thriller COMA

* * * * *

27 Jul 2008
by Cheryl Koch

Valerie McCormick had won a Mother's Day contest for two fun filed days in Seattle . If she had known that winning would have her running for her life then she probably won't have gone. Valerie went down to the docks to take some pictures when she witnesses the murder of two men. Valerie discovers that the two men were undercover FBI agents who were working a case to bring down of Latin's most famous drug lord's Miguel DeOlmos. Now DeOlmos is after Valerie and her family but the FBI is going to try their hardest to protect Valerie. DeOlmos tracks Valerie down and almost succeeds in killing her. Now Valerie knows that she will have to take matters into her own hands. It¢s a battle of wits in addition to who has time in their favor.

I found it amazing just to what extremes a mother will go to protect her family. Valerie's character is a very strong woman with a fierce personality. The story line was a very exciting one with all the action and adventure. It seemed like though that Valerie was better equipped to take on Miguel DeOlmos then the FBI were. This is why I think I found Dead Witness so good was because I wanted to see what Valerie would do next. I was pleasantly surprised to find I couldn't put Dead Witness down. Dead Witness can by classified as a great read. This is all due to the author Joylene Nowell Butler. Keep up the good job.

* * * * *

Dead Witness is dead on

26 Jul 2008
by Keith Pyeatt

I reluctantly reached the end of Dead Witness this afternoon and had to say goodbye to Valerie and Canaday, the two main characters. They are wonderful, as are the plot and the pace and the characterization and the twists. The dialogue is as real as it gets. But yet another reason Dead Witness shines so brightly is the DeOlmos brothers, the bad guys. They're evil but oh so human. Individually, they're scary and believable and sometimes even charming, but there's something about the way they interact and complement each other that makes them all the more realistic and complex and terrifying. Still, it's Valerie who gets my highest praise. What a fascinating mix of vulnerability and strength, naivety and savvy, purity and seductress.

The writing style is crisp and dynamic and consistent, perfect for a thriller. This novel gets all the stars I'm allowed to give it. I loved reading Dead Witness and hated to see it end.

* * * * *

Fast-paced entertainment with characters you won't forget!

23 Jul 2008
by Vicki Smith

Dead Witness is definitely a Friday night read. If you start this book on a school night, prepare to spend the next day sleep-deprived. Joylene Nowell Butler’s crisp plot races forward and never relents. The book delivers an exciting story at a hot pace; but that is not what makes it a five-star read. What distinguishes Dead Witness is the outstanding quality of the dialogue and the depth and complexity of its characters.

Nowell Butler’s heroine, Valerie McCormick, is a Canadian housewife and mother from Prince George, British Columbia. When the machinations of the FBI fail to protect her or her family from Colombian drug lord Miguel DeOlmos, Valerie makes the decision to seek DeOlmos on her own terms. Those terms are what make this heroine so appealing and so interesting, as one quiet, determined BC housewife takes her fate in her own hands and sets the FBI, and its star agent, Michael Canaday on their ears.

* * * * *

"Dead Witness" by Joylene Nowell Butler

8 Jul 2008
by Judy Avila

Joylene Nowell Butler's mystery, "Dead Witness," is a heart pounding, visceral story about a mother's love for her three daughters and the impossible decision that faces her: should she endanger her own and her family's lives by testifying to a murder she witnessed?

The primary character, Valerie McCormick, will win your heart. Vulnerable and full of self doubt, she is fiercely strong when her family is threatened. And the antagonists, the deadly DeOlmos brothers, are creepy, charming, and gorgeous - enough to make any sane reader get up and lock the doors.

Ms. Butler, a Canadian native, sets her tale in Seattle; Prince George, Canada; and Los Cabos, Mexico. The story races from one place to another, leaving you gasping with its twists and turns. The delightfully complex plot rivals any police story I've read, and the compelling characters far surpass those usually found in genre fiction.

If you like a dynamic read with remarkable characters, get out and buy Dead Witness

Derek Armstrong, author of MADicine, STARRED Review Booklist, says, “Congratulations. I can 100% vouch for (Dead Witness) as a great read.”

Carmie Webster, long time resident of Cluculz Lake, says, “I had no idea the girl (Joylene) had that kind of talent. Dead Witness is the best thing I’ve read in ages.”

Betty Shanner, of Cluculz Lake says, “I was hooked from the first page. I only stopped long enough to make dinners.”

Judith Derksen of Vanderhoof, BC writes, “Bought it at the Dept Store yesterday, came home and started reading. What a good read! Had to stop and make supper at one point but other than that I was hooked! Finished it at 1.00am. When Valerie has to make the choice of turning the ignition key or not, the turmoil you expressed so well had me close to tears.”

Additional Information

Joylene's novel Dead Witness is being read in Kandahar, the Canary Islands, and Poland, besides England and North America.

Favorite Links

Joylene Nowell Butler
Joylene's next novel Broken But Not Dead is due for release through Theytus Books in July 2011

Joylene Nowell Butler, author
Blog: one moment at a time on Cluculz Lake

Chapters.Indigo online Bookstore
Dead Witness on sale now.

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