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Ampersand Vancouver

Vancouver Vice
Crime and Spectacle in the City's West End
By (author): Aaron Chapman
Aaron Chapman


Arsenal Pulp Press - Vancouver



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Dec 07, 2021
$27.95 CAD


10in x 7 x 0.6 in | 425 gr

Page Count:

168 pages


B&W photographs
FSC certified – mixed sources
Arsenal Pulp Press
HISTORY / Canada / Post-Confederation (1867-)
Brass Knuckles Award for Best Nonfiction Crime Book (Crime Writers of Canada) 2022, Short-listed

Aaron Chapman's latest Vancouver book explores the gritty history of the West End in the 1970s and '80s.

Aaron Chapman, the two-time Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award-winning author of such bestselling Vancouver-themed books as Vancouver after Dark and The Last Gang in Town, turns his gaze toward the city's tumultuous West End in his latest opus.

The late 1970s and early 1980s were a volatile period in the history of Vancouver, where broad social and cultural changes were afoot. This was perhaps most clearly evident in the West End, the well-known home to the city's tight-knit gay community that would soon be devastated by the AIDS epidemic. But the West End's tree-lined streets were also populated by sex workers, both female and male, who fought a well-publicized turf war with residents. This, combined with a rising crime rate, invited the closer attention of the Vancouver police, including its vice squad. But after a body was found dumped in nearby Stanley Park, it was discovered that the victim's high-profile connections reached far beyond the streets and back alleys of the West End, making for one of the most shocking investigations in Vancouver history, with secrets long held, and never fully told until now.

Vancouver Vice reveals the captivating beating heart of a neighbourhood long before the arrival of gentrifying condo towers and coffee bars. Part murder mystery, investigative expose, and cultural history, this book transports readers back to a grittier, more chaotic time in the city, when gambling dens prevailed, police listened in on wire taps, and hustlers plied their trade on street corners. With warm regard and a whiff of nostalgia, Vancouver Vice peers behind the curtain to examine how the city once indulged in its vices, and at what cost.

·         This is the fifth book on Vancouver history that we’ve published by Aaron Chapman, who has won two Bill Duthie Bookseller’s Choice Prizes from the BC Book Prizes (for Vancouver after Dark and Live at the Commodore). Vancouver Vice is perhaps most comparable in theme and format as The Last Gang in Town, his book on the Clark Park gang. Here, Aaron focuses on the city’s West End in the 1970s and 80s, a complicated period that saw the gay community devastated by the AIDS crisis; a proliferation of sex workers (both male and female) on West End streets that divided the community; and various instances of criminal activity and scandal that caused a sensation throughout the city.

·         The book is predicated on a murder in Stanley Park in 1984, when Wayne Harris’ body is found in the trunk of a car at Lost Lagoon. This event causes upheaval in the West End, involving suggestions of sexual impropriety, homophobic police officers, and a defiant gay community, that reverberates for years to come.

·         Aaron also delves into the experiences of the gay community as it was besieged by the police through bathhouse raids and the like; the efforts of the Vancouver vice and morality squads to combat street prostitution; and characters like Harris, a drug dealer and a pimp for adolescent males.

·         Despite its sensational content, Aaron is highly respectful of the material; he refrains from making rash judgments, writing from an objective journalistic perspective that places its goings- on in the context of its period. As part of his research, he has interviewed many long-time veterans of the West End’s gay community.

·         With a background as a musician and an events organizer, Aaron is a well seasoned performer who does well in interviews and public events. If in-person events are possible this fall, we will have a launch in the West End.

·         ZG Stories is handling publicity.

Aaron Chapman is a writer, historian, and musician with a special interest in Vancouver's entertainment history. He is the author of Vancouver after Dark: The Wild History of a City's Nightlife, winner of the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award (BC Book Prizes) in 2020; The Last Gang in Town, the story of Vancouver's Clark Park Gang; Liquor, Lust, and the Law, the story of Vancouver's Penthouse Nightclub, now available in a second edition; and Live at the Commodore, a history of the Commodore Ballroom that won the Bill Duthie Booksellers' Choice Award (BC Book Prizes) in 2015. In 2020 he was elected as a member of the Royal Historical Society. He lives in Vancouver.

Contributor Website
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Also Available

Vancouver After Dark Aaron Chapman 9781551527833 $32.95 CAD Nov 01, 2019
Liquor, Lust, and the Law Aaron Chapman 9781551527147 $26.95 CAD Oct 15, 2017
The Last Gang in Town Aaron Chapman 9781551526713 $24.95 CAD Sep 27, 2016
Live at the Commodore Aaron Chapman 9781551525662 $28.95 CAD Oct 20, 2014

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