The Bukowski Agency - The Line Painter

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60,000 words hardcover
Finished books available


Canada: HarperCollins, Spring 2007


Claire Cameron (Photo: Ryan McIntosh)
(Photo: Ryan McIntosh)

Born in 1973, Claire Cameron grew up in Toronto. She studied History and Culture at Queen's University. She then worked as an instructor for Outward Bound, teaching mountaineering, climbing, and white-water rafting in Oregon. Next she worked in San Francisco for Pearson Plc before moving to London in 1999. There she was until recently director of Shift Media, a consultancy whose clients included the BBC, McGraw-Hill, and Oxford University Press. Claire has now returned to live in Toronto with her husband and son.

The Line Painter

a novel by Claire Cameron


The Line Painter coverFleeing guilt and grief over her recently deceased boyfriend, Carrie McDonald is on a solo cross-country road trip when her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere in Northern Ontario. Stranded on the side of the road with a dead cell-phone battery and a steaming car, Carrie has no choice but to wait for a rescuer to drive by. Eventually, a slow-moving vehicle appears in the distance. Relieved at her good fortune, she soon becomes skeptical of the figure who emerges from the truck. For one thing, the steering wheel is on the wrong side, and the man himself is enough to make Carrie wary of the situation. Against her better judgment, however, Carrie gets into the truck, and so begins The Line Painter.

Frank paints the lines on the side of the road. He is bad-tempered, drinks too much, and is capable of violence, which Carrie soon discovers. Little did Carrie know that getting into Frank’s truck would begin the most harrowing few days of her life.

Claire Cameron has created in Carrie a sheltered character who exudes charm and intelligence, but whose grief has impaired her judgment. In Frank, however, she has crafted a man who is capable of tenderness, but whose inner demons and violent past checker his personality. In trying to escape the past that led to her sudden road trip, Carrie becomes impulsive and learns to feel comfortable with Frank-until one final violent confrontation that will affect Carrie forever.


The Line Painter begins with thrilling suspense. Cameron's lean prose is accessible and dynamic, and she is skilled at portraying the risky push-pull relationship between "captor" and "captive," a characteristic of all good thrillers.”  — TORONTOIST.COM

“It takes a certain amount of courage to tread such well-covered ground; it takes significant talent to make such a familiar conceit feel fresh and original, to lift it beyond the constraints of the cliché. In her debut novel The Line Painter…Toronto writer Claire Cameron demonstrates that she has both, in abundance. … The opening pages of The Line Painter are a masterful balancing act of suspense and relief, a dance between expectation and surprise that steadily increases the tension to an almost unbearable point. Writing in a tight, parsed, minimalist tone, Cameron acutely conveys the tension inherent in the situation and, more significantly, builds on readerly expectations with this motif. … It's a bravura performance. … Some of Carrie's actions are shocking, but nonetheless fully in character. That's a difficult trick for a writer to pull off but Cameron manages it with aplomb.”  — THE GLOBE AND MAIL

“An old B-movie premise-Car Breaks Down in the Middle of Nowhere-is given a fresh, distinctly Canadian twist in this wicked little first novel. The Line Painter fires along on its lean language and propulsive suspense, the kind of story you could swallow whole once you're past the first page. I certainly did.”  — ANDREW PYPER, author of The Wildfire Season

The Line Painter is a straightforward look at denial and the ways in which we seek forgiveness. Suspenseful, evocative, and well-paced, this road trip story of guilt and love offers glimpses into tragically human characters who inhabit the margins of redemption. There are no easy endings for Carrie or Frank as they discover, together, that some actions are unforgivable.”  — IBI KASLIK, author of Skinny



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