Starlight Tour by Reber and Renaud

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80,000 words hardcover
Finished books available


Canada: Random House, Nov 2005
                        Second edition: January 15, 2019


Susanne Reber (Photo: Rachel de Leon)
SUSANNE REBER (Photo: Rachel de Leon)

Rob Renaud (Photo: Mary Rogan)
ROB RENAUD (Photo: Mary Rogan)

Susanne Reber is an award-winning veteran investigative editor, executive producer and author. She is the co-founder and former executive editor of Reveal, the investigative radio program and podcast. The show airs on more than 450 public radio stations in the U.S. Reber produced Reveal for The Center for Investigative Reporting, where she held various senior editorial roles, including Director of Digital Media, where she was responsible for all content in film, audio and digital. Her investigative projects have garnered her three Peabody Awards, an Emmy award, and a DuPont award among many others and were showcased in national and international film festivals. Prior to joining CIR in 2012, Reber formed and led NPR's first Investigations Unit, which went on to win many national and international awards. Prior to moving to the U.S., Reber spent 23 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., where she was deputy managing editor of National Radio News and executive producer of CBC's Michener Award-winning Investigative Unit from 2003 to 2009. Starlight Tour is co-authored with Rob Renaud, the Regional Director of CBC Radio Ottawa, whom Reber had worked with for over seven years leading CBC National Radio News. Together, they have won a number of awards for investigative journalism.

Starlight Tour
The last, lonely night of Neil Stonechild

by Susanne Reber and Rob Renaud


  • Shortlisted for the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction
  • Shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Non-Fiction Crime Book

Starlight Tour 2nd edition cover

In 1990, on a November night that hit -28 degrees Celsius, seventeen-year-old Neil Stonechild disappeared only blocks from his mother's home. His frozen body was found three days later, eight kilometres from where he was last seen in downtown Saskatoon. The police investigation was cursory—no one seemed to wonder about the abrasions on his wrists or the scrapes on his face, or the fact that he was missing a shoe. Neil was drunk and out walking, the police believed, and had died by misadventure. His mother, Stella Bignell, tried her best to push for answers, but no one in authority wanted to listen to a native woman whose sons had often been in trouble with the law.

But Stella did not give up, and neither did the only witness, sixteen-year-old Jason Roy, who had seen Neil, beaten and bleeding, in the back of a Saskatoon police cruiser the night he disappeared. Starlight Tour recounts their struggle for justice in the face of indifferent officials, destroyed police files and institutionalized racism. In the decade following Neil's death, rumours persisted that police sometimes drove natives beyond the edge of town and abandoned them. But it was only in January 2000, when two more men were found frozen to death, that the truth about Neil Stonechild's fate began to emerge. A third man, Darrell Night, survived his "starlight tour", and lived to tell the tale. And soon one of the country's most prominent aboriginal lawyers, Donald Worme, was on the case.

With exclusive co-operation from the Stonechild family, Worme, and other key players, and information not yet revealed in the press coverage, Starlight Tour is an engrossing and damning portrait of rogue cops, racism, obstruction of justice, and justice denied, not only to a boy and his mother but to the entire country's native community.



“Starlight Tour is a vital chronicle of a tragedy that opened my eyes and yet still remains as painfully relevant as ever. A devastating portrait of the relationship between Indigenous peoples and a justice system that has offered us little real justice, it is as important for Canadians to read now as it was when first published and exposes just how long past due systemic reform is.” —JESSE WENTE, CBC Radio

Starlight Tour documents in clear, direct prose the death of Neil Stonechild. With compassion and grace, it exposes what has become all too ordinary, in language that refuses to victimize the family.”  — GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD JURY CITATION

“A deeply engrossing account....This book should be compulsory reading for Canadian police recruits from sea to shining sea.”  — THE GLOBE AND MAIL

“The Stonechild story is ably captured by veteran CBC journalists Susanne Reber and Robert Renaud in a thoroughly researched, deftly written work. Books with dual authors often suffer in the style department, but not this one. Reber and Renaud have produced a powerfully written, meticulously researched work with a cinematic feel.”  — TORONTO STAR

“Reber and Renaud are deft at presenting full portraits of the principals in the case...a revealing story of a dark corner of the Canadian soul where too often justice depends on the colour of a person's skin.”  — THE EDMONTON JOURNAL


Starlight Tour, 1st edition



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