Print Friendly, PDF & Email


The truth won’t always set you free…

Ess wakes up alone on a sailboat in the remote Pacific Northwest with no memory of who she is or how she got there. She finds a note, but it’s more warning than comfort: Start over. Don’t make yourself known. Don’t look back. 

Ess must have answers. She sails over a turbulent ocean to a town hundreds of miles away that, she hopes, might offer insight. The chilling clues she uncovers point to a desperate attempt at erasing her former life. But why? And someone is watching her…someone who knows she must never learn her truth.

In Ess’s world, the earth is precariously balanced at a climate tipping point, and she is perched at the edge of a choice: which life does she want? The one taken from her—and the dangerous secret that was buried—or the new one she can make for herself?

TheBigThrill caught up to author Lisa Brideau to find out more about her page-turning thriller, ADRIFT, that delves into a world of hidden identities and the terrifying realities of climate change.

Lisa Brideau
c. J Josue Photography

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?

I was on a week-long kayak camping trip in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia – an area of outstanding natural beauty. It feels like a place removed from the real world, out of time.

There was a sailboat touring the same area as us and the opening scene of a woman waking up there alone on a sailboat with no memory of who she was or how she got there came to me. And it stuck. And I had to write the rest of the story.

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?

No specific book, but I am always inspired by Emily St. John Mandel’s genre-blending storytelling and tried to be unconstrained with ADRIFT, to go where I needed to to tell the story and not worry about genre conventions until later.

When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?

The protagonist of ADRIFT, Ess, has amnesia, and so I had a fun challenge of writing a compelling main character who doesn’t know herself. To make her as real as possible, I read many non-fiction books about real amnesia patients, gaining an understanding of the complexity of brain injuries and the impacts on personality and behaviour; really fascinating stuff.

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?

ADRIFT is written to be an entertaining page-turner, but I do also hope that people come away caring a bit more about taking action to address climate change. I hope people will find a way in their real lives to make changes, to join an organization, to contact their politicians and demand more real progress. We need everyone involved in whatever capacity they can manage so we can avoid the worst impacts, so we can protect those most at risk of harm. I hope people don’t just see a dystopian future, but see the opportunity to avoid it through action.


Lisa Brideau (‘bree-doe’) was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada in the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw People. Her writing is inspired by the ridiculous quantities of science fiction she read during her formative years with a crust of CanLit layered on top.

​She has a B.Eng in Aerospace Engineering from Carleton University and an M.Sc in Urban Planning from the University of British Columbia and currently works as a sustainability specialist. When she takes breaks from trying to mitigate catastrophic climate change, she likes to write speculative suspense fiction or practice her waltz. She lives in Vancouver, BC (the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples) with her partner and their herd of cats. She is most likely cuddling a cat right now.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.