In the vein of the astonishing and eye-opening bestsellers I’ll Be Gone in the Dark and The Line Becomes a River, this stunning work of investigative journalism follows a series of unsolved disappearances and murders of Indigenous women in rural British Columbia.
Along northern Canada’s Highway 16, a yellow billboard reads GIRLS, DON’T HITCHHIKE. KILLER ON THE LOOSE. The highway is a 450-mile stretch of dirt and asphalt, surrounded by rugged wilderness and snowy mountain peaks. It is known as the Highway of Tears. It is here that countless women and girls—most of them Indigenous—have vanished since 1969.
Highway of Tears explores the true story of what has happened along this troubled road. Journalist Jessica McDiarmid reassembles the lives of the victims—who they were, where they came from, who loved them, and what led them to the highway—and takes us into their families’ determined fight for the truth. The book also indicts the initial police investigations marred by incompetence and systemic racism, even as it shines a light on a larger phenomenon: the fact that more than a thousand indigenous women have gone missing or been found murdered across Canada, a topic brought to international attention when Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau opened an official inquiry into the case.
Combining hard-hitting reporting with a keen, human eye, Highway of Tears is a penetrating look at decades’ worth of tragedy and the fight to honor the victims by preserving their stories and providing them the justice they deserve.
Jessica McDiarmid is Canadian journalist who has written about human rights, racial conflicts and social justice in publications such as the Associated Press, CBC, and The Toronto Star. She grew up near the Highway of Tears and has been investigating the murders for the past five years. This is her first book.
“An illuminating, if harrowing, depiction of what happens when law enforcement turns a blind eye to people who are marginalized, oft-forgotten, and how the engagement and attention of key people within their ranks and in the press decide that ignorance is no longer a viable or acceptable option…necessary reading for people who have watched True Detective, The Bridge, or Top of the Lake.” —Rakesh S., Senior Editor, on Highway of Tears
“Powerful . . . [McDiarmid], writing with deeply felt emotion, makes it abundantly clear that this racism persists today [and] brings to light a little-known story that deserves more attention.” —Kirkus Reviews
“This moving, well-sourced book is essential reading for anyone who cares about social injustice.” —Publishers Weekly