Lori Knutson


Denby Jullsen, Hughenden

Denby Jullsen, Hughenden is now available as an ebook through AmazonGoogle PlayKobo and Barnes & Noble.

Book Description

This tumultuous story begins with the reported murder of Hughenden resident and eldest Jullsen brother, Denby. His body is found by a hunter off a main road propped up in the backseat of an abandoned vehicle. From there, the story goes back in time to the wedding of the middle bother, Cully Jullsen. The tale unfolds as it follows the Jullsen family through its up and downs including suspected infidelity and murder, jail sentences and drunken antics, family dinners and picnics in the shade. During the novel’s course babies are born and some souls are saved while others are arguably lost. The winding path finally leads back to the death of Denby Jullsen as the reader discovers the answer to the mystery.

Here’s the first chapter of Denby Jullsen, Hughenden. If you read this, you’ll want to read the rest!
Chapter One


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Reviews of Denby Jullsen, Hughenden

Kelly Clemmer

Lori Knutson's novel takes an intriguing look into a rural east-central Alberta village during the Depression and the suspicious death that occurs there. Knutson spins a web of mystery as we all try to learn just what happened to Denby Jullsen. The story is filled with lively characters and even the town plays its part in this sexy and violent novel.

~Kelly Clemmer, co-author 13 Ways to Kill Your Community and Editor-in-Chief of Star News Inc.

Faith FarthingWhat can this author not write? Whether Ms. Knutson is writing non-fiction about sacred simplicities or fiction about torrid complexities—as is the case of this latest gem of a novel—her subjects are raw, her characters authentic, and her ideas always provocative. I’ll read everything she publishes and always invite her to coach my own authors and clients.

~Faith Farthing, Publisher, Roadie Books




Interview with Kathryn E. Jones
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Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune
Knutson tackles ’30s mystery in new novel 
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Star News
Knutson releases new novel, Denby Jullsen, Hughenden
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Birdie Jullsen’s House

Birdie's House
This old house was the home of my great grandmother, Anna Knutson. Whenever I wrote about Birdie’s house in my novel, this is the house I imagined. I even described it in its very location where it still stands in Hughenden.


The Seed That Inspired Denby

The novel Denby Jullsen, Hughenden was inspired by a seed of truth. In late December of 1957, the body of my great uncle Erwin Knutson was found in an abandoned automobile outside of Wetaskiwin, Alberta on the Canadian prairies. He was in his late 40s. His pockets were empty except for a slip of paper that read Erwin Knutson, Hughenden. It was by this little piece of paper that the body was identified and because of which his family back in Hughenden were contacted.

My dad told me his own story of driving out to the Hughenden cemetery from the community of Czar, just east down the highway from the village of Hughenden. He was accompanying his father, my grandfather Clifford Knutson, to deliver the "rough box" to line and stabilize the interior of Erwin's grave. No one ever knew for certain what happened to Erwin, though the family suspected foul play as his pockets were empty. Ever since hearing his tragic story as a kid, I wanted to solve the mystery of Erwin's ill fate. And so Denby Jullsen was born only to die 22 years earlier than Erwin Knutson.

Some of the settings in the novel are historical. Birdie Jullsen's (Denby's mother's) house was great Grandma Knutson's house and still stands in Hughenden. Czar Lake is Shorncliffe Lake but known to locals as Czar Lake. The hotel and train station, both now long gone, are situated in the novel where they were in Hughenden and typically in every little prairie town. The house that once stood by Hughenden Lake was moved into town many years ago, but while it still stood by the lake, it was the first home of my grandparents after they married in 1933.

Most other details in the novel are the products of this author's imagination.