The Bushman’s Lair : On the Trail of the Fugitive of the Shuswap

The Bushman’s Lair : On the Trail of the Fugitive of the Shuswap

by Paul McKendrick
  • biography
  • true-crime

In the summer of 2002, the discovery of a cave on Shuswap Lake in British Columbia by a group of houseboaters made headlines across the country.

It had been the hideout of a fugitive known as the Bushman—real name John Bjornstrom—who had been arrested the previous winter after raiding cabins in the area for supplies. Shortly after the cave was discovered, and before it was imploded by local authorities, author Paul McKendrick was able to explore the nine-hundred-square-foot bachelor pad. Its elaborate construction left the impression that the occupant was more than just a common thief with a preference for uncommon living arrangements. Nearly two decades later, McKendrick set out to better understand what led the Bushman to the cave.

The Bushman’s Lair is the culmination of numerous interviews, reviews of RCMP and court transcripts, declassified us government files and McKendrick’s own adventures in the Shuswap. While some mysteries remain unsolved, McKendrick’s exploration of Bjornstrom’s story is an unexpectedly moving and unforgettable account of a man who decided to pursue a quest with boundless commitment.


Paul McKendrick , author

Paul McKendrick lives in Canmore, Alberta, where he enjoys spending time in the mountains with his family. He holds degrees from UBC and Dalhousie. Most of his career has been spent in renewable energy, and more recently he has become the owner and operator of a running and Nordic ski store with his wife, Kylie.


  • In this stranger-than-fiction, intrigue-packed story, Paul McKendrick sets out to unwrap and understand the complicated and colourful tale of this enigmatic figure... - Dana Gee, Vancouver Sun
  • If Netflix is looking for a thriller with suspicious deaths, greed, gold, government corruption, a secret underground cave, and an eccentric lead character, it would do well to consider first-time author Paul McKendrick’s brisk and bracing tale. - Stephen Knight, Quill & Quire

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Harbour Publishing



rights available: World

Additional Information

age range: General

number of pages: 208

publication date: 04/24/2021

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book