A Colder Kind of Death by Gail Bowen

It doesn’t snow much in Vancouver and so when winter and Christmas roll around it never feels festive enough for me. I crave snowstorms, ice, nights by the fireplace but most of all I crave a white Christmas. When I first discovered Gail Bowen’s novel’s three years ago I was struggling through my undergraduate degree, working part time and not enjoying the winter at all. Bowen’s novels gave me a much needed escape and a taste of a cold winter that I desperately craved.

A Colder Kind of Death is the fourth book in Gail Bowen’s series of books about Joanne Killbourn. Joanne is a single mother of four children and in her spare time she’s Nancy Drew. In this novel she is investigating the death of a man who killed her husband six years ago. Her husband, Ian, was murdered on a lonely stretch of the Trans Canada Highway by a young man and his psychopathic girlfriend. The man, Kevin, was charged with Ian’s murder and so when Joanne finds out that Kevin has been murdered in a drive by shooting at the penitentiary she should be happy, right?

Kevin’s death sets off a chain of events and suddenly Joanne finds herself wading through her husbands past and the pasts of those she considers her closest friends. It’s a no stop thrill ride with twists and turns even the best mystery sleuth can’t predict.

Gail Bowen’s writing style is indescribable. I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel before where the setting has been so important to the story, to the point where if it didn’t take place in dreary, cold Saskatchewan it wouldn’t make sense anymore. Joanne’s life is simple, her town is simple and her mundane life is endearing in the best of ways. Bowen writes about Joanne and her life as if it is her own world being transcribed on paper rather than that of a fictional character.

This book is a must read.


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