A Killing Spring by Gail Bowen

Gail Bowen is one of my favourite Canadian authors. She has written thirteen novels focusing on Joanne Kilbourn a widowed mother in Saskatchewan, who teaches political science at the local university and in her spare time is an amateur sleuth.

Joanne is having a rough month. First, her colleague and friend Reed Gallagaher is found dead. Then, on the same day a hysterical student confronts her in with an awful accusation. She claims she is being harassed by another student, one with a promising career and whom Joanne sees in high regard. Before she knows it Joanne is solving not one but two mysteries. As if that wasn’t enough, Joanne’s childhood friend Jill is dating a man with a dark and violent past. In one of the best novels of the series, Joanne grows into her role as every woman. She is the friend, the mother, the teacher but more then that she is a flawed character who makes questionable decisions but shows that it’s not the bad decisions that makes the person it’s the solutions.

This is probably my favourite book of the series so far. For the first time Bowen explores touchy subjects such as gay bashing, interracial dating, abusive relationships and mental illness. It’s a lot to take in one book but Bowen weaves it together beautifully. Each problem is faced by a distinct character that resonates in the readers mind and brings home the melting pot of a little town with big problems.

A Killing Spring is a great read for anyone looking to curl up on the couch on a winter day.

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