I recently finished Verdict in Blood by Gail Bowen and I was once again blown away not just by her style of writing but the subtle issues in small town Canada that she brings to light.
In her fifth instalment of the Joanne Kilbourn saga, Jo’s dear friend Hilda gets caught up in the murder of a prominent lawyer. The family believes that Hilda’s friend was not in her right mind when she died. Why else would she have spent the last months of her life donating money to an ex con? It’s interesting because in this novel Jo is not the main character. We still follow her around in but the murder relates to Hilda more then Joanne. I think Gail was being sneaky with this book, she gave us the mystery we wanted but at the same time I felt that as a writer she wanted to give Joanne a story that was more for her. We explore her relationship with Alex and the complex issue of race in small town Saskatchewan. I live in British Columbia and reading about the racial slurs in the prairies blew me away. I’m not saying B.C. doesn’t experience this, we most certainly do but when you compare racism in a small town to the big city there’s a big difference.
I enjoyed this novel for many reasons but mostly for its honesty. Gail doesn’t sugar coat anything; love, mental illness or family. She writes it like it is and as always it’s a breath of fresh air.