Gail Bowen, winner of the 1995 Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel for her last Joanne Kilbourn mystery, A Colder Kind of Death, is back – with her most daring mystery to date.
In the horrifying opening paragraph of A Killing Spring, Reed Gallagher, the head of the School of Journalism at the university where Joanne Kilbourn teaches, is found dead in a seedy rooming house. He is dressed in women’s lingerie, with an electric cord around his neck. Suicide, the police say. A clear case of accidental suicide. But for Joanne, who takes on the thankless task of breaking the news to Gallagher’s wife, this death is just the first in a series of misfortunes that rock her life, both professional and personal.
A few days after Gallagher’s death, the School of Journalism is vandalized – its offices and computers are trashed, and homophobic graffiti are sprayed everywhere. Then an unattractive and unpopular journalism student in Joanne’s politics class stops coming to school after complaining to an unbelieving Joanne that she’s being sexually harassed. Clearly, all is not as well at the university as Joanne had thought. Nor is all well in her love life after the casual racism of a stranger drives a wedge between Joanne and her lover, Inspector Alex Kequahtooway. To make matters worse, Joanne is unceremoniously fired by her best friend from the weekly political panel on Nationtv, which she’s being doing for years.
Badly shaken by these calamities, Joanne struggles to carry cheerfully on. Action, she knows, is better for her than moping. She decides to find out why her student has stopped coming to class, and in doing so, Joanne steps unknowingly into an on-campus world of fear and deceit and murder.
GAIL BOWEN's Joanne Kilbourn mysteries have made her one of Canada's most popular crime-fiction writers. The first book in the series, Deadly Appearances (1990), was nominated for the W.H. SmithBooks in Canada Award for best first novel. It was followed by Murder at the Mendel (1991), The Wandering Soul Murders (1992), A Colder Kind of Death (which won the Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel of 1995), A Killing Spring (1996), Verdict in Blood (1998), Burying Ariel (2000), The Glass Coffin (2002), The Last Good Day (2004), and The Endless Knot (2006). Bowen has also written five plays that have been produced across Canada, and one, The World According to Charlie D, for CBC Radio. Now retired from teaching at the First Nations University, Bowen lives in Regina.
“This is the best Kilbourn yet.”
–Globe and Mail
“A Killing Spring is a page-turner. More than a good mystery novel, it is a good novel, driving the reader deeper into a character who grows more interesting and alive with each book.”
“Fast-paced…and almost pure action…An excellent read.”
–The Saint John Telegraph-Journal
“A Killing Spring stands at the head of the class as one of the year’s best.”
–The Edmonton Journal