Gail Bowen. Arthur Ellis winner, “queen of Canadian crime fiction (Winnipeg Free Press), the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and the Grand Master Award from the Crime Writers of Canada—to mention a few. “The Unlocking Season” by author, Gail Bowen is a landmark publication.
Her 19th Joanne Kilbourn Mystery novel. A unique accomplishment for one of Canada’s longest-standing, A list authors. Bowen has won more awards for her brilliant career than could fill a paragraphic of accolades. (see small sample above)
A favourite question posed to Gail Bowen: is Joanne Kilbourn-Shreve her alter ego? Both are wives, mothers, grandmothers, professors, political activists with media savvy. Add of course, the tree lined streets and old homes with gardens and room for snow.
From the first novel, Bowen wanted Joanne to be shaped by this country, someone rooted in her family and community. She also wanted a protagonist who aged.
19 novels later, Bowen continues to weave stories that grow with her character, encounter and resolve the turbulence and pain that impact all of us throughout our own lives. And that’s the secret of her success. I still look forward to my Bowen-fix complete with the growth, anguish, suspense and resolution that make her writing so captivating.
Joanne, husband Zack and family are celebrating her 60th birthday plus a difficult chance to understand an element of her history shrouded in secrecy. The writing is character driven deftly coloured with the changing community, both landscape and human souls. The Unlocking Season took hold of me and drove me to just one more chapter until the conclusion. After that I re-read her first novel, Deadly Appearances (1990) and then jumped to “The Nesting Dolls” (2010) in celebration that reading during Covid is an enjoyment with no censure.
I chose not to ask the author, but I’m certainly looking forward to novel #20. After all, turning 60 is not reason for Joanne to retire.
THE UNLOCKING SEASON.By; Gail Bowen. ECW Press; $32.95 hard cover.
Don Graves. Canadian mystery reviews.