A Killing Spring


264 pages
ISBN 0-7710-1484-8
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Lori McLeod

Lori McLeod is a librarian with the Toronto Public Library.


Reed Gallagher, a colleague of political science professor Joanne
Kilbourn, is found dead in a rooming house with a leather hood over his
head and an electric cord around his neck. The fact that he is wearing
women’s undergarments leads police to suspect that he was engaged in a
sexual game that went horribly wrong, resulting in an accidental
suicide. Shortly after Reed’s death, a student of Joanne’s stops
attending classes. During her search for the missing student, Joanne
uncovers clues that lead her to conclude that Reed was murdered.

A Killing Spring is Gail Bowen’s fifth mystery featuring Joanne
Kilbourn, a 50-year-old widow and mother of three children. Through a
couple of subplots, the book raises the issues of domestic abuse and
racism. Joanne’s longtime friend Jill Osiowy starts dating Tom Kelsoe,
a journalism professor. We learn that he is abusing her, but receive
only a superficial picture of the dynamics of the abuser-victim
relationship. Joanne’s own relationship with Alex Kequahtooway, a
Native police officer, is tested when a stranger makes a racist comment
in front of the couple and Joanne has a strange and inexplicable
reaction. This subplot, like the one involving domestic abuse, does not
enhance the novel. Caveats aside, readers who enjoyed Bowen’s earlier
Kilbourn books will appreciate her latest offering.


Bowen, Gail., “A Killing Spring,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed January 21, 2022, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/3955.