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ECW Press Fall 2020 Trade

The Unlocking Season
A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery
By (author): Gail Bowen
9781770415287 Hardcover, Dust jacket English General Trade FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths Sep 01, 2020
$32.95 CAD
Active 5.5 x 8.5 x 1.03 in | 1.26 lb 352 pages ECW Press

Arthur Ellis Award-winning author

Grand Master Award of Crime Writers of Canada (2018)

The “queen of Canadian crime fiction” (Winnipeg Free Press) returns with a new installment in the Joanne Kilbourn series that is perfect for readers of Louise Penny, Ruth Rendell, and Peter Robinson.

On a Saturday bright with harbingers of spring, Joanne Kilbourn-Shreve, her husband, Zack, and their family prepare to celebrate the season. Joanne’s life is full, and at 60, she has been given the chance to understand a part of her history that for years was shrouded in secrecy.

Living Skies is producing Sisters and Strangers, a six-part TV series about the tangled relationships between the families of Douglas Ellard, the father who raised Joanne, and Desmond Love, her biological father. Joanne is working on the script with Roy Brodnitz, a brilliant writer and friend. The project’s future seems assured, but before the script is completed, Brodnitz disappears while scouting locations in northern Saskatchewan. Hours later, he’s found — sweat-drenched, clawing at the ground, and muttering gibberish. He dies in a state of mortal terror.

Heartsick and perplexed, Joanne resolves to learn what happened in the last hours of Roy’s life. What Joanne discovers threatens Brodnitz’s legacy, and the decision about whether or not to reveal the truth is hers to make. The Unlocking Season is another deeply satisfying and thought-provoking novel from one of Canada’s finest crime writers.

Short Description

The nineteenth instalment in the Joanne Kilbourn series. Jo is co-writing a screenplay for a made-in-Saskatchewan movie when a mysterious death puts the project in jeopardy.

Sales and Market Bullets

  • Deadly Appearances (1990) was nominated for the WH Smith/Books in Canada Best First Novel Award, and A Colder Kind of Death (1995) won the Arthur Ellis Award for best crime novel. Bowen was awarded the Grand Master Award of Crime Writers of Canada in 2018. The Winners’ Circle (2017) was nominated for the Arthur Ellis Award.

  • Gail Bowen has been the writer-in-residence for the Regina Public Library (2013–2014), Toronto Public Library (2009), and Calgary Memorial Park Library (2010). She has done extensive Canadian library tours for the previous books in the series.

  • The Joanne Kilbourn series will appeal to readers of Louise Penny’s Three Pines series.


  • Fans of the Joanne-Kilbourne Shreve murder mystery series

  • Avid mystery readers, especially of women sleuths

  • For readers of Louise Penny, Ruth Rendell, and Peter Robinson

Gail Bowen is an author, playwright, and teacher. Among her numerous writing awards are a lifetime achievement award from the Crime Writers of Canada and the Distinguished Canadian Award from the University of Regina. Reader’s Digest has called her Canada’s best mystery novelist. In 2018, she was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and the Grand Master Award of Crime Writers of Canada. She lives in Regina, Saskatchewan, with her husband, Ted.

“Bowen creates fully rounded characters to serve her well-crafted plot. This long-running series shows no sign of losing steam.” — Publishers Weekly

“One of Bowen’s smartest novels yet.” — Globe and Mail

“Bowen engineers a couple of nifty puzzles and some equally sure-footed solutions.” — Toronto Star

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