The Gifted is the 14th book in the Joanne Kilbourn series by Gail Bowen, a renown Canadian author. It is due out on Aug 13, 2013. I have the privilege of reading it early in order to post a review. I am a volunteer reviewer.
The book focuses on Joanne, her husband, Zack Shreve, and their daughter, Taylor. Taylor has come to live with Joanne and Zack through partially reveal circumstances that have probably been more fully explained in earlier books in the series. Taylor is a soon-to-be 15 year old with considerable artistic talent. She is the birth daughter of a famous artist and there is much concern by Joanne and Zack that Taylor follows a much less destructive path that her mother.
The story is set in Regina, Saskatchewan, and the beauty of the area is deftly folded into the narrative. Taylor has had two paintings chosen for a charity art auction, her first public showing. She is well aware of her birth mother's life and talent, and is very afraid of not living up to her mother's standards. (Her mother died when she was only 4 years old, and came to live with Joanne and Zack when she was 11 years old.)
Taylor's model for one of the paintings is a 19 year old fellow artist in the same art school. At the art auction, it becomes obvious to all that he is having an affair with the sponsor of the auction. Taylor is clearly upset. Her parents are concerned because little is know about him and he is beginning to have a strong influence over Taylor. When the older woman is found dead Joanne and Zack confront the older woman's husband, one of Zack's best friends. Who killed the socialite? Zack's friend? The young model/lover? And how can Joanne and Zack shield Taylor form all the gossip and danger?
This is not a high-speed chase, bloody, action story. This is an exploration of who is "family", how the past informs the present, what friendship means, and can our love protect those we love. Ms Bowen is a skilled writer. She is explores family dynamics, informed parenting, life-style decisions, and the gray areas between "good" and "evil". I was "hooked" very early on in the book and followed all the twist and turns with interest, at times, anxiety, and always a desire to find out how all is resolved. It felt as if I was watching a movie; I was very much drawn into the story.
I highly recommend that if you like a good mystery without all the gore and violence, you read The Gifted. It is available for pre-order.