Lukasik, Gail

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Lukasik, Gail


Born in Cleveland, OH; married; children: Christopher and Lauren. Education: University of Illinois at Chicago, M.A., Ph.D.


Home—Libertyville, IL. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer and educator. Taught writing and literature at University of Illinois at Chicago, until 2002; teaches writing at Ragdale Foundation, Lake Forest, IL. Former dancer with Cleveland Civic Ballet Company; has also worked as a choreographer.


Sisters in Crime, Society of Midland Authors, Mystery Writers of America.


Illinois Arts Council literary award, 2002, for poem "In County."


Landscape toward a Proper Silence (poetry chapbook), Eye of the Comet Press (Chicago, IL), 1992.

Destroying Angels (novel), Five Star (Waterville, ME), 2006.

Contributor of poetry to periodicals, including Georgia Review, Carolina Quarterly, and Mississippi Valley Review.


Poet and novelist Gail Lukasik, a former teacher at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is the author of Destroying Angels, a "riveting debut thriller," observed a critic in Kirkus Reviews. Lukasik, whose poems have appeared in more than sixty literary journals, began writing Destroying Angels at the suggestion of her son. "The mystery genre appealed to me, because mystery writers like Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton … were turning the mystery genre on its head with their smart-talking, tough female detectives," the author noted on her home page. "I was enthralled with these female detectives, protagonists who seemed to tap into women's power."

Destroying Angels concerns Leigh Gerard, a breast cancer survivor who flees her loveless marriage and teaching career to settle in Wisconsin's bucolic Door County. Leigh soon lands a job on a small-town newspaper and begins researching her first assignment—an obituary for Carl Peck, an amateur naturalist who died of an accidental poisoning. Peck's widow, however, believes that her husband died of a heart attack. When the local librarian commits suicide under mysterious circumstances, Leigh sets out to discover a link between the two deaths. "Lukasik has created an interesting protagonist," noted ReviewingTheEvidence. com contributor Carroll Johnson, adding that Leigh is "a prickly … woman with enough self-awareness to acknowledge her own shortcomings." Cynthia Lea Clark, writing for Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine Online, remarked that "Lukasik paints a beautiful picture" in the book, which the critic called "two stories, the whodunit and the who am I."

A former member of the Cleveland Civic Ballet Company, Lukasik discussed the similarities between dancing and writing with Mysterious Musings Web site interviewer Julia Buckley. "The parallels I see are probably the same parallels with any art—discipline, creativity, and structure," the author stated. "But specifically between dancing and writing, I'd say the sense of movement. In dance you have to know how to fill the space on the stage while moving to the music. And in writing it's the same process. You're filling the page with words that have their own rhythm in relationship to the other words and sentences and paragraphs and chapters."



Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2006, review of Destroying Angels, p. 64.

Peninsula Pulse, June 16, 2006, Fred Schwartz, review of Destroying Angels, p. 6.


Cozy Library, (July 4, 2006), Cynthia Lea Clark, review of Destroying Angels.

Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine Online, (August 23, 2007), Cynthia Lea Clark, review of Destroying Angels.

Gail Lukasik Home Page, (July 15, 2007).

Mysterious Musings, (December 4, 2006), Julia Buckley, "Gail Lukasik on Poisonous Mushrooms, Vulnerable Heroines, and How the Plot Determines the Murder.", (August 6, 2007), Carroll Johnson, review of Destroying Angels.