20 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
Peggy G. reviewed All Mortal Flesh (Rev. Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne, Bk 5) on
Helpful Score: 3
MORE SWITCHBACKS THAN AN ADIRONDACK ROAD...
Possibly the best of the series, with life/death, loyalty/betrayal, certainty/doubt, love/hate throughout...outside characters interfere with the Millers Kill Police Department, St. Albans Church, and lives of the main characters, and we learn more about Clare, Russ and others. One of the few true "page-turners" I've recently read.
Lee Child is quoted on the cover as saying, "The best yet in an already amazing series" and I fully agree! Julia Spencer-Fleming has outdone herself in this fifth installment in her series of mysteries, featuring Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne.
Russ is the chief of police in Millers Kill, a small town in upstate New York. The new Episcopal priest in town, Clare, is intriguing; ex-Army helicopter pilot, she has seen and done more than one would expect from a female...especially a female priest. The attraction is strong between these two, but there's one problem: Russ is married.
The author crafts a great mystery, but also builds a believeable relationship between her two characters. The sexual tension is handled very well, making these novels more than your typical cozy mystery, and yet not quite as grim as a Cornwell. The four books before "All Mortal Flesh" lead up to this plotline very nicely.
There is suspense, tension, and twists that you won't see coming. I couldn't put it down, and I can't wait to get my hands on the next one!
I have enjoyed all the books in the series, do yourself a favor and read in order. There is a such a good flow to the characters, language, descriptions and then add the plot and angst among the leads.
Plain simple, this was just a great read, keep them coming!
This is a well written book with a fairly good mystery at its center, flawed only by a few plot details that I didn't care for. Spencer-Fleming created the perfect mood for the story, and gave it a terrific, wrenching, bittersweet ending.
The heart of the novel, however, is its characters. Fergusson and Van Alstyne are acutely real, complex people who are sometimes difficult to like. They make bad decisions, suffer hurt and crushing disappointment, and sometimes have trouble figuring out how to go on. They made me want to keep reading.
I've only read one other book of this series, but I enjoyed this one enough that I may have to go back and pick up the rest.
the next installment in the Clare Ferguson/Russ Van Alstyne series. You need to read the others first! This is great and deals as much with the characters and their relationship,or lack thereof, as it does the mystery. I can't wait for the next one.
I _love_ this series. This book had two plot twists that made me want to throw the book against the wall. [Will these characters _ever_ get together??] Even so, I read the next one as soon as I could. And, boy-oh-boy, it made up for the frustration caused by this one.
I always enjoy Julia Spencer-Fleming's Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne books. This one was as good as all the previous ones in the series, and had some super twists and surprises in it. An up-and-down roller-coaster.
This fifth book in Spencer-Fleming's excellent series satisfies on so many levels. It raises some very thoughtful questions about relationships and morality in today's world while telling a story that's full of emotion and misdirection. The gossipmongers of small town Millers Kill are perfectly portrayed, and their interference raises the tension of this fast-paced tale.
As always, the two main characters continue to evolve. In All Mortal Flesh, Russ and Clare aren't quite as strong and capable as they've been in previous books. Clare seems almost frozen in despair, especially when the church hierarchy sends a deacon to oversee the behavior of their problem priest. Russ is almost brought to his knees by the death of his wife, numb with grief and regret, and reacting like a little boy when his mother arrives at the crime scene-- "short and squat and beautiful." Even Clare needs some of Margy Van Alstyne's quiet, no-nonsense strength, and when she soaks in the atmosphere of the older woman's kitchen, she realizes that it feels like her own grandmother's: "Like you had rounded all the bases and come home safe." Being able to see these two strong people when they're not at their best brings added depth to the story and to the series as a whole.
At times the plot seems a bit over-the-top and almost soap opera-ish, but I've grown so attached to these characters that I had no trouble suspending my disbelief. Spencer-Fleming employs some of the best misdirection to be found, and although one of the red herrings didn't throw me off the scent, I was annoyed that I did indeed inhale one of the oldest fish in the trade. Shame on me. Ah well, I'm going to chalk my mistake up to the fact that I was immersed in the story, and practically blind and deaf to the world around me. All Mortal Flesh ends in a heart-breaking cliffhanger that makes me want to pick up the next book and dive right in. In this series, the characters' lives mirror the real world. Everything is not wrapped up and tied with shiny bows. This fictional world is every bit as messy as our own lives, and Julia Spencer-Fleming has made me care deeply about what happens to Russ and Clare.
A good friend finds a body at the home of the Van Alstyne's...a brutal, defacing murderer appears to be roaming the upper New York state community. Russ grieves with guilt and remorse. He discovers that even his friends have betrayed him. Finding the murderer is the goal of the police department but the state believes they are "covering up" for their own and sends a ruthless investigator who looks at Russ as the murdered. Russ's job is to find who did it and why.