Book Review of To Darkness and to Death (Rev. Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne, Bk 4)

To Darkness and to Death (Rev. Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne, Bk 4)
reviewed on + 1721 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2


I continue to enjoy this series that I began reading such a short time ago. Spencer-Fleming knows how to write pulse-pounding scenes of action and danger while bringing her characters to life. Russ Van Alstyne and Clare Fergusson are two good people who've pledged themselves to help others. They are also falling deeply in love with each other, and this plunges them into a huge briar patch of moral dilemmas. I'd say that it's a treat to watch them walk the tightrope of professional respect and fiery passion except for one tiny fact: Spencer-Fleming not only makes readers feel the characters' attraction, she makes them feel their pain. This is probably the best relationship in crime fiction, and I'm always torn between inhaling the books in this series as quickly as I can to find out what happens to these two, or trying to take some time to savor each one. So far I'm savoring, but it's not easy.

Spencer-Fleming not only provides a top notch story and wonderfully complex characters (one of which is the upper New York state setting), there's also plenty of insight into human nature. She also touches on environmental issues with the estate being handed over to a nature conservancy, showing how this would affect the area's hunters as well as local logging companies and paper manufacturing.

If I have any complaints about this fourth book, it would be that too much time is spent with minor characters and not enough with Russ and Clare. The author is treading a very fine line with the two from a moralistic standpoint, and I know that they can't spend every day in each other's pockets, but when I find myself reading and reading and then thinking to myself, "Hey, where are Russ and Clare?" I know it's been too long between their scenes.

Now that I have that complaint off my chest, I find myself itching to pick up the next book in the series. I'm addicted!