Rated of 5
by Leslie D. (Le Roy, NY)
"Evil Days" provides good reading days
One of the strengths of Julia Spencer-Fleming's series is that she never writes the same book twice. That also means that some of the enjoyable scenes of previous books, like the banter with Harlene in the police department and with Clare and her church secretary are minimal, because the action is set away from the town of Millers Kill and is moved into the Adirondack wilds.
Vestry meetings bookend this story, since the Reverend Clare Fergusson is under a bishop's review for "conduct unbecoming a priest" due to her pregnancy out of wedlock. Her recent marriage to Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne is strained because of his conflicting feelings over fatherhood and her recurring battle fatigue. Their honeymoon at a remote lakeside cabin is a way for them to sort things out, but their trip is the beginning of a brutal winter storm, and a complex police investigation back in Millers Kill involving a kidnapping, murder of federal agents, a drug ring, and witness intimidation.
The action ends up involving Clare and Russ in their mountain retreat, and it becomes a suspenseful story of survival. This is an engrossing and complicated police procedural introducing a fun, new character (Oscar the German Shepherd) and developing the relationship between Kevin Flynn and Hadley Knox from previous books. Cue the title, though, and know that this is about serious issues in communities and in personal relationships.
The mystery ends on one of the author's signature cliffhangers. It's good to know that the series continues!