Through the Evil Days: Book summary and reviews of Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Through the Evil Days

A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery

By Julia Spencer-Fleming

Through the Evil Days
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  • Published in USA  Nov 2013,
    368 pages.

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Book Summary

New York Times bestselling author, Julia Spencer-Fleming rises to the accolade with a powerful, and emotionally charged novel readers have been yearning for.

On a frigid January night, Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne and Reverend Clare Fergusson are called to the scene of a raging fire, that quickly becomes a double homicide and kidnapping. Which is the very last thing Russ needs...Currently he's struggling with the prospect of impending fatherhood. And his new wife is not at all happy with his proposal for their long-delayed honeymoon: a week in an unelectrified ice-fishing cabin. The vestry of St. Alban's Church has called for the bishop to investigate Clare's "unpriestly" pregnancy. She has one week to find out if she will be scolded, censured, or suspended from her duties. Officer Hadley Knox is having a miserable January as well. Her on-again-off-again lover, Kevin Flynn, has seven days to weigh an offer from the Syracuse Police Department that might take him half a state away.

As the days and hours tick by, Russ and Clare fight personal and professional battles they've never encountered.  In the course of this one tumultuous week the lives of the Millers-Kill residents readers have come to love and cherish change forever.  Readers have waited years for Through The Evil Days and Julia Spencer-Fleming delivers with the exquisite skill and craftsmanship that have made her such a success.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Readers seeking tales of city crime reaching small towns will love the well-crafted setting and story but shouldn't expect a cozy; there's plenty of grit here." - Booklist

"While the couple's complex relationship will engage readers, the very pregnant Clare's active involvement in getting the bad guys strains credulity." - Publishers Weekly

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Loretta
Through the Evil Days
Good mystery, good story, great characters, but I was disappointed in the ending between Hadley and Murphy.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Dawnymae
Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming
This book is the 8th in the Clare and Russ series. I have not read any of the previous novels, but intend to give it a try. Clare is a priest who is pregnant, her husband Russ is the Police Chief of Miller-Kill. Because of the timing of the baby, Clare has a week to resign or face possible consequences for actions unbecoming of a priest. I found this issue unbelievable in these times, yet refreshing too in that actions can have consequences. There is a farmhouse fire, and a young child Mikayla has been kidnapped. As they try to solve the mystery, Clare’s predicament adds to the suspense. Throw in Hadley and Kevin’s romance, a drug dealer and the ice-storm of the century and you have a first class mystery! Well done.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Joan Emerson
Through the Evil Days, by Julia Spencer-Fleming
The story of “Through the Evil Days” spins out over one week in the lives of our favorite Millers Kill residents, all of whom face daunting challenges and inner apprehension as they are thrown into situations fraught with emotional upheaval. While Russ and Clare struggle to come to grips with her unexpected pregnancy, Clare once again finds herself at odds with the bishop and Russ is caught up in an unexpected issue with the aldermen. The department’s investigation of an early-morning house fire that has claimed the life of two people quickly takes an even more ominous turn when a kidnapping is revealed. Officers Hadley Knox and Kevin Flynn are thrown together in the investigation, forcing them to cope with difficult moments and tough decisions even as Mother Nature unleashes the ice storm of the century, stranding Russ and Clare in an isolated cabin at the lake where they have gone for their long-delayed honeymoon. With the dangerous Adirondack storm knocking out communications, closing roads, and bringing daily life to a virtual standstill, nerves are frayed, tension is running high, and the clock is ticking . . . .

Julia Spencer-Fleming’s eagerly-awaited eighth installment of the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series doesn’t disappoint. Here we find all the elements we’ve come to expect from her books: a tightly-crafted story that puts the reader right in the middle of a multi-layered mystery, exploration and insight into personal relationships, life-changing reveals and decisions. The story teems with excitement, offering up enough twists and turns along the way to keep the reader eagerly page-turning; as always, there are a few gut-wrenching “wow . . . I never saw that coming” moments to ratchet up the turmoil. It’s a powerful, emotional, can’t-put-it-down masterpiece that will keep readers on the edge of their seats right to the very last word. A highly recommended, satisfying read worthy of far more than five stars . . . don’t miss this one.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Barbara H. (Alexandria, VA)
Through the Evil Days
This is a well-written, thoughtfully plotted, suspenseful story with finely nuanced characters and natural sounding dialog.

The author excels when it comes to interpersonal conflict. The scenes between two officers, Kevin Flynn and Hadley Knox, were especially well done.

With many issues to work through, the story's central crime—an act of arson aimed at covering up a double murder—almost recedes into the background. While the couple's complex relationship was engaging, the very pregnant Clare's active involvement in getting the bad guys strains credulity.

A tightly crafted story puts the reader right in the middle of a multi-layered mystery, exploration and insight into personal relationships, life-changing reveals and decisions. The story teems with suspense and offers enough twists and turns along the way to keep the reader eager to read more.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Sue P. (Richardson, TX)
Through The Evil Days
I am an avid fan of Julia Spencer-Fleming's books and was so excited to be picked to review the ARC. While the book is good, I felt it was a bit draggy in places and that the relationship between Claire and Russ seemed somewhat forced at times.The writing is literary quality, as always, but it just wasn't as riveting as her other books.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Fran T. (San Diego, CA)
God will give strength and bear thee through the evil days
I have read all of Spencer-Fleming's previous novels about Clare and Russ and, for the most part, have enjoyed them a great deal. Thus, I had high hopes for this novel. In some ways, my hopes were met; in other ways, not so much. The plot was engrossing and held my interest. The suspense level was kept high and the denouement was very satisfactory and quite surprising. That said, I found some difficulties and weaknesses, as well. Other reviewers have touched on these also --i.e, constant jumping from one scene to another, dragging out Clare's and Russ's attempts to escape from the locale of their "cabin in the woods". They had so many difficulties in attempting to get back to civilization that it almost became, for me, absurd.
I was also disappointed that there was less of the spiritual in this book. For me, one of the strengths of her previous novels was the manner in which Spencer-Fleming incorporated Clare's faith and her interactions with her parish. In this novel, her interactions with the vestry are only bookends to the central story.
All of this being said, I still enjoyed the story and sympathized with the characters which is why I
gave the book a 4-- if it had been possible to give it a 3.5, I would have done so, but I decided to err on the generous side.

...18 more reader reviews

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Julia Spencer-Fleming is the New York Times bestselling author of One Was A Soldier, and an Agatha, Anthony, Dilys, Barry, Macavity, and Gumshoe Award winner. She studied acting and history at Ithaca College and received her J.D. at the University of Maine School of Law. Her books have been shortlisted for the Edgar, Nero Wolfe, and Romantic Times RC awards. Julia lives in a 190-year-old farmhouse in southern Maine with her husband and three children.

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