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Through the Evil Days
Good mystery, good story, great characters, but I was disappointed in the ending between Hadley and Murphy.
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.
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 . . . .
Barbara H. (Alexandria, VA)
Through the Evil Days
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.
This is a well-written, thoughtfully plotted, suspenseful story with finely nuanced characters and natural sounding dialog.
Sue P. (Richardson, TX)
Through The Evil Days
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.
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.
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.
Becky M. (Crumpler, NC)
Even better than the last
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.
I have read all the books in Fleming's Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series, but this effort is by far the most compelling. With every twist and turn, the story plows forward to its thrilling and unexpected end. Of all the books, this has the best "nail-biting" factor, leaving the reader to wonder just when will the characters re-connect and how will they answer the puzzle laid out before them in the first pages. Even the conclusion is not a conclusion . . . a cliff-hanger of sorts as favorite characters wrestle with life issues and monumental decisions. A must-read if you are a fan of this series.
Mary M. (Lexington, KY)
This book was an edge of your seat, can't put it down thriller. The characters were interesting and complex and even though I was new to the series I was able to understand them. My only criticism of the book is that I could have done without the slightly graphic sex. I just didn't see the need for it. The book is a thriller not a romance novel. The best compliment I can give is that I plan to read the other books in the series.