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Grace W. (Corona del Mar, CA)
Evil Days and Nights
If I could give ½ stars, I might rate this book 3 ½ but not a 4. Through the Evil Days is a continuation of a mystery series that I have not read. Unlike many series stories, I was either annoyed or felt disadvantaged because I did not know the nuances from the prior books. Through the Evil Days relied heavily on the earlier books to provide the character development. Without that point of reference, I found the main characters to be flat. Oscar, the dog, was my favorite character. I also yearned for greater description of the scenery, although highway conditions were vividly discussed. Lastly, without being a spoiler, I did not think that the stage was properly set for the final snow scene. Nonetheless, the book held my interest and was a generally fast-paced read.
Joan V. (Miller Place, NY)
An exciting honeymoon
It took me a little while to get all the characters straight, but once I did - I was hooked! This is a book that you cannot put down. The cliff hangers at the end of each chapter make you want to read faster. It was a good diversion during the hot weather this summer. I look forward to this author's next book to see what happens in the lives of these characters. My only criticism is at times it seemed a bit drawn out, that is why I only rated it a 4.
Loretta F. (Fountain Inn, SC)
A Nail-biting Thriller
There are many plot-driven thrillers out there; what sets this one apart are the interesting characters and the interplay between them. A police chief, newly married to a younger Episcopal priest who is pregnant, and also happens to be a combat veteran makes for some exciting family drama. Other subplots swirl around the main plot of kidnapping and murder.
Leslie D. (Le Roy, NY)
"Evil Days" provides good reading days
I have not read any other books in this series, but even so, the author gives enough background information about the characters to make a first-time reader comfortable. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes mysteries that are police procedural, that deal with contemporary issues, and whose characters are not without fault.
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.
Barbara C. (Riverside, CA)
Great characters! Super plot!
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!
I have read every book in this series. The protagonists are real people with dilemmas that make them emotionally human. Clare has a heart for her parish and God is honored. There' s a wealth of adventure in this book and it creates characters one cares about all the way to the last page. Julia, you left too much time between books.
Anne G. (Austin, TX)
Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer Fleming
I've read and enjoyed the entire series of books set in Millers Kill featuring Rev Clare Fergusson and Chief Russ Van Alstyne. I love these characters and the case solving companionship shared by them. In a new twist both Clare and Russ find themselves in trouble they never expected. The somewhat inappropriate attraction between the two characters has been replaced with early marriage and unexpected baby anxieties. It's definitely worth a read if you like these characters but I wouldn't recommend starting the series with this book because there are lots of back story issues carried forward for many of the main characters.
Carol C. (Troy, NY)
Through The Evil Days
This is one of my favorite mystery series to recommend to fellow readers. I'm only sorry I now have such a long wait until the next installment.
An enjoyable read, this book is the latest in a series set in the Adirondacks. While I've not read the earlier books - and this would undoubtedly have been beneficial - the author provides enough background in this character-driven murder mystery for new readers to grasp the underlying tension/issues between and among the protagonists. The various subplots were woven together fairly seamlessly (likely more so for those who've read the entire series), and the ending has left me impatiently waiting for the next book. Until that's available, I'll have the pleasure of catching up on the earlier books in the series.
Dorothy M. (Maynard, MA)
This is a true page turner
Through the Evil Days is the 8th book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series and, unlike some series that get a bit tired, this one just continues to accelerate. Set in the apocryphal Appalachian town of Miller's Kill, it follows the lives of Clare - an Episcopal priest - and Russ - the Chief of police - and the people around them. This one finds both Clare and Russ facing personal challenges while they attempt to deal with a complicated case facing the local police force. Because the plot begins on the first page and just builds from there, it isn't possible to discuss it without interjecting spoilers. However I can tell you that this is one of those books that grab you and make you ignore the rest of the world until you have finished it. My only caveat is that I think this series benefits greatly from being read sequentially. So if it is new to you, you should begin reading now so you'll be ready for this one when it publishes in November. Start with In the Bleak Midwinter.