To Darkness and to Death by Julia Spencer-Fleming

>> Friday, August 14, 2009

Series: #4 in the Rev. Clare Fergusson series
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 311
TBR 2009 Challenge Alternate #11, Support Your Local Library Challenge #37

I have enjoyed this series. The main characters are Rev. Clare Fergusson (a former military helicopter pilot, now an Episcopal priest) and Chief Russ VanAlstyne (chief of the small town upstate New York police department). That they keep finding themselves working together is complicated by their personal relationship. They are friends with a deepening attraction to each other and this is troubling to both of them because of VanAlstyne’s very married status. Their personal relationship is a reason I recommend that if you’re going to read this series, they should be read in order.

This fourth book in the series is fairly fast paced with a lot going on. It takes place in a single but very eventful day. Rev. Fergusson is awakened at 5:15 am to help a search and rescue team hunt for Millie Van Der Hoeven. She had planned to spend the day getting herself and the church ready for the Bishop’s visit the next day and to attend gala dinner dance commemorating the sale of the Van Der Hoeven estate and its future as a protected natural area. Not everyone in town is pleased with the plans for the land, including the local paper mill owner, the townspeople who have made their living off of logging the land, and perhaps some of the 3 living Van Der Hoeven heirs. By the end of the day murder, assault, kidnapping, and a increasingly complex build up of people trying to cover up their foolish and dangerous acts becomes a potential nightmare for the local police and many of the towns residents.

Although I enjoyed the book a lot, I was bothered a wee bit by the multiple nearly too stupid and delusional to be believable characters who managed to make everything worse not only for themselves, but everyone else. There’s really not just one horrible bad guy, but several sort of bad folks with extremely poor judgment who combine to make a real mess.

I thoroughly enjoy Clare and Russ and many of the recurring characters. Their friendship that may or may not develop into something more is troubling to them both. I think the author does a good job of building the suspense in both the mystery and the ongoing story of her main characters. All in all it was a very good book and I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series soon.

Rating: 4/5


Literary Feline 8/14/2009 10:47 AM  

This is a series I've been wanting to try. Characters who are extremely stupid can be a bit hard to take. I'm glad that didn't ruin the book for you. Thanks for your great review!

Rose City Reader 8/14/2009 12:15 PM  

What are the crazy odds of two book bloggers IN PORTLAND reviewing the same four-year-old mystery on the same day???? One in a billion.

Here's mine:

Rose City Reader 8/14/2009 12:17 PM  

Oh -- I was going to say that if you want me to list your review on my post, please leave a comment with a link on my review.

I don't like to link without asking. I'm unsure of the protocol on that one.

SuziQoregon 8/15/2009 5:34 PM  

Literary Feline: I definitely recommend this series. I think you'd like it. The stupid characters were a teensy bit over the top, but this whole book was a little different format for her with all the events taking place within a single day.

Rose City Reader: I KNOW!! I was stunned when I saw you had reviewed the same book. Thanks for the link to your review. I'll post mine over on yours too.

Debbie 8/16/2009 11:31 AM  

Oh how I love this series! And the next book in the series in arriving April 2010 if I am not mistaken.

SuziQoregon 8/19/2009 8:30 AM  

Debbie: good to know. I haven't paid that much attention to any news about new releases for this series because I'm still a couple behind.

Framed 8/24/2009 6:30 PM  

I have the first (I hope)book in the series waiting on the shelf. Someday I may even find time to read it.

SuziQoregon 8/27/2009 12:37 PM  

Framed: Oh you should read it - I really think you'll like it. Don't wait till winter - the first one has a lot of the story happening in the cold snowy woods of upstate NY - you'll feel cold just reading it.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment. I read and respond them here although not always right away. If you would prefer an email response let me know.

I do moderate comments on posts older than 14 days in order to control spam. I will approve your legitimate comments as soon as I can.

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