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All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming

All Mortal Flesh (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Julia Spencer-Fleming

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6023516,187 (4.13)88
Title:All Mortal Flesh
Authors:Julia Spencer-Fleming
Info:Thorndike Press (2007), Hardcover, 603 pages
Collections:Your library, Read, Read 2013
Tags:mystery, police chief, minister/priest

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All Mortal Flesh by Julia Spencer-Fleming (2006)



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Married Chief of Police, Russ Van Alstyne and Episcopal priest, Clare Fergusson, have become the subject of local gossip in their small town of Miller's Kill, New York. Even though their physical relationship is innocent, they've become even more emotionally attached to one another. Russ has been kicked out of the house by his wife, Linda, and is staying with his mother.

Clare is returning from a week long retreat recommended by the church where she has been advised to give up her friendship with Russ or face possible disciplinary charges. They've both agreed not to see each other again but on Clare's way home she hears Russ' wife has been horribly murdered, he's the logical suspect, and she's running a close second.

I admire the way the author presents the pain of Clare and Russ; two people who seem born to be soulmates but are separated by Russ's marriage and Clare's role as a member of the clergy. This is a true mystery, not a romance novel. While the characters relationship is key to the plot, the mystery stands above all else and is supported by a strong foundation of secondary plots and characters.

Their are plenty of twists and turns in this fifth book of the Russ Van Alstyne/Clare Fergusson series. I highly recommend reading the books in order for maximum enjoyment.
( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
This fifth book in Spencer-Fleming's excellent series satisfies on so many levels. It raises some very thoughtful questions about relationships and morality in today's world while telling a story that's full of emotion and misdirection. The gossipmongers of small town Millers Kill are perfectly portrayed, and their interference raises the tension of this fast-paced tale.

As always, the two main characters continue to evolve. In All Mortal Flesh, Russ and Clare aren't quite as strong and capable as they've been in previous books. Clare seems almost frozen in despair, especially when the church hierarchy sends a deacon to oversee the behavior of their problem priest. Russ is almost brought to his knees by the death of his wife, numb with grief and regret, and reacting like a little boy when his mother arrives at the crime scene-- "short and squat and beautiful." Even Clare needs some of Margy Van Alstyne's quiet, no-nonsense strength, and when she soaks in the atmosphere of the older woman's kitchen, she realizes that it feels like her own grandmother's: "Like you had rounded all the bases and come home safe." Being able to see these two strong people when they're not at their best brings added depth to the story and to the series as a whole.

At times the plot seems a bit over-the-top and almost soap opera-ish, but I've grown so attached to these characters that I had no trouble suspending my disbelief. Spencer-Fleming employs some of the best misdirection to be found, and although one of the red herrings didn't throw me off the scent, I was annoyed that I did indeed inhale one of the oldest fish in the trade. Shame on me. Ah well, I'm going to chalk my mistake up to the fact that I was immersed in the story, and practically blind and deaf to the world around me. All Mortal Flesh ends in a heart-breaking cliffhanger that makes me want to pick up the next book and dive right in. In this series, the characters' lives mirror the real world. Everything is not wrapped up and tied with shiny bows. This fictional world is every bit as messy as our own lives, and Julia Spencer-Fleming has made me care deeply about what happens to Russ and Clare. ( )
  cathyskye | Nov 30, 2013 |
  ames | Sep 30, 2013 |
The fifth book reaches out and grabs you by the throat right in the beginning and doesn't let go. It is the biggest emotional roller coaster I've read in a long time (I'm still reeling from it and I've started on the next book). While some elements of the plot were entirely predictable (one I knew had to be coming since the very first book of the series), others come out of nowhere and blindside you. Yet the entire thing was simultaneously satisfying and heartbreaking. All of the characters were so complex. Even the ones who pissed me off made me think about it first.

I only have two books left. What am I going to do when I run out? The wait will kill me! ( )
  OstensiblyA1 | Sep 20, 2013 |
Episcopal priest Clare and Police Chief Russ investigate a horrific murder in the midst of an Adirondack winter and the storm of their own forbidden (and unconsummated) love for each other. This book deals with moral questions in a serious way as well as providing entertainment. ( )
  auntieknickers | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Spencer-Fleming, Juliaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Czwikla, FraukeÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Toren, SuzanneReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly-minded,
For with blessing in his hand
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords in human vesture,
In the Body and the Blood,
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of Light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At his feet the six-winged seraph;
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to the Presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
"Alleluia, alleluia! Alleluia, Lord Most High!"

Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, The Hymnal 1982 The Church Publishing Company
To independent booksellers everywhere, and especially to (follows a long list of booksellers)
First words
Monday, January 14
Midway this way of life we're bound upon, I woke to find myself in a dark wood, where the right road was wholly lost and gone.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312933983, Mass Market Paperback)

Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne's first encounter with Clare Fergusson was in an emergency room on a freezing December night. A newborn had been left on the steps of the town's Episcopal church, where Clare just happened to be the new priest. That night in the hospital was the beginning of an attraction so fierce, so forbidden, that both Russ and Clare risked compromising all of their ethics and beliefs…

In the small community of Millers Kill, gossip spreads like wildfire. So when Russ's wife kicks him out of the house, he figures it's nobody's business but his own—until a neighbor stops by and finds Mrs. Van Alstyne's butchered corpse on the kitchen floor. To the townspeople and church folk, the murder is proof that the whispered rumors about the police chief and the priest were true. But nothing is as it seems in Millers Kill, where betrayal twists old friendships—and evil waits inside quaint white clapboard farmhouses…

In All Mortal Flesh, Julia Spencer-Fleming once again delivers a riveting page-turner of a mystery "that’s quite possibly the best in the series" (Romantic Times).

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:00 -0400)

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"Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne's first encounter with Clare Fergusson was in the hospital emergency room on a freezing December night. A newborn infant had been abandoned on the town's Episcopal church steps. If Russ had known that the church had a new priest, he certainly would never have guessed that it would be a woman. Or at least not a woman like Clare. That night in the hospital was the beginning of an attraction so fierce, so forbidden, that the only thing that could keep them safe from compromising their every belief was distance - but in a small town like Millers Kill, distance is hard to find." "Russ Van Alstyne figures his wife kicking him out of their house is nobody's business but his own. Until a neighbor pays a friendly visit to Linda Van Alstyne and finds the woman's body, gruesomely butchered, on the kitchen floor. To the state police, it's an open-and-shut case of a disaffected husband, silencing first his wife, then the murder investigation he controls. To the townspeople, it's proof that the whispered gossip about the police chief and the priest was true. To the powers-that-be in the church hierarchy, it's a chance to control their wayward cleric once and for all."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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