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Through the Evil Days by Julia…
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3122755,375 (4.02)56
"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 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 this newest book and Julia Spencer-Fleming delivers with the exquisite skill and craftsmanship that have made her such a success"--… (more)



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Russ and Clare are set to go on their honeymoon - in January, at a remote rural cabin with no electricity or running water - to go ice fishing. They are also carting along a lot of "baggage." Russ has just learned that the town council will be making a decision in a week about whether or not to disband the police department and contract services from the State Highway Patrol. Clare has been given an ultimatum by her bishop. He wants her to resign for "unpriestly" behavior. She is also dealing with the fact that she was still using drugs and alcohol when she became pregnant and the baby could be facing significant issues. Even worse, she and Russ had agreed to not have children before she found herself pregnant and Russ isn't dealing at all well with it.

Throw in arson, two executed people in the house before it was burnt, and a missing eight-year-old girl who has just had a kidney transplant and needs her immuno-suppresant drugs or she will die and the story gets filled with drama and tension. Mikayla's mother has lost custody of her because of her drug use. When the police go to search for her, they find that she is gathering pharmaceuticals used in making crystal meth. She flees before they can find out if she has Mikayla.

Meanwhile, the storm of the century bringing snow, ice, falling trees, downed power lines, and collapsed cell towers is bearing down on the region. And Russ and Clare attract the attention of bad guys who send them fleeing from their shelter in the height of the storm.

While Clare and Russ are dealing with their issues, Kevin Flynn and Hadley Knox are also dealing with theirs. Hadley's ex-husband has shown up demanding money, threatening to take her children back to California, and threatening to expose her secrets. And Flynn is still dealing with his love for Hadley and also a job offer in Syracuse.

This was a fast-paced and tension-filled story. Many characters are faced with difficult decisions and police work has to go on while they are troubled. The ending leaves a number of plot threads dangling and I can't wait for the next book to tie them off. ( )
  kmartin802 | Jul 14, 2019 |
It seems that Ms Spencer Fleming knows what I like in a book better than I do. Though, at times these characters are annoying and make questionable choices, these flaws are realistic and consistent and add considerable depth to what are often ordinary plot lines. These are characters wrestling with big issues (solving murder cases) and very personal moral conflicts (he's married) that stave off the happily ever after for ages. In any other hands this would get stale, but Spencer-Fleming keeps me reading even though Russ and Clare seem doomed and I don't usually have much patience for that.
The important second point is that Spencer-Fleming employs some interesting literary devices within the Clare/Russ world. One book covers 24 hours, another has parallel plot lines separated by a couple of generations, that converge in the present.
Thirdly, I really appreciate the topical issues and sensibilities. There is a rough edge between social justice and law enforcement that is explored over and again.
Lastly, the bleak winter setting speaks to something deep inside me. A Californian missing the snow. ( )
  JSpilman | Apr 16, 2018 |
When is the next book coming in this series?

I feel so invested in Spencer-Fleming's characters, that I want to jump into the next installment of this story. Except that, right now, there isn't another. That is this book's only disappointing element. ( )
  Lynnsoprano | Apr 5, 2018 |
So much action in this novel! Takes place over the course of a week most of which is during Clare and Russ's honeymoon. The newlyweds are trying to adjust to an unplanned pregnancy while struggling with the potential of job loss for both of them. Of course no simple honeymoon can exist for these two. They are thrown into a kidnapping situation, a severe ice storm and a state trooper who becomes badly injured. Back at home Hadley and Kevin also dealing with the storm and kidnapping are also dealing with Hadley's ex who wants money or he will try for custody of the kids and expose Hadley's early porn career. During the turmoil these two finally hook up and become a couple but there is a cliff hanger regarding that.
Really wish I knew if Julia Spencer-Fleming is continuing the series. ( )
  bostonterrio | Nov 21, 2017 |
Julia Spencer-Fleming is one of the very best at portraying the nuanced personal relationships of her characters. The marvel is that she does this and creates a fantastic mystery, too. Periodic chapters from little Mikayla's point of view definitely keep the sense of urgency at the boil as do isolated locations and horrendous winter weather.

Some of the behavior of Russ and Clare (particularly Russ) almost had me talking to myself-- not that I'm totally wrapped up in these characters or anything-- but the mystery is just as good as the author's characterizations. I enjoyed myself trying to deduce the identities of everyone involved with Mikayla's kidnapping, and watching all the various plot threads coming together was a delight. For any of you who may be as interested in the relationship between Hadley and Kevin as I am, there's plenty of that in Through the Evil Days.

For those of you who love marvelous characterization every bit as much as you enjoy trying to solve mysteries, I can't recommend Julia Spencer-Fleming's series highly enough. There's only one catch: since the lives of the characters play such a large part in the books, if you're new to the series you should really begin at the beginning with In the Bleak Midwinter. Oh, the treat you have in store! ( )
  cathyskye | Aug 18, 2016 |
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