Julia Spencer-Fleming is known for leaving her readers hanging when she writes her Clare Fergusson/RussVan Alstyne series. Now, in Through the Evil Days, she takes readers through a week's worth of agonizing non-stop action in the middle of terrible January weather, only to leave us with a day that crashes and burns for some beloved characters.
Now that Reverend Clare Fergusson and Millers Kill Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne are married, you would think the drama in their lives would disappear. But, Russ isn't at all pleased that Clare is pregnant. "He didn't want a dog. He didn't want a kid, either. They had agreed on that, hadn't they? Before they had gotten married. No kids." Russ isn't sure they'll ever be on the same page. He tells Clare, "You live in a world of belief, and faith, and half-full glasses. I live in a world of bad news and worse outcomes." Despite his feelings, he still loves Clare, and they're heading to an isolated cabin fifty miles north for their honeymoon. Even though there's a house fire just before they head out, and a young girl is missing, Russ and Clare still leave. If they don't go now, there will always be some crime to keep Russ in town. And, with both of them facing crises as work, along with their personal turmoil, they need some time away. But, the couple is heading into Russ' world of bad news and possible worse outcomes.
That's when everything falls apart. That missing girl had a liver transplant, and without her medicine, she'll die. The search for the missing girl leads into a world of evil and violence. While his police force searches for an arsonist, killer and kidnapper, unknown to them, Russ and Clare are right in the path of that evil, isolated in the country as a storm heads in. "We've gone from a honeymoon to a scene out of Deliverance in the past four days."
Julia Spencer-Fleming writes page-turners that keep the reader anxiously reading. At the same time, the relationships in her novels are important to her readers. Everyone who reads the books reads to find out what happens with Russ and Clare, but it's important to follow the other characters on the police force. Spencer-Fleming makes readers care about every member of the force. And, when she throws a curve at the end of a book, she can break hearts.
Whether you're looking for a police procedural, a riveting page-turner with non-stop action, or a novel about relationships, you won't go wrong with Through the Evil Days. You'll just be upset that you'll now have to wait a year or two to find out what happens next to those beloved characters.
You can find Julia at her website, her readerSpace, on Facebook and on Twitter as @jspencerfleming. She also blogs with the Jungle Red Writers.
Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming. Minotaur Books. 2013. ISBN 9780312606848 (hardcover), 357p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.