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Millers Kill reaches the boiling point in this white-hot novel of love and suspense People die. Marriages fail. In the small Adirondack town of Millers Kill, New York, however, life doesn’t stop for heartbreak. A brand-new officer in the police department, a breaking-and-entering, and trouble within his own family keep Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne busy enough to ignore the Millers Kill reaches the boiling point in this white-hot novel of love and suspense People die. Marriages fail. In the small Adirondack town of Millers Kill, New York, however, life doesn’t stop for heartbreak. A brand-new officer in the police department, a breaking-and-entering, and trouble within his own family keep Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne busy enough to ignore the pain of losing his wife---and the woman he loves. At St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, the Reverend Clare Fergusson is trying to keep her vestry, her bishop, and her National Guard superiors happy---all the while denying her own wounded soul. When a Mexican farmhand stumbles over a Latino man killed with a single shot to the back of his head, Clare is sucked into the investigation through her involvement in the migrant community. The discovery of two more bodies executed in the same way ignites fears that a serial killer is loose in the close-knit community. While the sorrowful spring turns into a scorching summer, Russ is plagued by media hysteria, conflict within his department, and a series of baffling assaults. As the violence strikes closer and closer to home, an untried officer is tested, a wary migrant worker is tempted, and two would-be lovers who thought they had lost everything must find a way to trust each other again---before it becomes forever, fatally, too late. Julia Spencer-Fleming shows you can escape danger---but not desire---in her most suspenseful, passionate novel yet, I Shall Not Want.


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Millers Kill reaches the boiling point in this white-hot novel of love and suspense People die. Marriages fail. In the small Adirondack town of Millers Kill, New York, however, life doesn’t stop for heartbreak. A brand-new officer in the police department, a breaking-and-entering, and trouble within his own family keep Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne busy enough to ignore the Millers Kill reaches the boiling point in this white-hot novel of love and suspense People die. Marriages fail. In the small Adirondack town of Millers Kill, New York, however, life doesn’t stop for heartbreak. A brand-new officer in the police department, a breaking-and-entering, and trouble within his own family keep Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne busy enough to ignore the pain of losing his wife---and the woman he loves. At St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, the Reverend Clare Fergusson is trying to keep her vestry, her bishop, and her National Guard superiors happy---all the while denying her own wounded soul. When a Mexican farmhand stumbles over a Latino man killed with a single shot to the back of his head, Clare is sucked into the investigation through her involvement in the migrant community. The discovery of two more bodies executed in the same way ignites fears that a serial killer is loose in the close-knit community. While the sorrowful spring turns into a scorching summer, Russ is plagued by media hysteria, conflict within his department, and a series of baffling assaults. As the violence strikes closer and closer to home, an untried officer is tested, a wary migrant worker is tempted, and two would-be lovers who thought they had lost everything must find a way to trust each other again---before it becomes forever, fatally, too late. Julia Spencer-Fleming shows you can escape danger---but not desire---in her most suspenseful, passionate novel yet, I Shall Not Want.

30 review for I Shall Not Want

  1. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    In this 6th book in the 'Millers Kill Series', the Reverend Clare Fergusson helps Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne solve the murders of several illegal immigrants. The book can be read as a standalone but familiarity with the characters is a plus. ***** As the book opens the relationship between Reverend Clare Fergusson and Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne is strained. Still, Clare manages to get involved with law enforcement when she decides to help immigrant laborers (i.e. illegal aliens) who work In this 6th book in the 'Millers Kill Series', the Reverend Clare Fergusson helps Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne solve the murders of several illegal immigrants. The book can be read as a standalone but familiarity with the characters is a plus. ***** As the book opens the relationship between Reverend Clare Fergusson and Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne is strained. Still, Clare manages to get involved with law enforcement when she decides to help immigrant laborers (i.e. illegal aliens) who work on the local dairy farms in Millers Kill, New York. Though the laborers are necessary for the economic viability of the farms they're often short-changed in terms of pay, living conditions, legal issues, medical care, and so on - and some local religious groups assist them as necessary. When the dead bodies of several immigrants turn up in different parts of the woods it becomes clear that some of them are involved in activities other than farming - things of interest to the police. Russ would prefer that Clare keep her nose out of these police investigations but she inserts herself into them in her usual fearless fashion. Meanwhile the Millers Kill Police Department has a new female rookie cop - a single mom named Hadley Knox - who was hired just before the bodies started turning up. Thus Hadley has a steep on-the-job learning curve and shows spunk in difficult circumstances. In addition to the romantic angst between Russ and Clare there are some sparks between Hadley and a fellow cop and between an immigrant worker and the sister of some local thugs. Thus the book is a sort of mystery/multiple romance that touches on the topic of illegal immigration. Though the mystery part of the book is interesting it's overly complicated and the bad guys do some things that don't ring true. Therefore, the book's climax isn't completely satisfying. Still, fans of the series will probably enjoy this book. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  2. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    Read this in just a few, short days. After the trainwreck of an ending in the previous book, I needed a break from Russ & Clare. I was caring too much about them. They're fictional characters for goodness sake! Yet I devour these books and laugh and cry along with them, page by page, as though they were living, breathing friends. There have been many books and characters that have stuck with me though the years, but very few are the ones who I think might actually be real. Russ and Clare fit int Read this in just a few, short days. After the trainwreck of an ending in the previous book, I needed a break from Russ & Clare. I was caring too much about them. They're fictional characters for goodness sake! Yet I devour these books and laugh and cry along with them, page by page, as though they were living, breathing friends. There have been many books and characters that have stuck with me though the years, but very few are the ones who I think might actually be real. Russ and Clare fit into that latter category and it's a huge testament to the writing strength of Julia Spencer-Fleming. In this latest installment, Russ and Clare have been studiously avoiding each other after the horrific incident that split them apart. Both nursing some pretty serious emotional wounds, you wonder if they can ever get beyond it. I'll admit, it seems pretty hopeless at first. When Clare gets drawn into the plight of migrant workers and then "random" acts of violence begin happening to these men, Russ and Clare are thrown back together (again) and the body count starts rising (again). Even though this is old hat for JSF, she makes it feel new. The raw emotion between Russ and Clare makes you weep in empathy, anger and frustration with them, as they are all too human. The ending is less of a cliff-hanger than before, but whoa damn, it still leaves me hungering for the next installment.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I LOVE THESE BOOKS. Such satisfying mystery and romance, set in a totally believable portrayal of a small, rural town. This one involved Hispanic farmhands without the proper paperwork (i.e. illegal migrant workers) working on dairy farms, and I found myself going “yes!” multiple times as Spencer-Fleming got the dynamics of that situation right.* Add it together with fantastic characterization – her female characters are especially strong and believable – and the alternately frustrating and rewar I LOVE THESE BOOKS. Such satisfying mystery and romance, set in a totally believable portrayal of a small, rural town. This one involved Hispanic farmhands without the proper paperwork (i.e. illegal migrant workers) working on dairy farms, and I found myself going “yes!” multiple times as Spencer-Fleming got the dynamics of that situation right.* Add it together with fantastic characterization – her female characters are especially strong and believable – and the alternately frustrating and rewarding relationship between the two main characters, and wow! I love these books! And it doesn’t hurt that it made me laugh out loud more than once. For example: Finally she said, “Thank you, God,” and staggered to her feet. It felt like she’d been worked over with a lead pipe. Her poor car was totaled. Another one. She lifted her eyes to the hills. From whence my help cometh. USAA was going to cancel her. Her parishioners would start calling her the Reverend Stephanie Plum. Hee! I know allusions to popular culture frustrate some people, and can date the work, but I don’t really care, since I’m reading this contemporary to its publishing. So I will laugh, laugh, laugh at the idea of Clare Fergusson being called Reverend Stephanie Plum. Though, I do have to say, living in an area that’s pretty similar to Millers Kill, that these guys are way over their quota for really grisly murders. It’s starting to get a little Murder, She Wrote up in there. Why do people keep coming to Millers Kill? Why do people keep inviting Jessica Fletcher places? Dead people everywhere! I totally recommend these to people who like mysteries or people who like angsty romance or people who like believable stories about rural towns/farm communities or people who like stories about believable, realistic characters. There's so much about this series that is appealing! Definitely read the first book, though: All Mortal Flesh and continue from there. They're not really stand alones, as a lot of the development of the characters over the course of the series would be lost, and the real appeal here is the characterization, not the mysteries. *There were a couple times where the Spanish the characters were speaking seemed wrong to me, but I'm not sure if that was intentional awkwardness on the part of the Spanish-as-a-second-language characters, or if it was just me being a dummy.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa McShane

    I am so glad I went directly to this book after All Mortal Flesh, because after the trauma that one inflicted on me, I really needed the payoff in this one. The mystery isn't very good; it limps along a little, and again it's Spencer-Fleming's characterization that saves it, because it's hard not to cheer for Amado and Octavio and Isabel even if the plot surrounding them is a little too mundane to be captivating. Once again, it's all about Russ and Clare, their relationship in broken shards afte I am so glad I went directly to this book after All Mortal Flesh, because after the trauma that one inflicted on me, I really needed the payoff in this one. The mystery isn't very good; it limps along a little, and again it's Spencer-Fleming's characterization that saves it, because it's hard not to cheer for Amado and Octavio and Isabel even if the plot surrounding them is a little too mundane to be captivating. Once again, it's all about Russ and Clare, their relationship in broken shards after the events of the previous book, and again, it's almost too much drama to be real. (view spoiler)[Russ nearly dying after he and Clare have had a fight in which Clare was brutally right, and the possibility that those might be the last words they said to one another, is close enough to melodrama as makes no difference. But I don't care, because I love them both. (hide spoiler)] Watching them tiptoe around each other, trying to work out where they both stand, is painful and sweet, and the ending is extremely satisfying. (view spoiler)[I thought the two of them dancing in the square was good (poor Hugh, but he never did have a chance) but then they finally, FINALLY consummate that physical relationship, and boy, that made me happy. (hide spoiler)] There's some good character development with some of the secondary characters, particularly Kevin Flynn, who truly is a human Irish setter, but turns out to be far more than that. I also liked Hadley, first female addition to the MKPD, and how she deals with being a woman on an all-male force as well as being a single mom and someone who isn't totally sure she wants to be a cop--her conversation with Russ on applying for the job is great. (view spoiler)[It's also wonderful to see that Kevin is capable of throwing her off-balance, and I really look forward to seeing where that relationship goes. (hide spoiler)] Bigger spoiler: (view spoiler)[Okay, I knew from the title of the next book and the fact that Spencer-Fleming is a heartless sadist that Clare's unit was going to be deployed to Iraq. And I figured it would be at just exactly the right moment, i.e. just when Russ and Clare have finally gotten over their respective hangups, forgiven each other, and prepared to move into a more solid relationship. So I don't mind that it happened, because if I hadn't expected it, I would have been mad about the cheap trick. Really, I'm trying to figure out what she can possibly do to screw up their relationship further, given that they've finally slept together and are at peace with the nastiness of their mutual history. Basically, Russ and Clare had two wonderful weeks together, they've gotten the happiness they'd been waiting three years for, so the next bad thing that happens is going to affect them as a couple, two people hanging on to each other, and that's a lot different than what's been driving them apart all this time. (hide spoiler)] Another spoiler: (view spoiler)[Something Hallie said in her review stuck with me--that Linda's infidelity was sort of swept aside. I disliked Linda for herself and not just as an impediment to Clare and Russ's happiness; she proved herself to be selfish and shallow and kept demanding that Russ make all the changes because he had the courage to admit to her that he'd fallen in love with another woman. Having an affair with Lyle makes her a hypocrite of the first magnitude, and Russ was right to call her on it. But he goes on feeling guilty that his last words to her were harsh without considering that he'd been wronged too, and to my mind, far more horribly wronged. Clare gets her closure in finally, finally owning to herself and to Russ that he betrayed her in turning away after Linda's death, but we never see Russ realizing that he wasn't totally to blame for his marriage coming apart, and I think he needed to do that. It was disappointing, really. (hide spoiler)] All things considered, though, I loved this book--probably more than it deserved, but ultimately I care more about Clare and Russ than I do about the mysteries. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when (view spoiler)[Clare gets back from Iraq--almost forgot to put that in a spoiler! (hide spoiler)]

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike Finn

    For me, this series has become the place that I go when I need something to read that I know I will enjoy from the first page. I think Julia Spencer-Fleming has achieved something remarkable with these books. It's rare to find a writer who can produce strong characters AND a strong sense of place AND a good plot AND make each book in the series better than the last. There are books that I enjoy because they're clever or well-written or innovative or they make me think. Then there are books like th For me, this series has become the place that I go when I need something to read that I know I will enjoy from the first page. I think Julia Spencer-Fleming has achieved something remarkable with these books. It's rare to find a writer who can produce strong characters AND a strong sense of place AND a good plot AND make each book in the series better than the last. There are books that I enjoy because they're clever or well-written or innovative or they make me think. Then there are books like this one, that I breathe in like mountain air in the morning. That I lose myself in completely. Where the people matter to me and the story holds me. Where my wife will ask why I'm smiling as I read and where I try not to cry in public. These are the books that sing the song of my heart. 'I Shall Not Want' starts with an action scene. Not the kind where a kickass hero struts his stuff but the kind where the good guy is filled with fear and asking whether $12 hour plus benefits is a good enough reason to get shot at when she has kids at home who depend on her. The action is intense. The outcome is potentially tragic. And that's just the prologue. Going from a standing start to complete absorption in a few pages is one of the things that Julia Spencer-Fleming is good at. She also knows how to keep the series fresh. The character under fire in the opening scene is a woman police officer I don't know yet I'm immediately in her head and at the same time wondering what her back story is. The officer's story showed me how the characters I've grown to know over the previous five books would look to an outsider. Linking the officer both to the Police Chief who hires her and to the Priest whose church employs the officer's grandfather as a sextant, provides a link between the worlds of the two main characters even when, for much of the book, they're not willing to talk to one another. Another way that Julia Spencer-Fleming keeps the series fresh is by pulling in contemporary topics that affect life in rural New York. This time the story pivots around the use of foreign, sometimes undocumented migrant labour on the farms, the relationship between a wealthy-three-generations-ago-but-now-bordering-on-white-trash family and the drugs trade and a tragedy that starts with a well-intentioned lie about identity. Yet the main pull of the series remains the relationship between Claire, the Episcopalian priest who has now also re-upped into the National Guard as the helicopter pilot she was before her vocation called her and Russ, the recently violently-widowed, deeply guilt-ridden Chief of Police. This could so easily be one of those cosy-but-clichéd relationships that some romance series are built on, but it isn't. Julia Spencer-Fleming has built two very strong-willed characters, tightly bound by their personal ethical codes, granted them a sometimes overwhelming level of mutual attraction and respect and then has done terrible things to them and the people around them that make it impossible for them simply to be together. And she's done it in a way that doesn't feel forced or TV-Soap-contrived but which is a product of who these two people are and the environment that they're living in. I like that Claire and Russ aren't the only strong characters in this book. The people around them feel real and large parts of the book are spent on their challenges and hopes. So, six books in and this series continues to delight and even manages to surprise me. What more could I ask? Well... book seven of course.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jenne

    Well, I finally caught up to the latest book in the series, and I can't believe I'm going to have to wait (how long???) to find out what happens next. This was BY FAR the best one yet--what can I say, I'm a hopeless romantic, and especially a sucker for a bittersweet happy ending. I also liked the Stephanie Plum reference--just what I was thinking. ETA: I had to come back and say that I was thinking about it and the relationship in this series is basically the opposite of everything that drives me Well, I finally caught up to the latest book in the series, and I can't believe I'm going to have to wait (how long???) to find out what happens next. This was BY FAR the best one yet--what can I say, I'm a hopeless romantic, and especially a sucker for a bittersweet happy ending. I also liked the Stephanie Plum reference--just what I was thinking. ETA: I had to come back and say that I was thinking about it and the relationship in this series is basically the opposite of everything that drives me insane about the Stephenie Meyer books. These people are adults, and have REAL reasons why they fall in love with each other, and REAL obstacles to being together, and actually behave in BELIEVABLE (and occasionally stupid) ways like REAL PEOPLE WOULD. Sorry for the all caps; Stephenie just seems to bring it out in me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hallie

    Honestly, I’m not sure it makes any sense at all to give books in this series ratings, as I’m far too hand-wavey and stammery and emotionally overwrought (to use Melissa/Jacob’s description) for deliberation. Also, I need to qualify a metric cr*p-load of things. (Okay, so anyone reading this will know I’ve opted for a 4 star rating, but the paragraph above was written before that!) Some of that hand-waving indecisiveness relates to the fact that I find the books - and this one in particular - an Honestly, I’m not sure it makes any sense at all to give books in this series ratings, as I’m far too hand-wavey and stammery and emotionally overwrought (to use Melissa/Jacob’s description) for deliberation. Also, I need to qualify a metric cr*p-load of things. (Okay, so anyone reading this will know I’ve opted for a 4 star rating, but the paragraph above was written before that!) Some of that hand-waving indecisiveness relates to the fact that I find the books - and this one in particular - an incredibly odd mixture of engaging characters over whom I appear to lose all ability for rational thought, real emotional wisdom and some of the more egregious authorial manipulation I’ve come across (in books I haven’t abandoned in disgust). As usual I’ll write in fairly general terms with only the odd line or two behind spoilers for a bit, and then go behind a proper cut for the rest. Safeish review in other words, but not if you’ve only read the first book, or none. As I said in my review of book 5, a huge problem I had with that book was brought front-and-centre by a wonderful minor character on page 23 of this book, and that redeemed a lot of things for me. It returns on page 287 (of my St Martin’s Paperbacks copy, anyway), though it’s Clare saying what has been said to her. And it’s painful for all concerned but necessary - has to be said, to be named, because if Clare can’t manage to be honest with herself, she’ll never manage to get beyond it. Or anything. That was fine, except then we had a bit of the authorial manipulation that I found excessive on two counts (view spoiler)[ Russ’s upteenth near-death experience: 1) because it’s already been done too many times in the series and 2) because it happens leaving poor Clare feeling that this will likely be her last words to Russ, which would destroy her (hide spoiler)] It made me roll my eyes, but more than that too, and it seems to me that the author doesn’t need to pull what started to feel like cheap, almost exploitative moves, when the books are so powerful already. Just because I’m willing to share about how admirable my consistency is, however, I’ll admit that I got to the little bombshell very near the end (view spoiler)[Clare’s learning she’ll be deployed to Iraq (hide spoiler)] and actually burst out laughing. Leaving aside the fact that I’m just stupid about this series, I think it didn’t bother me at all because I felt enough resolution about the central relationship arc at this point (it’s not total, as I’ll explain when I write up book 7, but it’s enough) not to worry. In which I was both right and deeply wrong, but that’s another day’s reviewing. Just a few other things though. I was a bit disappointed that Elizabeth didn’t develop as a character to anything like the extent that Father Aberforth had, but from completely out of left field, we got Kevin, who made up for that lack. Kevin’s been just a gangly, overeager kid at the police department all along, although Russ’s saying that he’s not surprised some dogs attacked Kevin since he’s a human Irish setter cracked me up. The first hint that he was going to be someone with a good deal more in-depth characterisation came during the unnecessary bit of manipulation/melodrama, which was almost worth it just for the brief glimpse of him (view spoiler)[crying after Russ has been shot and looks unlikely to survive. (hide spoiler)] . The aftermath of that event was very surprising in a really lovely, gentle way and then he kept on showing how he’d matured, and how good a person he is. I also got my quota of really funny scenes/lines (view spoiler)[ especially loved Clare offering to marry people while stoned out of her mind for one, and the play between Clare and Russ ~ the morning after, when he wakes up to see her praying and says “I was that good, huh?” Clare comes right back with “Bless, also, O Lord, the aged and infirm, especially your servant Russ Van Alstyne…”. (hide spoiler)] , and if I’m not totally convinced by the mystery plot to this one, it’s not the worst by any means. And behind the spoiler… (view spoiler)[ As I said, it felt absolutely right that Clare had to tell Russ how he’d been so wrapped up in his own grief that he’d let go of her in the most painful and unloving way. But I also felt that what we’d learned about Linda’s betrayal of Russ in the last book was glossed over and didn’t get taken care of in book 7 either. She had had an affair with Russ’s colleague in a very small town police department, with someone who became one of his very few close friends, had never admitted it, and had taken an absolutely self-righteous victim stance when he told her about having fallen in love with Clare. The two crises parallel each other to a great degree: Russ cracks when Linda forbids him to answer the dispatch call which has told him Clare’s likely in serious danger, and throws the fact that she had an affair with Lyle at her and the author leaves that as his last words to her. (Aside from a “Wait, I didn’t mean it!” which she ignores.) And then in this book Clare accuses Russ of deserting her when she’s also grief-stricken and knows that it’s hurt him deeply, and it looks as if those will be her last words to him. But the thing is that Russ never acknowledges his anger - his right and need to be angry - at Linda’s betrayal, and her hypocritical condemnation of him as if she’d never done anything except put their marriage first, and it’s wrong that he doesn’t get that. Not out of a readerly need for Linda to be punished by a more thorough understanding of her character, but because -- well, to put it simply, reality matters. And the reality of Linda and Russ’s marriage is that they didn’t have a true one at this point, if they ever did. I found Linda’s character as revealed throughout the course of book 5 to be so selfish, shallow and fundamentally dishonest that I didn’t believe she’d ever been capable of a real commitment. I’m still having a bit of trouble sorting out how I feel about that, er, feeling, because from one angle, if Linda’s been killed off anyway, she didn’t have to be quite so nasty, and it could have been more a question of their having grown apart with neither of them brave enough to look at it and attempt to repair it. But having brought up all the ugly in Linda’s past (and the present of her being alive and off gallivanting, before she’s *really* dead), I’m not sure why the author then seems to have swept it back under the carpet again, in favour of a more straight-forward picture of a marriage that had problems but ones that were going to be fixed, after Russ got the shock and grief of her supposed death. (hide spoiler)]

  8. 5 out of 5

    Red

    Aaah! ...and they're back! I was ready to quit this series, but no need. Everything that was missing in All Mortal Flesh is back in spades. In fact, I Shall Not Want almost swung too far in the other direction. The mystery was a little on the light side. So much so, that someone (publisher? editor? probably not the author) pulled the most action packed chapter from it's normal place in the progression of the story, and made it the first chapter, then prefaced the rest of the story with "6 Months Aaah! ...and they're back! I was ready to quit this series, but no need. Everything that was missing in All Mortal Flesh is back in spades. In fact, I Shall Not Want almost swung too far in the other direction. The mystery was a little on the light side. So much so, that someone (publisher? editor? probably not the author) pulled the most action packed chapter from it's normal place in the progression of the story, and made it the first chapter, then prefaced the rest of the story with "6 Months Earlier." All that did for me was make me wonder every couple of chapters how much longer until we got to the big drama. What would have been an edge of the seat nail-biter with a shocking conclusion of a chapter, was instead relegated to a "coming attractions trailer". Instead of the story building, building, building until it exploded in our faces, we got to the top of the precipice only to find a chain-link fence 10 yards from the edge with some postcards clipped to it, saying, never mind, you've already seen it all. Not the least bit satisfying, as far as story flow goes. On the plus side, all of the emotional character development that we've been craving and and only been given glimpses of in the last few novels was spread out for us like a smorgasbord. Fabulous and delicious, extremely satisfying! While I've been reading this series I started casting the characters. Clare Fergusson: a younger Sigorney Weaver Russ Van Alstyne: Russell Crow [image error] Margie Van Alstyne: Debra Mooney

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I love this series beyond all reason, on so many levels. The character development, the emotional depth--which makes these stories more engaging than most romance novels I've read--the sincere spirituality, the thrilling mysteries . . . it's always a pleasure to return to Millers Kill and see what's happening with Russ and Clare and the rest of the gang. (Also, I desperately want a bumper sticker like Clare's: 'Jesus is Coming: Look Busy'.) I love this series beyond all reason, on so many levels. The character development, the emotional depth--which makes these stories more engaging than most romance novels I've read--the sincere spirituality, the thrilling mysteries . . . it's always a pleasure to return to Millers Kill and see what's happening with Russ and Clare and the rest of the gang. (Also, I desperately want a bumper sticker like Clare's: 'Jesus is Coming: Look Busy'.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    As a great series should do, each book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series gives something new in the progression of the story line of the characters. Of course, with Clare and Russ there are always ups and downs that drive the reader crazy, too. Crazy in a good way, though. In this latest tale, there is a new cop on the force, Hadley Knox, somebody is killing Latino men, and Clare has joined the National Guard. After discussions with her bishop, Clare and he decided that there were s As a great series should do, each book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series gives something new in the progression of the story line of the characters. Of course, with Clare and Russ there are always ups and downs that drive the reader crazy, too. Crazy in a good way, though. In this latest tale, there is a new cop on the force, Hadley Knox, somebody is killing Latino men, and Clare has joined the National Guard. After discussions with her bishop, Clare and he decided that there were some issues she still needed to work out concerning her calling, and being in the Guard would help her. Her duties as a priest are to be carried on, but she has her new deacon, Elizabeth de Groot, continuing to help her. The deacon, introduced in the last book, is proving to be a mixed blessing. Clare and Russ have much personally to deal with in this story, after the traumatic events of All Mortal Flesh, the previous novel. The search for a killer or killers involves illegal drugs, a growing migrant community, and a law-skirting local trio of brothers. There is suspense, tragedy, and desire aplenty in this latest hot book from Julia Spencer-Fleming. My reviews have gotten somewhat shorter simply because I am fairly chomping at the bit to begin the next book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    James Glass

    This is another great story from Julia Spencer-Fleming. When chief of police, Russ Van Alstyne's sister and brother-in-law buy a farm, the decide to hire some Mexicans to help with the work. But the van the workers are in crashes. Upon arrival at the scene, only two in the van load have remained due to they are illegals. Several days later, the body of a Mexican is discovered on the outskirts of Chief Alstyne's sisters farm. The autopsy reveals the person to be a male with a gunshot would to the This is another great story from Julia Spencer-Fleming. When chief of police, Russ Van Alstyne's sister and brother-in-law buy a farm, the decide to hire some Mexicans to help with the work. But the van the workers are in crashes. Upon arrival at the scene, only two in the van load have remained due to they are illegals. Several days later, the body of a Mexican is discovered on the outskirts of Chief Alstyne's sisters farm. The autopsy reveals the person to be a male with a gunshot would to the back of the head. On a Sunday afternoon, a three year old walks off from the Eucharist being held by Clare Fergusson and the church. As a search party sets out to find the boy, two more bodies are discovered in shallow graves. As the search for the killer or killers is launched, a roller sister ride will keep the reader guessing as to who done it and why.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kay (aka) Miss Bates

    My love for this series is without bounds and my rating is more about the series as a whole than any individual book. In this case, the mystery was lengthy and confusing. I wasn't always onboard with the dubious portrayal of Mexican gang members. Mind you, JSF was writing before Trump's racist "They're bringing crime" ... but it's a prism we must look through at all times. So, my comment stands, if you're going to read I Shall Not Want, CW. What I loved most about it was the ratcheting-up of emo My love for this series is without bounds and my rating is more about the series as a whole than any individual book. In this case, the mystery was lengthy and confusing. I wasn't always onboard with the dubious portrayal of Mexican gang members. Mind you, JSF was writing before Trump's racist "They're bringing crime" ... but it's a prism we must look through at all times. So, my comment stands, if you're going to read I Shall Not Want, CW. What I loved most about it was the ratcheting-up of emotional and physical intensity between Reverend Clare and Chief van Alstyne. Of course, JSF can't help but leave us on a relationship cliff-hanger. I forgive her, though, and go onwards and forwards to the next book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    mom LOVES this series - sophisticated mysteries with spiritual themes and great characters

  14. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Cole

    After having avoided this series for so long due to the massive hype the very first book received, I now have the extremely pleasant task of playing catch-up. After so much avoidance, Julia Spencer-Fleming's series is now one of my favorites, and it has everything to do with the main characters, Russ Van Alstyne and Clare Fergusson. In showing how two very moral people try so hard always to do the right thing yet find themselves sliding down the slippery slope, the author shows readers that no o After having avoided this series for so long due to the massive hype the very first book received, I now have the extremely pleasant task of playing catch-up. After so much avoidance, Julia Spencer-Fleming's series is now one of my favorites, and it has everything to do with the main characters, Russ Van Alstyne and Clare Fergusson. In showing how two very moral people try so hard always to do the right thing yet find themselves sliding down the slippery slope, the author shows readers that no one is exempt from temptation, and that-- even though it's not easy-- people still need to do what's right. One of the ways she shows that doing what's right is sometimes not easy at all is the predicament in which Van Alstyne's sister finds herself embroiled. She and her husband are dairy farmers and have increased both the size of their land and the size of their herds. The only help they can afford are migrant workers, and they want legal workers with all their paperwork in order. Spencer-Fleming's handling of this entire subplot is sensitively done and well told. As a matter of fact, quite a bit of the action in I Shall Not Want involves people who are trying their utmost to better themselves and their families-- and not finding it at all easy. Hadley Knox is a prime example of this. She's had a hard life dealing with a succession of low-paying jobs and an abusive husband. Now she and her children are back in Millers Kill, and she's the rookie cop. Hadley took the job not so much because she thought she would make a good police officer but because she desperately needs the money for her children. Spencer-Fleming knows how to stretch readers' nerves to the breaking point with tense situations; she knows how to make readers' eyes well up with tears; and she also knows how to defuse tension with well-placed (and laugh-out-loud funny) bits of humor. All this is evident in I Shall Not Want. She also did something else that I felt was brilliant. The book begins with Hadley Knox, the rookie, involved in a shoot-out. We see the entire scene through her inexperienced and terrified eyes. At the end of the book, we're taken back to this very same scene, this time from the point of view of the veteran cop, Russ Van Alstyne. It's an amazing piece of writing that I will remember for a long time. I have two more to go before I'm caught up with this series. After closing the book on this one, I immediately wanted to pick up the next, but I will restrain myself. Better to pace these gems out at intervals rather than gulp them all down at once.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Moving right along on the Clare/Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries with number 6, I Shall Not Want chalked off. At the end of number five the ongoing affair of the two main characters, Priest Fergusson and Chief Van Alstyne came literally to a dead stop. We knew or we hoped we knew this couldn't be so as the sexual tension of these two is what brings many readers back. We are not disappointed. The beat goes on. By now I sort of know what I'm going to get in this series, a mystery that will be Moving right along on the Clare/Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries with number 6, I Shall Not Want chalked off. At the end of number five the ongoing affair of the two main characters, Priest Fergusson and Chief Van Alstyne came literally to a dead stop. We knew or we hoped we knew this couldn't be so as the sexual tension of these two is what brings many readers back. We are not disappointed. The beat goes on. By now I sort of know what I'm going to get in this series, a mystery that will be solved in a town I'm familiar with and characters I'm getting to know. Comfortable. A nice book for a long winter's afternoon read. I enjoyed the addition of a new character, Hadley Knox, a divorced mother of two who comes to Millers Kill with no job plan but soon joins the force. I hope Spencer-Fleming fleshes this character and the issues she faces as the only female on the team a bit more. The author has already given her a love interest in the character of "In Like Flynn" (Kevin), several years her junior. Not certain yet what I think about this coupling. I also found the subject, illegal Mexican workers in this Adirondack community, interesting and always timely. I tend to think of these men and women in our border towns, forgetting they are everywhere trying to eek out a living. Drugs, immigration legalities, a small town over-burdened police department, and the continued story of church and law are entertaining. I continue to enjoy this light faith based series, its hymnal quotes, chapter titles referring to religious holidays, quick passages from the bible or gospels, liturgy and psalms and the quest of the characters to understand how God plays a part in their lives. (view spoiler)[ Also, at the end of book 5, Clare is practically ordered rejoin the National Guard as a means to examine her calling. At the end of Shall Not Want her unit is activated and she will be deployed to Iraq, throwing another curve to the love life of she and Russ. (hide spoiler)]

  16. 4 out of 5

    melissa

    I had severe let down. I don’t know if it’s because my expectations were so high, after the other one was so good, or if I was just in a different mind space, or if I could predict where it was going as I had read the author before, but this one fell short for me. Or maybe it’s because I have read Harlan Coben, who tends to do a lot a similar things in his books, but more so. Now with that said, I do like Russ and Clare, but am getting a bit tired of the push/pull between them. I liked that a lot I had severe let down. I don’t know if it’s because my expectations were so high, after the other one was so good, or if I was just in a different mind space, or if I could predict where it was going as I had read the author before, but this one fell short for me. Or maybe it’s because I have read Harlan Coben, who tends to do a lot a similar things in his books, but more so. Now with that said, I do like Russ and Clare, but am getting a bit tired of the push/pull between them. I liked that a lot of my old favorite characters were there, and well and short visits from past ones. I like Hadley and hope she sticks around. We finally got some edge of my seat moments near the end, and I like that it was a humorous ending, although I’m not sure it fit with the rest of the book. There was pay off in the end, but it felt like me to be a lot of work to get there. I’m glad I did though, otherwise I would have been very discouraged. It made it worth my time investment. I like the dialog, internal as well as between the characters. I like that we got to see EVERYONES point of view, from the main characters, to minor characters. I think that it could have been done very well (and easier for the author) from just the two points of view of the main characters, but the fact that there was more really added layers to the story. Will I read anymore of this series? I don’t know. I didn’t think I would read this one, and I did, so who knows?

  17. 4 out of 5

    erforscherin

    That's it, it's official, the shark has been jumped - repeat, the shark has been jumped. This series isn't even bothering with believability anymore and has fully embraced its true soap opera nature... which, oddly enough, might have actually improved the crack-filled trainwreck-ness of the whole thing. Somewhere around the halfway mark I finally cracked and started brainstorming a list of all the possible soap opera twists that might happen; by the end I was pleasantly surprised to see that a f That's it, it's official, the shark has been jumped - repeat, the shark has been jumped. This series isn't even bothering with believability anymore and has fully embraced its true soap opera nature... which, oddly enough, might have actually improved the crack-filled trainwreck-ness of the whole thing. Somewhere around the halfway mark I finally cracked and started brainstorming a list of all the possible soap opera twists that might happen; by the end I was pleasantly surprised to see that a few of them were already in play. ((view spoiler)[Didn't anticipate the ridiculous final scenes where the entire police crew is staggering around high on the smoke from a barn full of the drug lords' secret marijuana stash... but I totally called it on Clare being redeployed! I have a running bet with my partner in crime whether a Long-Lost Love Child will show up soon. (hide spoiler)] ) I think I need a break from this series for a little while - man cannot live on fluff alone, and I've definitely overdosed on this particular flavor - but I think I'll stash away this bingo card of soap opera tropes. I have a feeling it might come in handy the next time the Snowpocalypse rolls around...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    Drug wars in Millers Kill, New York! Will Russ and Clare be among the casualties? Two young couples are having extra-marital sex! Will Russ and Clare make it three? My hat is off to Julia Spencer-Fleming. She has gauged her audience. She has hit her stride. Well-paced action; witty dialogue (and one really funny scene near the end); sexual tension that gets played for all it's worth; courageous and capable women with courageous and capable men. Kind of like Janet Evanovich but without the crudity. Drug wars in Millers Kill, New York! Will Russ and Clare be among the casualties? Two young couples are having extra-marital sex! Will Russ and Clare make it three? My hat is off to Julia Spencer-Fleming. She has gauged her audience. She has hit her stride. Well-paced action; witty dialogue (and one really funny scene near the end); sexual tension that gets played for all it's worth; courageous and capable women with courageous and capable men. Kind of like Janet Evanovich but without the crudity. And with values, like honesty, forgiveness, and love. Not to mention stupidity -- because, without characters doing stupid things, it wouldn't be much of a story, would it?

  19. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Conflicting thoughts on the structure of this one. I don’t really love having the starting incident/flashback structure because the entire time you’re reading you’re waiting to get back to that point. In theory I know it’s to ramp up tension, but it just ends up irritating me more than anything. On the other hand, I loved the passage of time. It not only worked well in regards to the plot but it helped move us on from the events of the previous book. And, of course, it provided more room for Russ Conflicting thoughts on the structure of this one. I don’t really love having the starting incident/flashback structure because the entire time you’re reading you’re waiting to get back to that point. In theory I know it’s to ramp up tension, but it just ends up irritating me more than anything. On the other hand, I loved the passage of time. It not only worked well in regards to the plot but it helped move us on from the events of the previous book. And, of course, it provided more room for Russ and Clare to work and grow together. The inciting incident aside, I was really into this one. Hadley is a great addition to the series and I enjoyed how we got a bit of an outsider’s look at the department and the town (because as much as Clare might be an outsider in the first book, it’s been awhile since that’s been true). Everything with Russ and Clare!!! Nothing’s ever easy with them, but I appreciate that even when they’re cross with each other there was still that undercurrent of understanding between them. They know each other and they know each other’s feelings—even when they’ve hurt each other they can respect those feelings (unlike most other books where these would just be misunderstandings for the sake of keeping them apart). This is true of them throughout the series, but it was really apparent in this one where things really came to a head. Also, the dance! Russ saying if he wasn’t careful she’d be running the force! (view spoiler)[His proposal! (hide spoiler)] Annoyed with the ending even though I saw it coming, but even so, a great installment.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Abibliofob

    I have read some books by Julia Spencer-Fleming. A Fountain Filled with Blood, Out of the Derp I Cry, To Darkness and to Death, All Mortal Flesh, I Shall Not Want, One Was a Soldier and Through the Evil Days. All these books are about the town of Miller's Kill in New York state and the main characters are chief of police Russ Van Alstyne and reverend Clare Fergusson. Every book has its own theme when it comes to the crime committed and the ongoing drama if they love each other or not and if so w I have read some books by Julia Spencer-Fleming. A Fountain Filled with Blood, Out of the Derp I Cry, To Darkness and to Death, All Mortal Flesh, I Shall Not Want, One Was a Soldier and Through the Evil Days. All these books are about the town of Miller's Kill in New York state and the main characters are chief of police Russ Van Alstyne and reverend Clare Fergusson. Every book has its own theme when it comes to the crime committed and the ongoing drama if they love each other or not and if so what should they do about it. We go through all seasons and various crimes, also a lot about gossip in a small town. Now that I am finally done with all 9 books in the series I can only conclude that they are very entertaining. I will however strongly recommend that you read the books in order. #WhatIamReading #LibraryOfAbibliofob #JuliaSpencerFleming #RussVanAlstyne #ClareFergusson #aFountainFilledWithBlood #OutOfTheDeepICry #ToDarknessAndToDeath #AllMortalFlesh #IShallNotWant #OneWasaSoldier #ThroughTheEvilDays

  21. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    The death of a dairy farm worker, followed by the discovery of two bodies buried in the woods, draws Reverend Clare Fergusson into the plight of the migrant farm workers while the police department investigates the deaths. All of the expected characters make an appearance in this, the sixth outing for Clare, Russ, and friends. The complex, suspense-filled narrative, peopled with strong, believable characters, gives the narrative depth and the plot imparts relevant meaning to the telling of the t The death of a dairy farm worker, followed by the discovery of two bodies buried in the woods, draws Reverend Clare Fergusson into the plight of the migrant farm workers while the police department investigates the deaths. All of the expected characters make an appearance in this, the sixth outing for Clare, Russ, and friends. The complex, suspense-filled narrative, peopled with strong, believable characters, gives the narrative depth and the plot imparts relevant meaning to the telling of the tale. Single mom Hadley Knox is a welcome addition to the department as is Officer Kevin Flynn. And, as in the earlier books in the series, there’s Russ and Clare, trying to avoid each other; Clare and Russ, meant to be. Ah, the angst. Readers are likely to find it impossible to set this book aside before turning the final page [and discovering the latest twist]. Highly recommended.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Charlene

    I found the story here less compelling than the relationship between Clare and Russ, although it was a surprise this many years later to see the Latino (Hispanic) workers and drug intersection taking place in rural New York state -- reads like current headlines there, perhaps. I like the new police trainee in town ( a young single mother) and her interactions with the all-male force, otherwise. A lot of trips to hospitals, a lot of soul searching and the right amount of suspense. I just wonder if I found the story here less compelling than the relationship between Clare and Russ, although it was a surprise this many years later to see the Latino (Hispanic) workers and drug intersection taking place in rural New York state -- reads like current headlines there, perhaps. I like the new police trainee in town ( a young single mother) and her interactions with the all-male force, otherwise. A lot of trips to hospitals, a lot of soul searching and the right amount of suspense. I just wonder if there will be future books in this series, and (if so) how many. I'm hooked. I don't want to wait to read more about Clare and Russ!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Janice Sawtell

    I enjoyed this book. It’s the second in this series I’ve read not in order but was easy to follow previous happenings. Set in rural upstate NY with an unconventional Episcopal female reverend and salty police chief. Mystery and romance as well as a fun cast of secondary characters. Will definitely read more of this series.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Just not what I wanted to read right now. Should remember to read the description more closely instead of just picking books with bright colors on the cover.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Mary Alice

    Book 6 in the series. The mystery starts out intriguing. But the resolution is a bit outlandish, and some of the final scenes are ridiculous. Still, I like that Clare gets to help Mexican farmworkers even though they're Catholic and her vestry doesn't approve. I wasn't amused that everyone who was present (heroes and baddies alike) as a barn full of marijuana burns down became very happy and goofy as the enormous pot stash emitted smoke that they were all inhaling, possibly on purpose. Yeah, our Book 6 in the series. The mystery starts out intriguing. But the resolution is a bit outlandish, and some of the final scenes are ridiculous. Still, I like that Clare gets to help Mexican farmworkers even though they're Catholic and her vestry doesn't approve. I wasn't amused that everyone who was present (heroes and baddies alike) as a barn full of marijuana burns down became very happy and goofy as the enormous pot stash emitted smoke that they were all inhaling, possibly on purpose. Yeah, our heroine Reverend Clare made a getaway in her car while she was very high. Oh....and a couple of baddies died as the tractor they were driving exploded when they tried to drive it in to the burnng barn. But presumably, said baddies were also high, so they died happy. To be fair, the book isn't always this insane, but it wasn't a great Ferguson-Van Alstyne story, and I've read some good ones. The book serves as a bridge between the wrenching ending of the last book and the post traumatic horrors of the next in the series. But nowhere in any of Books 5, 6 or 7 is there a good reason for Clare's enlisting in the Army reserves as she tries to make some sense out of her life. I don't know exactly why this book deserves as many as the 3 stars I've rated it.....but I do love Clare and Russ....and I don't regret reading this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    I admit that I took this one out of order. I've read 4 in the series and wanted book #5 on CD for my car trip, but it wasn't available at my library, so I took #6. So obviously, there was a surprise in store in this one! I love the very real way the relationship between Clare and Russ has played out over this series and hope it continues to do so (in other words, I hope this isn't the last book!). The supporting characters were all very real and well developed (go, Kevin! who's the man?) and the I admit that I took this one out of order. I've read 4 in the series and wanted book #5 on CD for my car trip, but it wasn't available at my library, so I took #6. So obviously, there was a surprise in store in this one! I love the very real way the relationship between Clare and Russ has played out over this series and hope it continues to do so (in other words, I hope this isn't the last book!). The supporting characters were all very real and well developed (go, Kevin! who's the man?) and the mystery was decent. I like the way the story was constructed, too. Instead of a slow introduction and build-up, the author hits us with a gut punch right at the beginning, then goes back to explain how everyone got there, making the reader wonder the whole time if it really is going to turn out the way it seems.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I was a bit less into this one. Or maybe it's just that it didn't tie me into knots as much! (view spoiler)[I do think it was well done. One thing that impresses me about this series how Clare and Russ just getting drawn back together, no matter what they do. It makes it feel like a kind of fate. Not the overwrought kind of fate, but just . . . that this is meant to be. I guess some of what I didn't like about this series is that it started off with Russ getting shot and that just felt like TOO M I was a bit less into this one. Or maybe it's just that it didn't tie me into knots as much! (view spoiler)[I do think it was well done. One thing that impresses me about this series how Clare and Russ just getting drawn back together, no matter what they do. It makes it feel like a kind of fate. Not the overwrought kind of fate, but just . . . that this is meant to be. I guess some of what I didn't like about this series is that it started off with Russ getting shot and that just felt like TOO MUCH and clearly he's going to be fine. His name is in the series title! And Clare being deployed also felt like too much. (Though I like that the war is a reality in this book. I haven't seen that much in fiction.) THESE TWO. I am ready for a book of them just being together and relatively happy. (hide spoiler)]

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lourdes Venard

    (Warning: Spoiler below for those who haven't read the previous book) It's been two months since the accident that killed Russ Van Alstyne wife, and he and the Rev. Clare Fergusson haven't spoken in all that time. But then an accident involving undocumented Mexican migrants brings them together, and soon they are solving a string of deaths. Meanwhile, a new character, Hadley Knox, is introduced -- one that Spencer-Fleming has said may spin off into another series. Spencer-Fleming manages to pair (Warning: Spoiler below for those who haven't read the previous book) It's been two months since the accident that killed Russ Van Alstyne wife, and he and the Rev. Clare Fergusson haven't spoken in all that time. But then an accident involving undocumented Mexican migrants brings them together, and soon they are solving a string of deaths. Meanwhile, a new character, Hadley Knox, is introduced -- one that Spencer-Fleming has said may spin off into another series. Spencer-Fleming manages to pair a controversial topic -- illegal immigrants -- with a trio of love stories, the main one, of course, being the relationship between Clare and Russ. The author, however, isn't done with the Clare and Russ story -- this book ends on another cliffhanger.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shala Howell

    This series just keeps getting better and better. I like that it's set in a part of the country that I am familiar with (upstate New York), but mostly I kept reading and reading these (all six in ~ a week), because I loved the story of Russ & Clare. Very realistic behavior on all sides from some really well-drawn characters, which made for an engaging story. And it helped that the story plays out over the course of some pretty good mysteries (although I often guessed the solutions before they ha This series just keeps getting better and better. I like that it's set in a part of the country that I am familiar with (upstate New York), but mostly I kept reading and reading these (all six in ~ a week), because I loved the story of Russ & Clare. Very realistic behavior on all sides from some really well-drawn characters, which made for an engaging story. And it helped that the story plays out over the course of some pretty good mysteries (although I often guessed the solutions before they happened, oh well). Read them anyway if you like to mingle romance with your detective's work.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    This series just gets better and better! I think the author does a superb job of creating realistic characters. They are flawed, but "good" people, just like most of us. While most of us don't find ourselves in the kinds of situations that Claire Fergusson ends up in, (after all this IS fiction), the depiction of her relationship with Russ Van Alstyne, and her struggle to find her calling as a priest seems extremely realistic, and this is what drives my interest. This series just gets better and better! I think the author does a superb job of creating realistic characters. They are flawed, but "good" people, just like most of us. While most of us don't find ourselves in the kinds of situations that Claire Fergusson ends up in, (after all this IS fiction), the depiction of her relationship with Russ Van Alstyne, and her struggle to find her calling as a priest seems extremely realistic, and this is what drives my interest.

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