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A Fountain Filled with Blood

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Nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks, Miller's Kill, New York is about as safe as it gets. That's why Episcopal minister Clare Fergusson is shocked when the July Fourth weekend brings a rash of vicious assaults to the scenic town. Even Clare's good friend, police chief Russ Van Alstyne, is shaken by the brutality of the crimes-especially when it appears that the victims Nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks, Miller's Kill, New York is about as safe as it gets. That's why Episcopal minister Clare Fergusson is shocked when the July Fourth weekend brings a rash of vicious assaults to the scenic town. Even Clare's good friend, police chief Russ Van Alstyne, is shaken by the brutality of the crimes-especially when it appears that the victims were chosen because they are gay. But when a third assault of an out-of-town developer ends in murder, Clare and Russ wonder if the recent crime wave is connected to the victim's controversial plan to open an upscale spa in Miller's Kill. But not all things in the tiny town are what they seem-and soon, Clare and Russ are left to fight their unspoken attraction to one another even as they uncover a labyrinthine conspiracy that threatens to turn deadly for them both...


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Nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks, Miller's Kill, New York is about as safe as it gets. That's why Episcopal minister Clare Fergusson is shocked when the July Fourth weekend brings a rash of vicious assaults to the scenic town. Even Clare's good friend, police chief Russ Van Alstyne, is shaken by the brutality of the crimes-especially when it appears that the victims Nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks, Miller's Kill, New York is about as safe as it gets. That's why Episcopal minister Clare Fergusson is shocked when the July Fourth weekend brings a rash of vicious assaults to the scenic town. Even Clare's good friend, police chief Russ Van Alstyne, is shaken by the brutality of the crimes-especially when it appears that the victims were chosen because they are gay. But when a third assault of an out-of-town developer ends in murder, Clare and Russ wonder if the recent crime wave is connected to the victim's controversial plan to open an upscale spa in Miller's Kill. But not all things in the tiny town are what they seem-and soon, Clare and Russ are left to fight their unspoken attraction to one another even as they uncover a labyrinthine conspiracy that threatens to turn deadly for them both...

30 review for A Fountain Filled with Blood

  1. 5 out of 5

    LJ

    Two gay men are brutally attacked in Spencer-Fleming's second Reverend Clare Fergusson mystery. Clare, a former army helicopter pilot, now a priest at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in the small Adirondack town of Millers Kill, New York, feels the attacks are related, and the police should notify the community so people can protect themselves. Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne disagrees, wanting to avoid copycat crimes, and his refusal to act creates tension between the two, further complicated by the Two gay men are brutally attacked in Spencer-Fleming's second Reverend Clare Fergusson mystery. Clare, a former army helicopter pilot, now a priest at St. Alban's Episcopal Church in the small Adirondack town of Millers Kill, New York, feels the attacks are related, and the police should notify the community so people can protect themselves. Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne disagrees, wanting to avoid copycat crimes, and his refusal to act creates tension between the two, further complicated by their mutual attraction, although Russ is married. When a third man is killed, Clare launches her own investigation. Serious issues such as gay bashing and contamination of the town's water supply with PCBs add depth to the story. Please remember, this is my opinion only. I finally figured out what so bothered me about this series—it’s the character Clare. This is a woman who was an Army pilot, with all the rules, chain-of-command, “need to know, ” and discipline associated therewith, and is now an Episcopal priest, with all its associated confidentiality, discipline and rules. And yet, she blathers information she was expressly asked not to, she is attracted to a married man when part of her job is providing counseling for couples, and interferes in a police investigation. Not to mention she now drive a Shelby Cobra which, if not a replica, is approximately a $50,000 vehicle. Interestingly, had the author made the protagonist a lawyer, which was her profession, I don’t think any of these things would have bothered me. I guess it shows the different ethic I hold for ministers and lawyers. I think the police chief is very well done and realistic, and were he the sole focus of the series, I would like it. However, Clare just does not ring true to me. So, I fear, this is not a series with which I personally shall continue.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    As the title might hint, this installment in the Clare-and-Russ story is rather more dark and violent than the other two I've read so far. It begins with the stomach-knotting threat of hate-filled obscenities shouted at a small group of gay men, and follows immediately with the fulfillment of that promise of violence as a character who made a memorable appearance in In the Bleak Midwinter is stopped and beaten on his way home. There are messages here, but they're like Clare's faith – there thro As the title might hint, this installment in the Clare-and-Russ story is rather more dark and violent than the other two I've read so far. It begins with the stomach-knotting threat of hate-filled obscenities shouted at a small group of gay men, and follows immediately with the fulfillment of that promise of violence as a character who made a memorable appearance in In the Bleak Midwinter is stopped and beaten on his way home. There are messages here, but they're like Clare's faith – there throughout without beating anyone over the head. This was a solid installment in the series. This is a series I keep forgetting about, and I need to make sure I remember it better. It's a keeper.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Red

    I really like these books. They have a nice strong female character. It's interesting and novel that Clare is an Episcopalian priest, who used to be an Army helicopter pilot. I like the setting, a small town in upstate New York. Her best friend and forbidden romantic interest, is the already married police chief. This presents a quandary for me, because even though you'd like characters to get together, I'm not the least bit keen about the breaking up of his marriage. I assume that somewhere fur I really like these books. They have a nice strong female character. It's interesting and novel that Clare is an Episcopalian priest, who used to be an Army helicopter pilot. I like the setting, a small town in upstate New York. Her best friend and forbidden romantic interest, is the already married police chief. This presents a quandary for me, because even though you'd like characters to get together, I'm not the least bit keen about the breaking up of his marriage. I assume that somewhere further along in the series, that probably happens. The mysteries are interesting, and she throws out enough red herrings that guessing 'who done it' will keep you guessing. Although, I'm worried about the trap that TV shows fall into, the biggest named guest star is usually the killer. In this series, unless she has mysteries other than murder, one has to wonder, how many murderers can live in one small town. So that leaves you to suspect the out-of-towners in the stories, a much smaller pool to draw from.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mackey

    This series, featuring a female Episcopalian priest and a small town cop, reminds me of an American version of Louise Penney's series. It falls somewhere between crime fiction and cozy mystery but still has the depth to explore difficult topics such as hate crimes. If you don't like a lot of gore in your crime fiction then this is definitely a series you will want to check out. This series, featuring a female Episcopalian priest and a small town cop, reminds me of an American version of Louise Penney's series. It falls somewhere between crime fiction and cozy mystery but still has the depth to explore difficult topics such as hate crimes. If you don't like a lot of gore in your crime fiction then this is definitely a series you will want to check out.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    I’m finding myself really riveted by this murder mystery series. I read the first one back in January (In the Bleak Midwinter) and then saved this one for July 4th (as it starts on that holiday). It was a great way to spend the day. Make no mistake, I may have started it in a leisurely fashion, but by halfway through I was determined to finish by day’s end. I needed to know whodunit. I find myself really drawn into the whole relationship between the Rev. Clair and police chief Russ. They both kno I’m finding myself really riveted by this murder mystery series. I read the first one back in January (In the Bleak Midwinter) and then saved this one for July 4th (as it starts on that holiday). It was a great way to spend the day. Make no mistake, I may have started it in a leisurely fashion, but by halfway through I was determined to finish by day’s end. I needed to know whodunit. I find myself really drawn into the whole relationship between the Rev. Clair and police chief Russ. They both know that it’s the wrong thing to do. Russ is married, supposedly happily, but the further I go in the series, the more I question this. Clair, as an Episcopalian priest, knows that she must live up to the standards of her church, but realizes that it’s not always an easy thing to do. This second book reveals that there’s a fair age discrepancy between them as well (15 years) that would stand in the way of some people. It’s an uncomfortable situation to find themselves in, but they are both honourable people and they try to do the honourable thing. They are struggling to continue to be “friends” and yet can’t help sometimes saying things that inflame their situation. So there’s the whole “forbidden love” thing happening and that is a draw for me. I’ve also recently been listening to a podcast about the gay community in Toronto in the 1970s and 80s, as well as the recently nabbed serial killer there, so murders and beatings of gay men have been on my mind. The prejudice of society and police forces against the LGBTQ+ segment of society makes the solving of these crimes much more difficult than it ought to be, and I would hope that we could learn from past mistakes. So the crimes against gay men in this book were a timely read for me. I’m very disappointed to find out that my library doesn’t have the next two books in the series, so I have requested the third on interlibrary loan. Unfortunately, these take ages to arrive, so I will not get another Claire-and-Russ hit for quite some time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hallie

    As I pretty much finished this, slept, did the things I *had* to do (on a Saturday, with a bad headache and the ability to let myself off the hook for a lot of things I probably *should* have done) and launched straight into book 3, I'm both a bit fuzzy about what happened where and pretty clearly addicted to this series. But whether this is a healthy addiction that will do no harm at all, ever, to anyone, or whether it'll break my heart, ruin my family, bring shame and ... All right, enough hyp As I pretty much finished this, slept, did the things I *had* to do (on a Saturday, with a bad headache and the ability to let myself off the hook for a lot of things I probably *should* have done) and launched straight into book 3, I'm both a bit fuzzy about what happened where and pretty clearly addicted to this series. But whether this is a healthy addiction that will do no harm at all, ever, to anyone, or whether it'll break my heart, ruin my family, bring shame and ... All right, enough hyperbole! The mystery in this book wasn't that strong, so all the weight fell on the characters and setting, but for the most part, the mystery is a bit frosting anyway. I continue to love Clare and Russ, and am surprised at how much I'm loving a Forbidden Love story. So not my cup of tea normally, but their mutual care and their very different and also utterly the same senses of honour just makes it perfect. What made me almost weepy in this book was what happens when Clare does something she really shouldn't, and does it on a full tank of self-righteousness, which leads her to hurt Russ after making him angry. She's very unfair and acknowledges it freely, but Russ is able to move beyond the hurt and make an admission of his own, one he knows she won't like but that he can trust her to help him with, instead of rejecting him. That ending, too - no wonder I could barely resist grabbing the next book immediately. Also: Linda's not a pet person. What more needs to be said?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Trin

    Sequel to In the Bleak Midwinter. I loved the first three-fourths of this, though I think it kind of fell apart at the end. Among the good: meeting Russ’ wonderfully eccentric mom, Clare helping Russ confront his internalized homophobia (and his willingness to do so, which shows, despite his discomfort, what a good man he is), Clare interrupting her investigations to get drunk and flirty with a cute Brit—a sequence that, since it’s her, ends with her jumping out a second story window. It’s nice Sequel to In the Bleak Midwinter. I loved the first three-fourths of this, though I think it kind of fell apart at the end. Among the good: meeting Russ’ wonderfully eccentric mom, Clare helping Russ confront his internalized homophobia (and his willingness to do so, which shows, despite his discomfort, what a good man he is), Clare interrupting her investigations to get drunk and flirty with a cute Brit—a sequence that, since it’s her, ends with her jumping out a second story window. It’s nice, in a sophomore effort, to feel like you’re really getting comfortable with the characters, and this book also has a mystery that honestly did keep me anxiously on the edge of my seat. However, I felt everything that led up to getting Clare in the pilot’s seat of that helicopter seemed rather contrived. I understand why Spencer-Fleming wanted to go there, but I don’t think she quite made it work. And following on the helicopter sequence’s heels, the unraveling of the conspiracy at the end felt unsuspenseful and almost airless. In general, I just don’t think my enjoyment of this book could match my delight at the discovery of the first, but I’m still looking forward to the next one and seeing Russ and Clare’s relationship progress.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. *Sigh* I really wanted to like it but there's just so much about the book that's so unrealistic that it's hard to read. The entire incident with the helicopter was just insanity. The rector jumping out of a window and being concerned about her shoes (Which she can't afford to replace on a ministers salary) yet she can somehow manage to by a new sports car... plus this on going non-relationship with the police chief. Plus I'm super annoyed that we never actually get any interaction with the chief *Sigh* I really wanted to like it but there's just so much about the book that's so unrealistic that it's hard to read. The entire incident with the helicopter was just insanity. The rector jumping out of a window and being concerned about her shoes (Which she can't afford to replace on a ministers salary) yet she can somehow manage to by a new sports car... plus this on going non-relationship with the police chief. Plus I'm super annoyed that we never actually get any interaction with the chief's wife Linda. She's some random invisible person who conveniently is always gone buying curtains or something. Her husband is in a helicopter crash and she doesn't come and check on him or something?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa McShane

    I'm still very engaged with the whole relationship between Russ and Clare and how they deal with their mutual attraction. I'm also still amused/fascinated by Russ's wife Linda's non-appearance; it's impressive that she can exert such a control on the story simply by existing. Russ's mother amused me tremendously, mostly because of how different she is from her son, but also because she's as committed to her beliefs as Clare is. I'm definitely finding that the characters rather than the mysteries I'm still very engaged with the whole relationship between Russ and Clare and how they deal with their mutual attraction. I'm also still amused/fascinated by Russ's wife Linda's non-appearance; it's impressive that she can exert such a control on the story simply by existing. Russ's mother amused me tremendously, mostly because of how different she is from her son, but also because she's as committed to her beliefs as Clare is. I'm definitely finding that the characters rather than the mysteries are what are keeping me connected to the series. In this case, I figured out the true villain before Russ and Clare did, though not the surprise extra villain at the end, but that didn't bother me much because of the way the story ends up being more thriller than mystery. Spencer-Fleming has such a good handle on description and characterization that I find myself forgiving her any weaknesses in plot. I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens with Clare and her new boyfriend; she thinks it will help her get over these feelings for Russ, but I, as omniscient reader, know that she is kidding herself.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Karma♥Bites ^.~

    RE-READ (audio) 27 Jan 2020 (★★★½ rounded up) Lots of notes & thoughts this second time around. Hope to post something, even if not a full-out review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    MB (What she read)

    From one temperature extreme to the other! Wow, this book was good and kept up the same high standard for the sophomore book in the series. What I especially enjoy about Julia Spencer-Fleming is her characterization. Clare and Russ (and all the other bit part players) are 3-dimensional and real. I like and respect them, I care when they are in danger, I worry about their choices...I'm invested! As a constant reader always searching for new books, what really 'draws me in' is characterization as s From one temperature extreme to the other! Wow, this book was good and kept up the same high standard for the sophomore book in the series. What I especially enjoy about Julia Spencer-Fleming is her characterization. Clare and Russ (and all the other bit part players) are 3-dimensional and real. I like and respect them, I care when they are in danger, I worry about their choices...I'm invested! As a constant reader always searching for new books, what really 'draws me in' is characterization as strong and as vivid as in this series. I see by JS-F's Goodreads profile that she counts Lois McMaster-Bujold and Margaret Maron as favorites/influences--two of my favorite authors and both known for exceptional characterization themselves. That explains a lot as to why these are such good books, I think. I always like to see what authors count as influences and what they read themselves. Being able to recognize and be influenced by the best leads to producing more of the best, I think. Some of my best recommendations have come from seeing why my favorite authors recommend or have read themselves.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    The Big Bopper lyrics for Chantilly Lace keep going through my head when I think about my feelings for Fountain Filled with Blood. "You Know What I Like". There's something comforting about reading a series and spending time with characters that you get to know and love. And love I do Episcopalian Priest Clare Ferguson, Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne and the other inhabitants of Millers Kill, a fictitious town somewhere in the Adirondacks, NY. The mysteries are light, the killing doesn't gross me The Big Bopper lyrics for Chantilly Lace keep going through my head when I think about my feelings for Fountain Filled with Blood. "You Know What I Like". There's something comforting about reading a series and spending time with characters that you get to know and love. And love I do Episcopalian Priest Clare Ferguson, Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne and the other inhabitants of Millers Kill, a fictitious town somewhere in the Adirondacks, NY. The mysteries are light, the killing doesn't gross me out, a good read for a winter's day. The romantic tension between Clare and married Russ, tickles me. I've read only 3 in the series, one out of order and have enjoyed them all. I like the cliff hanger approach at the end of one to entice me to read the next. There are rumors that the seventh, One was a Soldier, may be the last. I'm usually in favor of ending series before they become stale but in this case I could go a few more. When will Goodreads allow that .5 star? 3.5 stars for this one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mike Finn

    I really enjoyed "In The Bleak Midwinter" and knew I'd found a good new series. Coming up with a second book in a series that had such a strong start has to be a challenge but Julia Spencer-Fleming manages it well. She continues to use two strong, likeable main characters, Clare the ex-army helicopter pilot turned Episcopalian Priest and Russ the Vietnam vet turned local Chief of Police, to power the story. She uses a regular pulse of humour makes to keep this a fun read and ups the cuteness fac I really enjoyed "In The Bleak Midwinter" and knew I'd found a good new series. Coming up with a second book in a series that had such a strong start has to be a challenge but Julia Spencer-Fleming manages it well. She continues to use two strong, likeable main characters, Clare the ex-army helicopter pilot turned Episcopalian Priest and Russ the Vietnam vet turned local Chief of Police, to power the story. She uses a regular pulse of humour makes to keep this a fun read and ups the cuteness factor by adding two Berneses Mountain dogs to the mix. Yet the book isn't a cosy mystery. Like its predecessor, it confronts tough social issues, in this case, violence against gay men, the pollution of the Adirondacks by PCBs and the tension between providing local jobs and destroying local land. The crimes in this book are darker and more brutal than in the first book, but despite the rather off-putting title (a quote from a William Cowper hymn about washing away sin), the violence is not gratuitous and mostly takes place off-stage. The we're-attracted-but-can't-let-ourselves-do-anything-about-it-except-feel-guilty-without-being-any-less-attracted relationship between Clare and Russ develops in a grown-up, slightly repressed but completely believable way that doesn't take over the plot but does deepen the characters. Russ's wife remains physically absent, even when the story has to be twisted a little to achieve it, which actually increases the strength of her presence as a source of guilt to both of the main characters. Russ' mother, a die-hard activist since the sixties, adds some spice to the story and rounds out Russ a bit. I admired the ingenuity used to keep the Clare plausibly involved in the action around the crimes. It worked, even when I could see it coming. The scene with the helicopter was exciting but required an extra-special effort at suspending disbelief and some fairly heavy-handed plot-work. On the whole though, this was a well put together mystery that kept me guessing most of the time. I'll be staying with this series and hoping that the quality stays high and the titles get better.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    In the second novel of the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series, the priest and the police chief must confront crimes of hate in their small idyllic Adirondack town. Homophobia has reared its ugly head, and Clare once again has her heart and head in involved in both discovering its source and bringing it to the attention of her Episcopalian church and the community. Russ, while equally appalled by these crimes, is more focused on catching the perpetrators of first two assaults and then a murd In the second novel of the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series, the priest and the police chief must confront crimes of hate in their small idyllic Adirondack town. Homophobia has reared its ugly head, and Clare once again has her heart and head in involved in both discovering its source and bringing it to the attention of her Episcopalian church and the community. Russ, while equally appalled by these crimes, is more focused on catching the perpetrators of first two assaults and then a murder than he is on educating the masses. Of course, Clare is quite capable of doing two impossible tasks at once. This book also continues the struggle that Clare and Russ have in resisting their attraction to one another, testing Clare's convictions and Russ's marriage vows. Clare meets Mrs. Van Alstyne in this story, but it is the mother of Russ, not his wife, and the two women hit it off, as might be expected. Julia Spencer-Fleming has quickly become one of my favorite mystery/crime authors. Her mastery at writing action scenes, and there are several, is electrifying. I found myself reading these scenes as fast as I could to keep up with the excitement of the moment contained within them. Just outstanding! Again, Spencer-Fleming's powers of description are hypnotic. You are in that setting; you are in that character. No time to linger on this review, as #3 in the series is waiting for me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    I stayed up waaaaay too late reading this one, even though I pretty much had the mystery all figured out. What kept me up so late at night was the continuing dynamic between Reverend Clare Fergusson and the married Chief of Police, Russ Van Alstyne. After spending the remaining winter and spring studiously avoiding each other, they are together again, determined to keep attraction at bay, and figure out who's behind a series of vicious hate crimes in small town Miller's Kill, NY. The mystery wasn I stayed up waaaaay too late reading this one, even though I pretty much had the mystery all figured out. What kept me up so late at night was the continuing dynamic between Reverend Clare Fergusson and the married Chief of Police, Russ Van Alstyne. After spending the remaining winter and spring studiously avoiding each other, they are together again, determined to keep attraction at bay, and figure out who's behind a series of vicious hate crimes in small town Miller's Kill, NY. The mystery wasn't a taut as the previous and more than a little messy in some parts, and the helicopter scene was just way over the top. But Spencer-Fleming maintains slow burn, tension and intensity of not only the investigation but between Clare and Russ. There's a scene that made me laugh out loud when Clare and Russ are bantering about the use of the a/c in his truck. It was pitch perfect to the same 'argument' Ed and I have about a/c in his car, too. That's what I love about these books. They are, indeed, "pitch perfect". The dialogue, characterization, motivations, scenery -- I can see, hear, feel and smell it all.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    I find these books JUST good enough to keep reading - nice, easy-to-read mysteries that draw me in enough to want to know who done it. The first one in the series was better, less predictable. I may read the third after I read a number of other books on my list. (not sure) My biggest problem with the book: the characters. First, I don't get the attraction between Russ and Clare. I don't feel it. I don't buy it. I'm TOLD it is there. Reminds me of high school English class when the teacher said, " I find these books JUST good enough to keep reading - nice, easy-to-read mysteries that draw me in enough to want to know who done it. The first one in the series was better, less predictable. I may read the third after I read a number of other books on my list. (not sure) My biggest problem with the book: the characters. First, I don't get the attraction between Russ and Clare. I don't feel it. I don't buy it. I'm TOLD it is there. Reminds me of high school English class when the teacher said, "show, not tell" in your writing. It seems forced, disingenuous. And the forbidden love aspect is over-the-top. He's the married chief of police in a small town. She's a priest. I'm surprised the author didn't name them Capulet and Montague. Secondly, Clare is so annoying. She constantly butts in where it's none of her business, tells the police how to do their job, puts herself in danger while conducting her own "investigations," etc. If she were a teenager, she might be a likable, spunky heroine, but she is in her mid-30s, should know better, and just comes off as annoying.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    I listened to this on my drive from Omaha to Denver and other than cringing at the brutality in the beginning, really enjoyed the story. I'm so pleased that our library now has this series on audio books. I'm currently a quarter of the way through the next in the series. This is such an enjoyable series. Thanks, Vanessa, for suggesting it. Also, thanks to my sister, Sharon. She also is a fan of the series. I listened to this on my drive from Omaha to Denver and other than cringing at the brutality in the beginning, really enjoyed the story. I'm so pleased that our library now has this series on audio books. I'm currently a quarter of the way through the next in the series. This is such an enjoyable series. Thanks, Vanessa, for suggesting it. Also, thanks to my sister, Sharon. She also is a fan of the series.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cill

    There certainly was plenty of blood in this book! But the heroine of it totally turned me off. She is an Episcopal preist who seemed to me to violate every tenet of her profession, getting into all sorts of scrapes necessitating her rescue by the chief of police who is trying to solve a number of brutal murders which she thinks are tied to gay-bashing in the community, and which she feels something should be done about, although the police chief thinks otherwise. In addition, she was a helicopte There certainly was plenty of blood in this book! But the heroine of it totally turned me off. She is an Episcopal preist who seemed to me to violate every tenet of her profession, getting into all sorts of scrapes necessitating her rescue by the chief of police who is trying to solve a number of brutal murders which she thinks are tied to gay-bashing in the community, and which she feels something should be done about, although the police chief thinks otherwise. In addition, she was a helicopter pilot in the first Gulf War and the adventures surrounding this circumstance, including a helicopter crash while trying to rescue another possible murder victim, seem totally improbable. In real life they would all have instantly been killed.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tory Wagner

    Another good outing with Police Chief Russel Van Alstyne and Episcopal priest Clare Fergusson who together solve another mystery. There are two story lines that intermingle: One concerning hate crimes against gay men and another involving the development of a spa on land that may be contaminated with PCB. There is a harrowing scene in which Clare flies a helicopter with Russ while trying to save the life of a injured geologist. Despite crashing the tampered helicopter, Clare with the help of Rus Another good outing with Police Chief Russel Van Alstyne and Episcopal priest Clare Fergusson who together solve another mystery. There are two story lines that intermingle: One concerning hate crimes against gay men and another involving the development of a spa on land that may be contaminated with PCB. There is a harrowing scene in which Clare flies a helicopter with Russ while trying to save the life of a injured geologist. Despite crashing the tampered helicopter, Clare with the help of Russ is able to successfully deliver the wounded man and they go on to solve the mystery.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    Alright. I'm done with this series. I can't stand claire. Her holier than thou, i know everything, I'm going to butt in where i don't belong because I'm so awesome schtick wore me out. And russ allowing her to do police work and falling for this irritating woman, while he's married....ugh. And she's apparently the best detective he has because she's the only one who can figure out the obvious puppet master. Nope. Done. Alright. I'm done with this series. I can't stand claire. Her holier than thou, i know everything, I'm going to butt in where i don't belong because I'm so awesome schtick wore me out. And russ allowing her to do police work and falling for this irritating woman, while he's married....ugh. And she's apparently the best detective he has because she's the only one who can figure out the obvious puppet master. Nope. Done.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I ended up skimming through what was clearly meant to be the most dramatic part of the book because I couldn't help rolling my eyes at the whole scenario. Found myself incredulously repeating "really??" quite a few times inside my head while reading, which is not a good sign. The author totally jumped the shark with the whole helicopter bit. I ended up skimming through what was clearly meant to be the most dramatic part of the book because I couldn't help rolling my eyes at the whole scenario. Found myself incredulously repeating "really??" quite a few times inside my head while reading, which is not a good sign. The author totally jumped the shark with the whole helicopter bit.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Nickolan

    Great story that follows the initial introduction of Clare and Russ. This did not disappoint with the story line The story starts quickly and keeps going as a page turner until the very end. I like the ending that breaks the mold that good triumphs and bad loses. Not all the time, and not all the way. Looking forward to the next installment of the series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Penny Watson

    4.5 stars, rounded up The mystery is great, but as a romance-lover, my favorite part is the sexual tension between the chief-of-police and the reverend. Yowzah!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Mysteries are ok, but I hate the flirty/walking the line of an extramarital affair storyline. Stopping the series here.

  25. 5 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

  26. 5 out of 5

    Vickie

    This book is SO GOOD! To the point that if I dug on organized religion and that this church was real and Rev Clare Fergusson was a real person , I'd become Episcopalian and go to her church. Rev. Clare rocks! She is former military helicopter pilot who heard the call to the priesthood. She is empathetic and smart and stubborn. I like her a lot. There is a lot going on but it all makes sense and is told in a fast-turn-the-page-so-I-can-find-out-what's-going-on kind of way. 80% of this book was re This book is SO GOOD! To the point that if I dug on organized religion and that this church was real and Rev Clare Fergusson was a real person , I'd become Episcopalian and go to her church. Rev. Clare rocks! She is former military helicopter pilot who heard the call to the priesthood. She is empathetic and smart and stubborn. I like her a lot. There is a lot going on but it all makes sense and is told in a fast-turn-the-page-so-I-can-find-out-what's-going-on kind of way. 80% of this book was read in several hours of blissful uninterrupted reading time. Especially intriguing was the cast of suspects. I thought I knew what was going on and I totally did not, but everything made sense. Mixed in with the investigation and action is Clare moving on with her life and her calling. She is human and has human foibles. She admits to them. She is working on them. I can absolutely recommend this book, series and author. Well done Julia Spencer-Fleming!!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Maskus

    I have enjoyed this series since the beginning, but this book lacked the panache of the earlier books. The author spent too much time describing each thought and action, that when an event happened, the reader had lost track of the event. I love the characters, but even the characters showed flatness and dullness. The book fell into such blandness, that not a scene remains in my memory. This could possibly be the demise of Max Tudor as future reading for me.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    So I already knew going into this one that I was going to be frustrated because of the lack of progress with Clare and Russ (I may have looked ahead at book summaries ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), but I wasn't quite prepared for how much because whew! It's just that while I was ready for the same type of intimacy to be there and the continued presence of his wife to be the barrier, I wasn't expecting it to really be addressed, even obliquely, between them. And it's not as though it didn't work, I just felt... sti So I already knew going into this one that I was going to be frustrated because of the lack of progress with Clare and Russ (I may have looked ahead at book summaries ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), but I wasn't quite prepared for how much because whew! It's just that while I was ready for the same type of intimacy to be there and the continued presence of his wife to be the barrier, I wasn't expecting it to really be addressed, even obliquely, between them. And it's not as though it didn't work, I just felt... stifled? Idk, I'm talking circles. Also I had more trouble keeping track of the ancillary characters in this one and (view spoiler)[ I knew as soon as Peggy met them on the trail that she was the person actually up to no good (hide spoiler)] . All that said, I'm very much into this series and seeing where it goes next. 3.5 strong stars (hence the round up).

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I liked this book as much as I liked the first book in this series! Ms. Spencer-Fleming sure tells a good story. I look forward to working my way through this series. I would NOT characterize this series as a "cozy". I liked this book as much as I liked the first book in this series! Ms. Spencer-Fleming sure tells a good story. I look forward to working my way through this series. I would NOT characterize this series as a "cozy".

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    3.5⭐️ Better than book one, it still overly descriptive during the climax of the story. I skipped 8 pages and it’s didn’t affect the story one bit. Weird that the police chief is married yet she hasn’t made an appearance other than she’s referred to quite a bit.

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