What will I do now? I’m finished with all seven in Julia Spencer-Fleming’s mystery series with Rev. Clare and Chief Russ – and it’s not over yet…
The sixth in the series – I Shall Not Want – has another adventure solving crime case with the unlikely duo of Rev. Clare Ferguson, Episcopal woman priest and weekend warrior Army helicopter pilot, and police Chief Russ Van Alstyne, her true love. This time the action involves illegal immigrants on the Chief’s sister’s dairy farm, a drug cartel, and money laundering. Add to that, the requisite murders, chases after the criminals, shootings with near-death of the good guys – and it’s another exciting time in the New York upstate town of Millers Kill.
Spencer-Fleming heats up the romance; this book has the sexiest scenes so far – not just with Clare and Russ; another romance is brewing on the force with a new policewoman on the beat. The scene in the smoke from the barn burning with marijuana is probably the funniest so far, but watch out for the tear-jerker at the end.
The last book – published in 2011 – One Was a Soldier – has the contemporary theme of soldiers returning from war. Clare, with four other local townspeople, meet in a veterans’ support group: a medical doctor who’s having trouble focusing, a track star who’s lost his legs, a woman juggling the love of a combat affair with returning to her husband, and a police officer who cannot control his temper. Rev. Clare has been hitting the liquor and the pain pills to ease the pain, as she tries to assimilate back into civilization – like her fellow soldiers. Of course, the action involves murder and the ongoing relationship between Clare and Russ. Spencer-Fleming resolves most of the post-war trauma, leaving a few strings dangling and with another surprise at the end.
Because I was new to this author, I read through all the books without waiting – like getting all the TV episodes of a popular series at once: no wait to relieve the anxiety from the cliffhangers. I hope Julia Spencer-Fleming writes the next installment soon – but not too soon – I could use some sleep from staying up all night to find out what happens.