Julia Spencer-Fleming’s tag line says it all: Novels of faith and murder for readers of literary suspense.
Through the Evil Days lives up to that description.
It may seem odd to build a murder mystery series around a female Episcopal priest, but Spencer-Fleming is a gifted storyteller whose characters are fully realized and could be real people.
When we left newlyweds Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne at the end of One Was a Soldier, they had just discovered Clare was pregnant. After they’d agreed to no kids.
Through the Evil Days picks up a few months later. Clare is now five and a half months along. She’s clean and sober. Russ is also clean and sober but he’s not nearly as accepting of the idea of a child interrupting his planned life as Clare is.
Russ and Clare are finally heading to their delayed honeymoon. Both struggle to get out of town and find out at the last minute, their jobs could be in jeopardy. Clare because conception occurred before the wedding, Russ because the town council is considering dissolving the police department and outsourcing law enforcement to the state troopers.
The whole state of New York is gripped by an ice storm for the record books. With Russ and Clare out of town trying to figure out their marriage, the rest of Millers Kill is fighting the weather and the PD is searching for a young kidnap victim who needs anti-rejection medications or she’ll die.
Since this is a Clare and Russ mystery series, they aren’t able to escape either the weather or the kidnappers.
Back in town, Hadley Knox and Kevin Flynn are also dealing with relationship issues. Hadley’s ex-husband is back in town and causing trouble. Just when Hadley and Kevin seem to have sorted out their relationship, life throws them another curve ball.
The ice storm in this book is a character all its own. It bucks and calms, drives the action, and generally makes a bad situation even worse.
I love all these books. The only thing I don’t like is that the last few books have ended with cliffhangers and Spencer-Fleming doesn’t write fast enough for me. I want to know what happened next and I want to know it now.