Book Talk Tuesday: Hid From Our Eyes

It’s been a long time since we visited with Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne in Millers Kill, New York.

But the wait is worth it!

HidFromOurEyesHid From Our Eyes has three time lines with characters appearing in both the present and past. Spencer-Fleming handles this plot device well and I wasn’t confused about where (or when) we were.

The three time frames have a death in common: a young woman, clothed in a new “party” dress, without a purse, identification, or shoes and no visible wounds or way to tell how she died, or how to identify her. Of course, medical science has come a long way and the present day crime scene and body yields more answers than those in the past.


And Russ just happened to be a suspect in one of those past murders.

As usual with this series, the murder-solving is only part of the story. Clare and Russ are new parents, adjusting to their baby. Clare is fretting that her drug and alcohol abuse before she knew she was pregnant may have impacted the child. There’s a referendum coming before the township that may put Russ out of a job. Hadley Knox’s ex is bringing a lawsuit against the town, claiming that former officer (and Hadley’s former on-again/off-again boyfriend/lover), Kevin Flynn, planted drugs that got the ex arrested. Flynn left Millers Kill to take a job with the Syracuse PD and he’s working undercover in Millers Kill.

So there’s plenty in this story to keep you turning the pages.

The solution is neat and makes sense, even if you don’t see it coming. Hid From Our Eyes is an excellent mystery in the “Fair Play” tradition of Margaret Maron and Louise Penny.

I hated waiting over six years for it (and hope I don’t have to wait another six years for the next installment), but I loved the story. I highly recommend it! Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a little longer. I got an advance copy. The book won’t be available until April. 😦

I received a free Advanced Reader Copy of this book via NetGalley. It did not induce me to review it either negatively or positively.

Book Talk Tuesday: Through the Evil Days

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.