Thursday, September 12, 2019

Book Review: To Darkness and to Death by Julia Spencer-Fleming

To Darkness and To Death
Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming
Series: Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries (Book 4)
Publication: St. Martin's Paperbacks; 1st Printing edition (May 30, 2006)

Description: Millicent van der Hoeven has decided to sell her family's Adirondack estate to a nature conservancy. But on the day of the land transfer, her brother frantically calls the police. Millie has disappeared in the cold November forest…

Reverend Clare Fergusson gets an early morning phone call to join the Millers Kill search and rescue operation. As a former Army helicopter pilot trained in survival skills, she can't refuse the request—even though it's the day of the bishop's annual visit. Worse for Clare, the search operation will link her up with Russ Van Alstyne, the very married local police chief who is her greatest temptation. Now, as Clare and Russ race time to find Millie van der Hoeven, they soon discover the secrets of someone who is desperate to stop the sale...and a deadly madness waiting to destroy them all.

My Thoughts: All of the events in this story center around the consequences of the van der Hoeven  family deciding to sell their land to a nature conservancy. The man who owns the lumbering equipment used there very reluctantly decides to sell up and retire. Randy Schoop, one of his crew, is especially upset since lumbering is what lets him stay in his home town with his wife who is the sister of one of Russ's officer's wives. Then there is the owner of a local paper company that is also in danger of failing because there won't be the nearby source of pulp wood for their paper. So many characters are desperate for solutions and doing stupid things because of their desperation.

Clare's introduction to the problem comes with a phone call from search and rescue. Millie van der Hoeven has been reported missing by her brother. She should be preparing for the annual visit by the Bishop which is happening the next day, but she is quick to lend her assistance to the searchers. Also called in to the search is Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne. He and Clare are still fighting their attraction to each other. His wife is a major barrier for both of them.

Before Millie can be found, another young woman is found by her father's lumbering equipment  severely beaten. Randy lost his temper with her when she wouldn't support his desire to keep lumbering using her father's equipment. Now Randy is on the run and being assisted by his wife Lisa. Lisa decides it will blur the trail if she accuses the paper company owner of having an affair with the woman.

This story was tense and twisty. I couldn't put it down. I'm so wondering if Russ and Clare will ever find a way to be together. I can see nothing but trouble in their futures.

Favorite Quote:
She tucked her feet under her and smiled. "I didn't get a chance to say this before, but happy birthday."

He looked embarrassed.

"So you're fifty now."

He leaned forward, put his face in his hands, and groaned.

"That's really, really old."

He gave her a stony look. "Brat."

She laughed. "Then don't be in such a funk about it. As my grandmother used to say getting old isn't so bad when you consider the alternative."
I bought this one March 27, 2009. You can buy your copy here.

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