Thursday, October 17, 2019

Book Review: Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Through the Evil Days
Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming
Series: Fergusson/Van Alstyne Mysteries (Book 8)
Publication: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (November 4, 2014)

Description: In Through the Evil Days, New York Times bestselling author Julia Spencer-Fleming raises the stakes for Russ and Clare, putting their new marriage, their unborn child, a missing teen, and their very own lives on the line.

On a frigid January night, Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne and Reverend Clare Fergusson are called to the scene of a raging fire. The extent of the tragedy isn't known until the next day, when the charred remains of a man and woman are recovered―along with evidence showing they were shot execution style.

The last thing Russ needs are two potential homicides. He's struggling with the prospect of impending fatherhood, and his new wife is not at all happy with his proposal for their long-delayed honeymoon: a week ice-fishing at a remote Adirondack lake.

St. Alban's Church is still in turmoil over the Reverend Clare Fergusson's news that she's five and a half months pregnant―but only two and a half months married. Worried her post-deployment drinking and drug use may have damaged the baby, she awaits the outcome of the bishop's investigation into her "unpriestly" behavior: a scolding, censure, or permanent suspension.

Officer Hadley Knox is having a miserable January as well. Her on-again, off-again lover, Kevin Flynn, has seven days to weigh an offer from the Syracuse Police Department that might take him half a state away. And her ex-husband's in town―threatening to take custody of their kids unless Hadley pays him off with money she doesn't have.

When Hadley discovers that the dead couple fostered an eight-year-old girl who was a recent liver donee, the search for the killer takes on a new and terrible urgency. With no access to immunosuppressant drugs, transplant rejection will kill the girl in a matter of days.

As a deadly ice storm downs power lines and immobilizes roads, Russ and Clare search desperately for the truth about the missing child, but the hunters will become the hunted when they are trapped in the cabin beside the frozen lake and stalked through the snowbound woods by a killer.

My Thoughts: Russ and Clare are set to go on their honeymoon - in January, at a remote rural cabin with no electricity or running water - to go ice fishing. They are also carting along a lot of "baggage." Russ has just learned that the town council will be making a decision in a week about whether or not to disband the police department and contract services from the State Highway Patrol. Clare has been given an ultimatum by her bishop. He wants her to resign for "unpriestly" behavior. She is also dealing with the fact that she was still using drugs and alcohol when she became pregnant and the baby could be facing significant issues. Even worse, she and Russ had agreed to not have children before she found herself pregnant and Russ isn't dealing at all well with it.

Throw in arson, two executed people in the house before it was burnt, and a missing eight-year-old girl who has just had a kidney transplant and needs her immuno-suppresant drugs or she will die and the story gets filled with drama and tension. Mikayla's mother has lost custody of her because of her drug use. When the police go to search for her, they find that she is gathering pharmaceuticals used in making crystal meth. She flees before they can find out if she has Mikayla.

Meanwhile, the storm of the century bringing snow, ice, falling trees, downed power lines, and collapsed cell towers is bearing down on the region. And Russ and Clare attract the attention of bad guys who send them fleeing from their shelter in the height of the storm.

While Clare and Russ are dealing with their issues, Kevin Flynn and Hadley Knox are also dealing with theirs. Hadley's ex-husband has shown up demanding money, threatening to take her children back to California, and threatening to expose her secrets. And Flynn is still dealing with his love for Hadley and also a job offer in Syracuse.

This was a fast-paced and tension-filled story. Many characters are faced with difficult decisions and police work has to go on while they are troubled. The ending leaves a number of plot threads dangling and I can't wait for the next book to tie them off.

Favorite Quote:
"I don't think one broken leg in ten years as chief actually sets a precedent," Russ said.

"Still, we're glad you came." Clare wanted to get the subject away from "officer down,"before they started showing each other their bullet scars. "I'd expect a trooper, not a lieutenant."

"Oh, Mrs. Van Alstyne. I wouldn't have missed this for the world." 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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