Thursday, April 2, 2020

ARC Review: Hid from Our Eyes by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Hid from Our Eyes
Author: Julia Spencer-Fleming
Series: Fergusson/Van Alstyne Mysteries (Book 9)
Publication:  Minotaur Books (April 7, 2020)

Description: New York Times bestseller Julia Spencer-Fleming returns to her beloved Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series with new crimes that span decades in Hid from Our Eyes.

1952. Millers Kill Police Chief Harry McNeil is called to a crime scene where a woman in a party dress has been murdered with no obvious cause of death.

1972. Millers Kill Police Chief Jack Liddle is called to a murder scene of a woman that's very similar to one he worked as a trooper in the 50s. The only difference is this time, they have a suspect. Young Vietnam War veteran Russ van Alstyne found the body while riding his motorcycle and is quickly pegged as the prime focus of the investigation.

Present-day. Millers Kill Police Chief Russ van Alstyne gets a 911 call that a young woman has been found dead in a party dress, the same MO as the crime he was accused of in the 70s. The pressure is on for Russ to solve the murder before he's removed from the case.

Russ will enlist the help of his police squad and Reverend Clare Fergusson, who is already juggling the tasks of being a new mother to her and Russ's baby and running St. Alban's Church, to finally solve these crimes.

Readers have waited years for this newest book and Julia Spencer-Fleming delivers with the exquisite skill and craftsmanship that have made her such a success.

My Thoughts: In this newest addition to the Clare Ferguson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series, Clare and Russ are dealing with lots of new stresses. They are trying to fit in being parents to an infant around two very demanding and more-than-full-time jobs.

The town Aldermen want to shut down the local police force and get policing from the State Patrol. And a body of young woman is found on an isolated road which echoes an eerily similar crime from 1972 where Russ was a person of interest. That case was eerily similar to a case in 1952. In each case, an unidentified young woman was found dead with no apparent cause of death.

An unsolved case isn't going to help Russ convince to town to keep its police force. So his mother and a strong supporter of Clare's church who are both savvy politicians begin a campaign to save the local force requiring Russ to smooze with anyone who will let him talk. Clare's new intern is a transgender woman who has ties to the rich, summer people who live in the camps that the town police watch over and volunteers her mother to help with the campaign.

Adding to the stress on the police force is that the newest officer - Hadley Knox - has a vindictive ex who is suing her, former officer Kevin Flynn, the police force, and the town for endangering his reputation and planting meth in his suitcase. Unfortunately the accusation is true. Flynn did plant the drugs hoping to get the ex off Hadley's case and protect her and her children. Flynn had moved on to the Syracuse police force after a break-up with Hadley and is currently undercover looking for extremists. He is with the carnival that comes to the fair each year and was occurring when each of the murders took place.

Meanwhile, Clare is dealing with stress which isn't good for a recovering alcoholic and pain pill user and has a lot of temptation to deal with. A fussy baby and Russ's stresses all weigh heavily on her.

I liked that the story rotated between the cases in 1952, 1972, and the present day. I liked the connections in that a young patrol officer was present in 1952, was the police chief in 1972 and a mentor to Russ, and is there in the present case to add his insights. I liked that the cops in all three cases were dedicated to solving the crimes and protecting the people.

This is a great series and I look forward to more - especially since there is something of a cliffhanger ending to this one.

Favorite Quote:
Clare paused on the doorstep. "You look great. Very sophisticated and handsome."

"I don't look like me," he said."I look like some guy named Brett who sails on Lake George and who has apps on his phone." Russ didn't trust apps on his phone.
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.


  1. This looks really good and the murders happening every few decades is interesting.

  2. I have not read this series, but am definitely intrigued.


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