Pub Date: April 2010
Publisher: Minotaur (Macmillan)
Length: 348 pages
FTC: Purchased myself
Yes, I'm very late to the Clare Fergusson series. I read In the Bleak Midwinter three years ago, but hadn't picked up any other book in the series. When the Reading Slump That Will Not Die grabbed ahold of me this last year, I decided it was time to bring back mysteries to my reading and the blog. So naturally, I thought of this series and purchased book 2.
I'm a very secular person. I don't attend church. Any church. Ever. And I tend to intensely dislike even the hint of infidelity in my reading. Which is what makes it so improbable that I'd like this series so much, but I really, really do.
Clare Fergusson is an Episcopal priest living in rural New York. A retired army helicopter pilot, she's attracted the danger of Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne's work. She's also reluctantly attracted to the man behind the title...the very married man. To complicate things further, he is reluctantly attracted to her as well. It's there. They're aware of it. But so far (this is book 2, after all) are doing their damnedest to avoid acting on it while trying to stay friends. Because they do click on a personal level that neither one wants to give up.
The mystery here is about the assaults and murders of gay men in the town of Millers Kill. It's difficult to read, and I think Spencer-Fleming does a credible job of showing the wide range of reactions people have about homosexuality, especially in small, conservative towns. I was able to guess pretty early whodunnit, but it's definitely one of the more realistically messy murder mysteries I've read recently.
Clare has a few moments where she forgoes common sense, but the author did a better job of convincing me of her motivations this time around. I can't think of anything that rang as out of character, and I enjoyed seeing Clare get in on the action where she was the one with the expertise.
This was published a little under 5 years ago, and it's amazing how much the landscape has changed in terms of gay marriage and acceptance in that short time frame. Because of that, some of the obstacles presented here are thankfully outdated. I am definitely forging ahead with this series.
My Grade: B+
It‘s summertime in in the Adirondack town of Millers Kill, and temperatures are running high. Local activists are up in arms over a resort being built at the site of an old toxic waste dump. A series of violent homophobic assaults have left several men hospitalized. And Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne and Episcopal priest Clare Fergusson are discovering that it’s impossible to ignore the heat. When the resort developer, a gay man, is found brutally murdered, Clare and Russ will have to face up to their own past demons–and their present temptations–to sweat out the truth behind the killing.