Friday, February 26, 2016

In The Bleak Midwinter by Julia Spencer-Fleming (thoughts)

Summary from Goodreads:

"Heavy Snow...Icy Desires...Cold-Blooded Murder

Clare Fergusson, St. Alban's new priest, fits like a square peg in the conservative Episcopal parish at Millers Kill, New York. She is not just a "lady," she's a tough ex-Army chopper pilot, and nobody's fool. Then a newborn infant left at the church door brings her together with the town's police chief, Russ Van Alstyne, who's also ex-Army and a cynical good shepherd for the stray sheep of his hometown. Their search for the baby's mother quickly leads them into the secrets that shadow Millers Kill like the ever-present Adirondacks. What they discover is a world of trouble, an attraction to each other—and murder..."

My Thoughts:

When I was coming up with my January reading pile I decided to pick a few books off of my shelf that would fit January's snowy weather.  Turns out that this was a great decision on my part as both books fit perfectly in with this time of year!  Reading this book made me wish for more snow on the ground though and I'm hoping for a winter storm sometime soon!  I am so glad that I decided to give this series a try (thanks in large part to fellow blogger Kay who recommended it) and didn't let it languish on my shelves.  This book had everything that I enjoy in a good mystery:  great main characters, a whodunit that kept me constantly guessing, and a snowy setting that just added to the atmosphere of the story.  Okay, maybe I don't always need a snowy setting but it sure did make this book stand out for me.  There is one scene in particular where the author makes the snow and cold feel so dark and foreboding....I loved it so much!  I especially appreciated with this book how easily I fell into the story.  It felt like these characters were old friends and it made my reading experience all the more enjoyable because of it.

In this book police chief Russ Van Alstyne is searching for the parents of an abandoned baby.  Before long though the young mother is found dead and Russ is on the hunt for a killer.  He gets involved with Clare Fergusson in the course of the investigation and the two of them strike up an easy friendship.  I have to say that I just enjoyed both of these two characters so much!  The author does an amazing job of really fleshing out both of their characters and I felt an instant connection to both of them.  That being said (and possible spoiler warning here- don't read on if you haven't read this book!) why, why, why does Russ have to be married?  I hate love triangles in books and I definitely can't get behind infidelity.  Please tell me that this is all resolved very soon or it will make me crazy!  I can handle the two of them sticking to just being friends or Russ leaving his wife (asap) but I hope it doesn't get drawn out.  End rant and possible spoiler section.  The mystery portion of this book was very well done and I didn't figure out the killer until the very end.  I loved how the author had me constantly guessing.  And I really, really loved how the author was able to create such tension and chilling moments throughout the book.  I read this one in a matter of days and was itching for the second book as soon as I finished.  This is a series that I definitely will be continuing on with!

Overall this was a really great beginning to this mystery series and a series that I am very excited about!  I loved the characters so much and am really eager to see what happens next in book two.  This was one of those books that keeps you guessing until the very end and that is really all that I can ask.  I would recommend this one to mystery and thriller fans.  Just be warned that you might be wishing you had book two in your hands and ready to go.  I sure was!  Recommended!

Bottom Line:  A really great beginning to this mystery series!  I need more!

Disclosure:  I purchased a copy of this book from my local used bookstore.  A great choice on my part!    


  1. I read this series and am up to "One Was A Soldier" now. I'm glad you enjoyed it and you should continue with it if you can. I like the realistic portrayal of this strong woman and the relationships of the small town folks. Good choice!

  2. Terrific review! It sounds like a very suspenseful book. Enjoy your weekend, Sam.

  3. Glad you enjoyed this one! I haven't kept up with this series unfortunately and only read two but maybe one of these days I'll get back to it.

  4. This sounds like a great one! One thing I hate about series is waiting for a new installment to be released, haha. That said, I'll be checking out this series!

  5. So glad you like this one, Sam! I love this series, but I am behind on it. Rita is further along. Now as to your concern about Claire and Russ, well, I'm not telling, but do remember what her profession is. ;-)

  6. I've had a copy of this on my shelves for years. I really need to read it. I am glad you enjoyed it!

  7. I have been meaning to give this a try. Glad you liked it!


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