Through the Evil Days

Police chief Russ van Alstyne and minister Clare Fergusson return in Through the Evil Days, the eighth installment of Julia Spencer-Fleming's series set in the fictional town of Millers Kill, N.Y.

Newly married, with an unplanned baby on the way, van Alstyne and Fergusson are headed to a secluded cabin for a belated honeymoon. The setting is sufficiently foreshadowing to know mayhem will ensue, but Spencer-Fleming adds a horrific ice storm to the mix, knocking out most lines of communication. Meanwhile, without its chief, the Millers Kill police department is racing to locate a young liver transplant recipient who's been kidnapped. In Millers Kill, situations are rarely run of the mill, so the stakes are high, suspense is intense and momentum swift.

Series devotees are unlikely to be returning to Millers Kill just for the suspense and momentum, however. As the characters have evolved, they've developed intricate, rich relationships, making their day-to-day interactions as riveting as a kidnapping in the midst of an ice storm. The two protagonists may be the marquee names, but Spencer-Fleming has created an entire town for readers to become involved with. Those starting with Through the Evil Days will be able to grasp the plot but are likely to miss the significance of these complex relationships. For longtime fans, the book lives up to the standard set by previous novels, resulting in a welcome, albeit dangerous, trip back to Millers Kill. --Jen Forbus of Jen's Book Thoughts

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