Author: Julie Spencer-Fleming
Format: audio, 11 discs, 12 hours, 320 page equivalent
Narrator: Suzanne Toren
Subject: gay bashing, murder, environmental impact from developments
Setting: Upstate New York
Genre: mystery-police procedural + amateur sleuth
Source: Public library Inter-library loan
In this second of the series, Spencer-Fleming gives us another great thriller. I really enjoy the combo of the amatuer sleuth, Clare Ferguson, priest of the local Episcopal Church (and oh, by the way, retired Army helo pilot) and the professional crime fighter, police chief Russ Van Arsdale (oh,by the way, retired Army MP).
The story begins with the vicious attack on the town's Medical Examiner, who just happens to be gay, and shifts quickly to a demonstration against a resort development on the site of some alleged PCBs. Here we meet Russ's mother, a real pistol of an active elder, who gets herself thrown in jail by her son for demonstrating without a permit.
There is more murder and mayhem, and an incredible helo scene (we KNEW sooner or later Clare was going to fly again!). So no spoilers, but this plot was gut churning, and there were enough suspects to keep three police forces busy. I don't do spoilers, so we'll leave the story line there.
The issue of gays and same sex marriage is treated with delicacy and compassion, but in the end, I couldn't quite figure out if the issue of gay bashing was a red-herring to hide the real reason for the crimes.
I do have very mixed feelings about the blossoming romantic relationship between the two main characters however. We have yet to meet Russ' wife--she's always off working on her curtain business, and Spencer-Fleming has the two protagonists playing with fire. I can't wait til book #3 to see if sparks ignite.
Challenges: Support Your Local library 2/50 , Thrillers and Suspense 2/12 , Audio Books 2/20.