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All Mortal Flesh: A Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery
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All Mortal Flesh: A Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery (The Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries #5)

4.17  ·  Rating Details ·  3,888 Ratings  ·  358 Reviews
Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne's first encounter with Clare Fergusson was in an emergency room on a freezing December night. A newborn had been left on the steps of the town's Episcopal church, where Clare just happened to be the new priest. That night in the hospital was the beginning of an attraction so fierce, so forbidden, that both Russ and Clare risked compromising al ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 4th 2008 by Minotaur Books (first published September 30th 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mar 07, 2009 Red rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Romantic Mystery fans
Arrrrgh. This book really frustrated me. I've been on a roll with this series this week, reading 4 of the books in the series. (Fun things to do while home, sick.) I was so angry last night when I finished reading this one, I wasn't going to read the latest book. For the first time, the entire story-line was dark. The only scene that showed Clare & Russ in their familiar relationship was told in flashback during one of the bleakest parts of the story.

I didn't like how this one ended. REALLY
Mar 21, 2014 Hallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is going to be one of the odder reviews, of a lifetime of frequent odd reactions to books. It'll be safe to read until I start using ALL the spoilers.

The reason it's odd is that I'm only giving it a 4 star rating as a consequence of having also read the next book in the series - if I'd rated it after finishing, or anytime during the not-great night's sleep that followed, I would have rated a lot lower. I was angry. Not just irritated that the story had taken a twist I didn't like, or annoye
Melissa McShane
I think it's clear at this point in the series that the mystery is always going to come second to the always-nearly-doomed relationship between Clare and Russ. Russ and the Miller's Kill PD miss a lot of things that should have been obvious (view spoiler) but I don't care, because this book is simply brutal in the way it tears our favorite protagonists i ...more
Jan 14, 2014 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The opening pages of All Mortal Flesh, the fifth in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mysteries, finds Rev Clare on retreat. If I were her adviser this is exactly what I would have suggested after reading the prior book in the series. If you've been following my reviews you'll recall that though there's a part of me that craves the tension between the characters there's another part of me that just wants to say grow up. There's definitely a lot of vacillating this outing about this very issue ...more
Mar 18, 2011 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got a kick out of this crime novel. Clare is an ex-helicopter military pilot now an Episcopal priest when she falls in love with Sheriff Russ. It's cold winter with lots of snow falling and on the ground. There's a murder--Russ's wife who previously booted him out of the house when she discovered his romance with Clare. Russ and Clare are likeable protagonists. I liked the pace and explosive climax.
Aug 31, 2009 Abby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Oh god. Train wreck has happened. Oh God. How is Spencer-Fleming going to get out of this one? Can she? Please oh please oh please it could go so wrong so many ways. Please let there be some hope for Clare and Russ.


I read this in one day. Couldn't put it down. Again, some of the plotting stretches the imagination, but the tension between Clare and Russ, the vivid community of Millers Kill, and the excellent tension-breaking humor that JSF pens makes it all worthwhile.

(Tanget: Why on god'
Liz Dean
Sep 23, 2011 Liz Dean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holy hell. What a trainwreck, soap opera, tragedy, melodrama. The fact is, once you get attached to characters in serial fiction, an author has to be brutal to them to allow them to grow and change - and to keep the story going. Julia Spencer-Fleming delivers.
(2.5 of 5 stars)

Hope you like whiplash, because you'll be feeling a lot of it in this one! I don't even know where to start with describing this one, other than that it's pretty clear that we have now officially slid from "okaaaay... semi-plausible, I guess I'll roll with it" to "total soap opera" territory.

(view spoiler)
Wayne Zurl
ALL MORTAL FLESH by Julia Spencer-Fleming

There was a lot to like about this book, but I found more than few things unrealistic and just another part of the template publishers demand, pandering to readers who don’t care much about authenticity in police procedurals.

I like both Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne, the joint protagonists in the series. Clare is less flawed and more likable, but Russ is a competent cop and both do their thing in an area I know well.

In the last episode, Russ decla
Jun 29, 2011 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Police Chief Russ Val Alstyne and Episcopal Priest Clare Ferguson return. Russ, having recently been thrown out of his house by his wife because of his relationship with Clare, is residing at his mother’s house when he is called in on a report that his wife has been found murdered in their kitchen. Clare finds out when she returns from a retreat to clear her mind. She also finds her supervisors have sent her a woman to ‘help’ her even though she requested nobody. This woman’s role is unstated su ...more
Julia Spencer-Fleming's ALL MORTAL FLESH is the fifth book in her Fergusson/Van Alstyne series. My personal opinion is that you need to read books 1-4 before starting this story.

Russ and his wife have separated; they have had few things in common for years and it has caused their marriage to suffer. Ms. Fleming permits the reader little reaction to this incident because Mrs. Van Alstyne is seldom mentioned or seen in any of the stories. Much of what happens with their relationship is Russ dwell
Sep 07, 2016 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh gosh. These books. I CAN'T HANDLE THIS.

(view spoiler)
Karen Syed
Mar 10, 2008 Karen Syed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who can read!
Recommended to Karen by: the wonderful author!
Shelves: favorites
There are any number of flashy words I could pull from my thesaurus to describe this latest book in the Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series, and yet none are adequate. From the opening chapter, Julia Spencer-Fleming delves into the lives of her characters and takes the reader deep inside the story.

This story is by far the most personal for Clare and Russ as they struggle to overcome the everyday problems of dealing with tragedy. Caught in their own web of emotional trauma, the murder
Lynn Pribus
Jun 19, 2015 Lynn Pribus rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I had read at least one previous book in this series and was seduced by high ratings. There were several books in between and I was thinking that the sexual attraction between the female Epis. priest and the upstate NY town police chief would have faded. But no. It's now front and center and evidently acted upon.

Seemed hard to believe she would still be in her pulpit and that, after the murder of his wife, they would be interacting constantly when the whole town seems to know about their affair.
Dec 08, 2013 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to write a review on this one without giving anything away. I enjoyed it; it was good. If you're not reading the series, and you like mysteries, you should read it, but start with #1 (which was the weakest book, in my opinion, but you need to get to know the characters so the rest of the books make sense). My standard for an excellent mystery is always PD James, so I very rarely give 5 stars on a mystery. Louis Penny and Deborah Crombie are my other two current favorites. I still think ...more
May 15, 2008 Qiana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite mystery series (and perhaps my favorite). It's hard to describe without giving away too much for those who haven't read the other books. (And if you haven't all I can say is DO SO NOW!). The mystery was intricate and I didn't know who did what until we are facing the bad guy. The betrayals, the sense of duty, the love, the general sense of exasperation felt by the character made this book some hard to read and more often, hard to put down. Normally, I wait for the pape ...more
Jul 10, 2008 Kit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, despite the fact that (a) I normally don't like mysteries and (b) I normally don't like angst. I immediately bought the most recent book, I Shall Not Want, so that I can find out what happened next. I could say it's because of the great writing and the great characters and the fact that the small-town setting is believable and not an Insert Colorful Small-Town Characters Here cop-out, but that doesn't begin to encompass the I must have more now experience that I get from this ...more
Catherine Woodman
Sep 16, 2013 Catherine Woodman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like this series--it has sensible protagonists, and it is well written. In this one Clare and Russ decide that their relationship needs to end. Next thing you know, a body that appears to be Russ' wife is found on their kitchen floor and both of them are suspects. Russ gets relieved of his cop job, and the whole mess is escalating upward, until it turns out that all is not as they had thought. Good installment in a good series
Margaret McCamant
Aug 11, 2013 Margaret McCamant rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I've read in this series, out of order, sadly (this is #5; the first I read was #6). I should go back and start at the beginning. I'm coming to know and like these characters: their inability to forgive themselves makes them very human. I keep hearing in my head the priest's line from a penitential prayer in the New Zealand Prayer Book: "God forgives you. Forgive others; forgive yourself." Much easier to hear than to heed.
Feb 20, 2013 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook, mystery
I love Spencer-Fleming's mysteries for their rich emotional and spiritual elements as well as the detecting. The evolving relationship between Russ and Clare, their struggles in dealing with their attachment, felt particularly raw and genuine in this volume. Though I recommend the whole series, this is a case in which it's far better to start from the beginning than jump into the middle of things.
Lisa Greer
Mar 25, 2009 Lisa Greer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not even kidding. This is THE best mystery I've read in six months. Wow. I can't wait to get my hands on the next one in the series. I started near the end, and maybe when I'm done, I'll work BACK through all of them. There are lots of twists and turns in this along with some pretty deep stuff. Spencer-Fleming's writing is also lyrical and her plotting is tight.
Nov 05, 2016 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This one had it all: murder, infidelity, mistaken identity, betrayal, and torture, to name a few! This series has not failed in entertaining and this particular book surprised me multiple times and the epilogue left me wanting to the next book immediately.
Sonia Cristina
Jul 06, 2016 Sonia Cristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-books, 2016
4.5 estrelas

Dos melhores, até agora.
Adorei a forma como a ação começa de uma maneira e se desenvolve de tal maneira que termina por um caminho que no início ninguém adivinha.
Jan 12, 2014 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well done and a cracking good read. Exciting ending with the author maintaining suspense to the last pages.
Nov 22, 2008 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-reads
Another gripping read! And a zinger of an ending. I may have to break down and buy the hardcover of the next one because I don't think I want to wait for the paperback to be published.
Jul 13, 2014 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Achy. So fucking achy.
Nov 05, 2016 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 20, 2017 Pat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Would you believe, I knew there was a 6th book, so I knew the series would continue. The suspense of not knowing what was going to happen in this one was quite significant !
Excellent story, interesting characters. Very twisty and turning. Very very good!
Robert Lariviere
Oct 22, 2016 Robert Lariviere rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good story in an excellent series.
Joyce Lagow
Apr 20, 2010 Joyce Lagow rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
5th in the Reverend Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series.[return][return]In a way, Spencer-Fleming s series is much more like an ongoing, high-class soap opera than a mystery genre series, since in the latest books, the plots depend heavily on what has happened previously. Russ has told his wife that he is in love with Clare; it s been an emotionally tough few months for both Russ and Clare, particularly as Clare has made the decision not to see Russ again voluntarily. Miller s Kill being the ...more
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The Narthex: Discussion 1 7 Apr 11, 2012 12:19AM  
  • To Dwell in Darkness (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #16)
  • Precious Blood (Gregor Demarkian, #2)
  • Breakup (Kate Shugak, #7)
  • Southern Discomfort (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #2)
  • A Rule Against Murder (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #4)
  • Why Mermaids Sing (Sebastian St. Cyr, #3)
Wednesday, September 7

Work-In-Progress Wednesday at my Reader Space. We're up to the fifth part of the second chapter of my eighth book, which has some numerological meaning, I'm sure.
More about Julia Spencer-Fleming...

Other Books in the Series

The Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries (9 books)
  • In the Bleak Midwinter (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #1)
  • A Fountain Filled with Blood (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #2)
  • Out of the Deep I Cry (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #3)
  • To Darkness and to Death (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #4)
  • I Shall Not Want (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #6)
  • One Was a Soldier (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #7)
  • Through the Evil Days (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #8)
  • Hid from Our Eyes (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #9)

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“You know it’s a bad sign when the theme song from Titanic describes your relationship.” 17 likes
“She wondered what it said about her spiritual fitness that her clearest messages from the Almighty seemed to come from the alternative rock station.” 3 likes
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