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 (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries #5)

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  2,427 ratings  ·  270 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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Mar 07, 2009 Red rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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...more
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
Melissa Proffitt
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
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'...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...more
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.
Oh gosh. These books. I CAN'T HANDLE THIS.

(view spoiler)...more
Karen Syed
Mar 10, 2008 Karen Syed rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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...more
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
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
Wow! You will not see it coming in this latest mystery/thriller by Julia Spencer-Fleming. If, as a reader of this series, you think Clare Fergusson's and Russ Van Alstyne's relationship is complicated before this book, you haven't seen anything yet. I don't really want to comment on any of the action or plot in this novel, as every reader deserves to uncover it all piece by delicious piece. Suffice it to say that by the end, I, along with the characters, was wrung out and in need of serious reco...more
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
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
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...more
Married Chief of Police, Russ Van Alstyne and Episcopal priest, Clare Fergusson, have become the subject of local gossip in their small town of Miller's Kill, New York. Even though their physical relationship is innocent, they've become even more emotionally attached to one another. Russ has been kicked out of the house by his wife, Linda, and is staying with his mother.

Clare is returning from a week long retreat recommended by the church where she has been advised to give up her friendship wit...more
This has probably been my favorite in this series so far...and yet might very well be the last I read.

This book starts with Russ and Linda separated after he reveals to her his feelings for Clare. Then, Linda winds up brutally murdered (I have to admit I rolled my eyes at what an easy out this provides), and it all gets worse from there. Russ becomes the main suspect, and even Clare gets her turn under the microscope. It's brutal and frustrating and tense and disheartening all at once. You want...more
Margaret McCamant
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.
Catherine Woodman
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
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
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.
I haven't read a book in this series for a while, and though I still liked this one, I didn't like it as much as the previous ones. Unlike most people, my favorite thing isn't for characters who are attracted to one another to get together. Sometimes it makes perfect sense, and other times, it just seems to dilute the premise.

Anyway, as this installment begins, Rev. Clare Fergusson is finishing up a personal retreat in a cabin in the woods loaned to her by one of her parishoners. A representativ...more
Jules Goud
What a roller coaster. I personally think that this is the best one yet.

Emotions were running high in this one. Secrets that were hidden for years are exposed and more then one heart gets broken.

Totally. Was. Not. Ready. For the twists. Omigod, did Spencer-Fleming do a fabulous job with this one!

The biggest thing about this one is Russ and Clare's relationship. It gets hashed up and is tested in this one where Russ's wife is found dead. They have been fighting the physical part of the relations...more
Well done and a cracking good read. Exciting ending with the author maintaining suspense to the last pages.
What a roller coaster! I loved the mystery and the fact that Russ was in hot water this time (Clare as well!) and thought it was action packed from the start. I can't believe that ending but I for one am glad to see Clare moving on or trying to. Don't get me wrong, I want her and Russ to get together but the timing is a bit of an issue right now! Russ annoyed me a bit too... I can understand having a hard time wanting to leave his wife of 25 years. What I don't understand is that he says he's in...more
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.
I read the sequel before this one, but it is OK! The unlikely relationship (platonic?) between a female Episcopal priest, ex-Army helicopter pilot, and a small Northern NY town sheriff, creates incredible tension leading up to this volume. The residents of the small, Essex County town are extremely recognizable, as is life in the rural, almost backwoods where winters are harsh. Aspects of the Anglican communion add some insightful grounding for the characters and their stories.

The characters are...more
After confessing that he has fallen in love with another woman, Millers Kill police chief Russ Van Alstyne has been asked by his wife Linda to leave the marital household while they decide if their marriage can be saved. So when Linda is brutally murdered, Russ, a man with Army and police training and no alibi, is the obvious suspect. Rev. Clare Fergusson, returning from a retreat in which she has been struggling with her attraction to the chief, finds tongues wagging and fingers pointing at her...more
P.J. Coldren
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The Narthex: Discussion 1 5 Apr 11, 2012 12:19AM  
  • Southern Discomfort (Deborah Knott Mysteries, #2)
  • Desert Wives (A Lena Jones Mystery #2)
  • Water Like a Stone (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James, #11)
  • A Trick of the Light (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #7)
  • Blanche Among the Talented Tenth (Blanche White #2)
  • A Bucket of Ashes (Gilded Age Mystery, #6)
  • Though Not Dead (Kate Shugak, #18)
  • 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...
In the Bleak Midwinter (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #1) I Shall Not Want (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #6) One Was a Soldier (Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries, #7) 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)

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