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

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  4,480 Ratings  ·  384 Reviews
One horrible murder. Two people destined for love or tragedy. Emotions explode in the novel Julia Spencer-Fleming's readers have been clamoring for.
Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne's first encounter with Clare Fergusson was in the hospital emergency room on a freezing December night. A newborn infant had been abandoned on the town's Episcopal church steps. If Russ had known
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by Minotaur Books (first published September 30th 2006)
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Rating details
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Feb 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Melissa McShane
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Wayne Zurl
Aug 10, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Mar 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
(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)
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
Lynn Pribus
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
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.
Aug 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this one; the entire story revolved around the two major characters, instead of the scattered story of the previous episode. Ups and downs as usual for the Clare & Russ relationship, and a teaser ending promising dramatic twists to come. I’m tearing through these books ;).
Christine (AR)
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Oh gosh. These books. I CAN'T HANDLE THIS.

(view spoiler)
Karen Syed
Mar 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
May 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was the best book in the series so far. Well done.
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Well done and a cracking good read. Exciting ending with the author maintaining suspense to the last pages.
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Achy. So fucking achy.
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The Narthex: Discussion 1 8 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 (The 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)
“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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