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I Shall Not Want (Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries) Hardcover – June 10, 2008


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Product Details

  • Series: Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries (Book 6)
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; First Edition edition (June 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312334877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312334871
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 6.3 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #970,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Anthony-winner Spencer-Fleming's solid sixth mystery to feature Clare Fergusson, an Episcopal priest, and Russ Van Alstyne, her police chief admirer, Clare and Russ are still trying to recover from the death of Russ's wife, Linda, in All Mortal Flesh (2006). Clare and Russ do their best to steer clear of each other in the small town of Millers Kill, N.Y., but when a van carrying Mexican migrant workers en route to jobs at local farms is ambushed, the pair find themselves caught up in an investigation of drug smuggling and gang turf wars. After a number of Latino corpses turn up, Clare and Russ begin to question whether trouble followed the migrant workers or if it's the work of someone closer to home. While the plot takes some implausible turns, Clare and Russ's complex romantic dance is as compelling as ever. The cliffhanger ending will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment in this notable regional series. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* A suspected serial killer in the town of Millers Kill in Upstate New York takes a backseat to the simmering relationship between Police Chief Russ Van Alstyne and Episcopal priest Clare Fergusson in the sixth entry in this tantalizing series. Emotions are raw between the two in the aftermath of a lethal hostage situation and the death of Russ’ wife, Linda, in All Mortal Flesh (2006), so they seek diversion (including Clare’s joining the National Guard) and try to avoid each other. But the priest, feisty almost to the point of being foolhardy, is always in the thick of things, as when bodies of Latino men start turning up. Spencer-Fleming poses the issue of immigration, showing how the hiring of undocumented migrant workers impacts the Van Alstyne family; and she introduces an appealing new character, single mother Hadley Knox, granddaughter of the Episcopal church sexton, who joins the police force and captivates fellow officer Kevin Flynn. Action rachets up in a deadly shoot-out with drug-dealing Latino gangbangers, and just when resolution seems within reach, there’s a final twist. Keenly moving and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, this is a tour de force in a series that seems to have jumped several levels in quality. --Michele Leber

More About the Author

Bestselling author JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING is the winner of the Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, Dilys, Barry, Nero Wolfe, and Gumshoe Awards, and an Edgar and Romantic Times RC Award finalist. She was born at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, spending most of her childhood on the move as an army brat. She studied acting and history at Ithaca College, and received her J.D. from the University of Maine School of Law. She lives in a 190-year-old farmhouse outside of Portland, Maine, with three children, two dogs, and one husband. Visit her on the Web at www.juliaspencerfleming.com

Customer Reviews

Great mysteries; great characters; great setting.
Mystery Fan
Julia Spencer-Fleming's sixth installment in the Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne mystery series is a return to top form.
Carolyn Bright
As soon as I read the first book, I couldn't wait to start on the next one.
Paula S. Haines

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 34 people found the following review helpful By K. M. VINE VOICE on June 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Julia Spencer-Fleming has never disappointed me. Six Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mysteries have passed from her agile, witty and plot-rich mind into our eager, hooked ones; and I wouldn't have missed a single one for the world.

Of course, Spencer-Fleming stranded her inimitable Episcopalian rector and police chief in a devastating quandary at the end of book five, ALL MORTAL FLESH. Although I saw various ways to continue their story, I wondered whether the tragic twist was too much for love to overcome.

So, I waited on pins and needles for this newest offering, I SHALL NOT WANT. In it, Spencer-Fleming lays out with confidence the aftermath, the repercussions, of the previous book's tragedy. Guilt. Withdrawal. Frustration. These haunt our protagonists. But since they both continue to live in Millers Kill, unpracticed face-to-face moments can't be avoided. How do Russ and Clare cope? Can the love settled in them when they first met, the love that would not fall away during other testings, revive and strengthen now? These are the vital questions...and they are fearlessly answered.

I SHALL NOT WANT begins with a bang as the reader follows rookie female officer Hadley Knox and the rest of the Millers Kill police force as they desperately attempt to bring a hostage standoff to a bloodless end...but cannot. Then, the story rolls back about six months to trace the causes of and players in that fatal shootout. These include an accident with an overturned van from which injured undocumented foreign agricultural workers flee, a series of execution-style murders, an identity switch, an influx of big city gang members, millions of dollars in illegal pot, and a family of redneck farmers.

But back to Hadley Knox for a second.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Bright on June 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Julia Spencer-Fleming's sixth installment in the Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne mystery series is a return to top form. If you haven't read this series, now is an excellent time to start with book #1, "In the Bleak Midwinter", which introduces Clare Fergusson, the new Episcopal priest to her small town upstate New York church and the inhabitants of Miller's Kill. Russ Van Alstyne is the police chief of Miller's Kill Police Department. Living in a marriage gone dry, Clare is an irresistible attraction to Russ and that attraction is very much mutual.

I Shall Not want opens with a bang that will leave you wondering who lives and who dies in this story and will make you remember that JSF once said that this was a six-book story arc. Just when your adrenaline hits "high", there's a flashback where we join Clare and Russ to find them estranged from each other after the tragic occurrences in "All Mortal Flesh", the fifth book in the series. Russ is living with his mother and Clare has joined the NY National Guard. Soon enough, the two are riding together in Russ' truck, working on the murder of an unidentified Hispanic man and dealing with their deep mutual attraction. When a migrant worker that Clare has sheltered at the church goes missing, she and Russ have all the excuse they need to spend as much time together as possible. It's a mystery story, but it's a whole lot more - action, romance and a focus on small-town life with recurring characters and their families. With topical themes like urban drug runners in small town America, illegal migrant workers, and the Iraq War, there's a lot here to keep you turning the page as you discover (or do you?) how the relationship between Clare and Russ turns out.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on June 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
When I read the first book in Julia Spencer-Fleming's series--"In the Bleak Midwinter"--I was overwhelmed by how quickly she created two interesting and multi-dimensional characters about whom I immediately cared. Clare Ferguson and Russ Van Alstyne continue to to be the focus of this wonderful installment: "I Shall Not Want." Their relationship is realistic and complicated, full of angst but also full of the joy of learning to love another human being. The mystery plot in this book does take a back seat to the more interesting mystery of how these two are ever going to settle into their complicated lives together. As previous reviewers have suggested, start with the first book and watch how Spencer-Fleming makes us love these characters.

Another good sign in this book is her introduction of new characters in the town of Miller's Kill. The community is becoming a little more fleshed out and less like a stereotype of the small town. Spencer-Fleming also continues to experiment with structure. Each book is a little different--different points of view, plot structure, etc.

It looked like Spencer-Fleming had painted herself into a corner with the last book, but she has deftly managed the crisis "All Mortal Flesh" left us with. Now, however, much more is at stake. The ending of this novel will delight her fans but once again leave them anticipating the next novel with some trepidation.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Lesa Holstine on June 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Fans of Julia Spencer-Fleming's Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne mystery series have been waiting to see what happened after the traumatic events in All Mortal Flesh. She takes us back to Millers Kill, New York in her latest book, I Shall Not Want, where the Episcopal priest and town police chief are still facing the repercussions of past events.

The new book captures the reader immediately, not with a scene that immediately involves her main characters, but with a scene in which a rookie cop is under fire. When the opening chapter erupts into gunfire, Spencer-Fleming leaves the reader hanging, and switches back to tell the story that leads up to the shoot-out.

As usual, Clare Fergusson innocently gets involved in events that lead to tragedy. When she offers to partner with a nun in assisting the year-round Hispanic workforce who are farmhands on the Washington County dairy farms, she has no idea there will be shootings, dead bodies, attacks in the church, and local confrontations with drug dealers. She and Russ still fight over her "good works," but she now has the outlet of her National Guard duty to get her out of town. And, when Russ confronts his sister and mother over their purchase of a dairy farm, he has no idea his family will be caught up in lies and cover-ups.

Once again, Spencer-Fleming embroils her two characters in events out of the headlines; drugs, problems with nonresident aliens, National Guard service during wartime. And, of course, they still face the problem of their attraction for each other. It's a powerful combination for what she calls a novel "of faith and murder for readers of literary suspense.
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