Friday, February 16, 2007

To Darkness And To Death

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Sometimes, a mystery can have too many twists to it, and I think this is one of them. This is the second book in Julia Spencer Fleming's series featuring Episcopal Priest Clare Fergusson.

It was reminiscent of those old movie farces, where someone comes in one door, just as the person he is seeking goes out another. This sort of thing happens over and over in this book, but without the humor.

A woman has disappeared on her own property, and a search team is looking for her.
Clare has been called upon to join the search party because of her former career as an Army helicopter pilot, trained in survival skills.

During the search, various people are in and out of the place she is being held and then, again when she is moved to another place. Also, another woman is beaten up, and since she bears a strong resemblance to the missing woman, everyone thinks they have found her. Wrong.

The missing womanm Millie, has a crazy brother who hardly ever goes out of the house, although he is going to have to vacate the place, because Millie has sold the estate to a nature conservancy.

In the middle of the search, the Priest and the very married local police chief find time to gaze longingly into each others' eyes. This flirtation started in the previous book, and heated up a bit in this one. As the saying goes, it's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. And, although they never get around to putting out the fire, they do find the time to play a little kissy-face at one point. And, the man's not even unhappily married. Quite the opposite, if he is to be believed.

It's just wrong. But, I digress.

Anyway, when I read her previous book, I didn't realize that Ms. Fleming seems to suffer from the same weakness as John Grisham in his early books. She doesn't seem to know how to end a book. It's all well and good to leave the reader with the suspicion that a sequel is forthcoming. We already know it's one of a series. It's another thing altogether to make an obvious cliff-hanger out of it that forces you to read the next one.

So, I'll read the next one. What else can I do? I'm much too curious to skip it.


claude said...

I have to add Julia Spencer Fleming to my list. I love reading murder mysteries and always looking for new writers. Thanks for the review

Kell said...

Hmmmm. I think I may skip this series. the obvious cliff-hangers get on my nerves some times.

Betty said...

Claude: She's a British writer, and a pretty good one, I think. you will probably enjoy her books.

Kell: The series' that have the same main character, and leave a few loose ends don't bother me, but, this one just seemed a bit heavy handed.

John said...

I hate these 'series' books. A couple of times I have grabbed a book at an airport, only to open it and discover that it's half way through a series. They should carry a large warning notice !

Melina said...

I read the first one and I thought I should just get out there...I'm not sure I could handle any more of that weird romance, it kind of creeped me out!

Annie said...

You have a lot more stick-to-it-iveness than me or some of your other commenters. If I don't like/appreciate a book mid-way through I just put it down and go on to another one.