Fans of Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Clare Fergusson/Russ van Alstyne mysteries will be delighted to learn the Episcopalian priest and her police chief husband are back in Hid From Our Eyes.
In this ninth installment of the New York Times bestselling and award-winning series, Spencer-Fleming takes a long view of the dark side of human nature via characters who investigate three unsolved murders that span decades and haunt the lives of the residents of Millers Kill, a small town in upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains. Each murder victim was a pretty young woman clad in a pricey party dress, found in the middle of the road with no indications of who or what caused her death.
In the present day, Russ van Alstyne is the police chief tasked with solving the latest murder; in 1972, he found a victim’s body during a motorcycle ride and became a person of interest in the ultimately unresolved case. It’s fascinating to move among the various time periods, meeting Russ when he was an angry just-returned-home Vietnam veteran and then again when he’s a calm and driven policeman. Spencer-Fleming tracks the frustrations of the law enforcement and medical professionals stymied by a lack of clues, witnesses, technology or some combination thereof. Flashbacks and flash-forwards are understandably tricky, especially among multiple eras, but Spencer-Fleming handles them with skill and ease, using secrets and revelations alike to ramp up the suspense and create a chain of investigation and mentorship among the police chiefs of each successive generation.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Julia Spencer-Fleming on exploring questions of faith and mentorship.
She also writes with compassion for those who struggle, whether with PTSD, financial strain or, like Clare, finding a satisfying balance between nervous new motherhood and a demanding job (while maintaining sobriety and pitching in as a dogged amateur sleuth, to boot). Hid From Our Eyes lets readers spend time inside the marriage of two beloved characters and follow along as they race against time to solve a confounding murder case that is threatening Millers Kill’s sense of unity and safety. The author also explores PTSD among returning veterans, small-town politics, class conflict, gender identity, religion and more in this multifaceted exploration of community and crime in a small town.
Hid From Our Eyes is an exciting return to a beloved series, as well as an intriguing entry point for readers new to the world of Russ, Clare and Millers Kill.