I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Nestled in the heart of the Adirondacks, Miller's Kill, New York is about as safe as it gets. That's why Episcopal minister Clare Fergusson is shocked when the July Fourth weekend brings a rash of vicious assaults to the scenic town. Even Clare's good friend, police chief Russ Van Alstyne, is shaken by the brutality of the crimes-especially when it appears that the victims were chosen because they are gay. But when a third assault of an out-of-town developer ends in murder, Clare and Russ wonder if the recent crime wave is connected to the victim's controversial plan to open an upscale spa in Miller's Kill. But not all things in the tiny town are what they seem-and soon, Clare and Russ are left to fight their unspoken attraction to one another even as they uncover a labyrinthine conspiracy that threatens to turn deadly for them both...
I’m finding myself really riveted by this murder mystery series. I read the first one back in January (In the Bleak Midwinter) and then saved this one for July 4th (as it starts on that holiday). It was a great way to spend the day. Make no mistake, I may have started it in a leisurely fashion, but by halfway through I was determined to finish by day’s end. I needed to know whodunit.
I find myself really drawn into the whole relationship between the Rev. Clair and police chief Russ. They both know that it’s the wrong thing to do. Russ is married, supposedly happily, but the further I go in the series, the more I question this. Clair, as an Episcopalian priest, knows that she must live up to the standards of her church, but realizes that it’s not always an easy thing to do. This second book reveals that there’s a fair age discrepancy between them as well (15 years) that would stand in the way of some people.
It’s an uncomfortable situation to find themselves in, but they are both honourable people and they try to do the honourable thing. They are struggling to continue to be “friends” and yet can’t help sometimes saying things that inflame their situation. So there’s the whole “forbidden love” thing happening and that is a draw for me.
I’ve also recently been listening to a podcast about the gay community in Toronto in the 1970s and 80s, as well as the recently nabbed serial killer there, so murders and beatings of gay men have been on my mind. The prejudice of society and police forces against the LGBTQ+ segment of society makes the solving of these crimes much more difficult than it ought to be, and I would hope that we could learn from past mistakes. So the crimes against gay men in this book were a timely read for me.
I’m very disappointed to find out that my library doesn’t have the next two books in the series, so I have requested the third on interlibrary loan. Unfortunately, these take ages to arrive, so I will not get another Claire-and-Russ hit for quite some time.