Customer Reviews for

In the Bleak Midwinter (Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Series #1)

Average Rating 4
( 213 )
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5 Star

(89)

4 Star

(78)

3 Star

(20)

2 Star

(17)

1 Star

(9)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

56 out of 57 people found this review helpful.

One of the best mystery/thrillers I've read

I absolutely loved this book. For the longest time I have been a fan of fantasy/paranormal fiction and now you can't throw a rock w/o hitting one. The whole genre has become,for the most part, boring and over played. So I started reading mysteries. This book is original...
I absolutely loved this book. For the longest time I have been a fan of fantasy/paranormal fiction and now you can't throw a rock w/o hitting one. The whole genre has become,for the most part, boring and over played. So I started reading mysteries. This book is original. You don't pick it up and think this is just like this or just like that. I love how realistic the story line is and even the romance in the book is just enough to entice but not over done. After I read this book I ordered every single book in the rest of the series and if they're even half as good as this one I won't be disappointed. The only fault I can think of is on the B&N website they don't list the order of the series which can make it kind of confusing if you're wanting to read them in order...
Here it is if you're wondering.
* In the Bleak Midwinter
* A Fountain Filled With Blood
* Out of the Deep I Cry
* To Darkness and To Death
* All Mortal Flesh
* I Shall Not Want

Read this book/series. I promise you its worth your time.

posted by Nat-the-Cat on April 30, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Good ... with potential

This is my first Spencer-Fleming mystery. My primary complaint is that "Father" Claire does too many things that are just silly, as a priest and as an amateur sleuth. I can't imagine a priest confronting as many of the church members/potential protagonists as she did --...
This is my first Spencer-Fleming mystery. My primary complaint is that "Father" Claire does too many things that are just silly, as a priest and as an amateur sleuth. I can't imagine a priest confronting as many of the church members/potential protagonists as she did -- otherwise, the idea of Claire as former chopper pilot and priest is a good one. Given the survival training she had as pilot, her inability to find the right footwear or clothing is a little silly. I do like her, and I like Russ if the author can rise above the expected and push this to the next level, it has the potential to be a series I'll look forward to reading.

posted by NorthShore on February 19, 2011

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  • Posted April 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    One of the best mystery/thrillers I've read

    I absolutely loved this book. For the longest time I have been a fan of fantasy/paranormal fiction and now you can't throw a rock w/o hitting one. The whole genre has become,for the most part, boring and over played. So I started reading mysteries. This book is original. You don't pick it up and think this is just like this or just like that. I love how realistic the story line is and even the romance in the book is just enough to entice but not over done. After I read this book I ordered every single book in the rest of the series and if they're even half as good as this one I won't be disappointed. The only fault I can think of is on the B&N website they don't list the order of the series which can make it kind of confusing if you're wanting to read them in order...
    Here it is if you're wondering.
    * In the Bleak Midwinter
    * A Fountain Filled With Blood
    * Out of the Deep I Cry
    * To Darkness and To Death
    * All Mortal Flesh
    * I Shall Not Want

    Read this book/series. I promise you its worth your time.

    56 out of 57 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 9, 2011

    Watch out - this series is addictive!

    Reading is my passion and I especially appreciate a book that sweeps me off my feet and into the story. Each and every volume in Julia Spencer-Fleming's Clare Fergusson series did that and more. Clare, the lead female character, is a former helicopter pilot turned Episcopalian priest. (Yes, you read right!) She is deeply committed to her vocation, but she is unlike any minister you may have ever met in fiction or real life. Russ, the lead male character and chief of police, finds that Clare has a way of inserting herself into police business that drives him crazy in more ways than one. Clare, Russ, and all the supporting characters are very well developed, believable, and grow so much through the series. In fact, the author had me feeling as if I lived in the town and knew everyone as a neighbor or friend-- or perhaps a threat. Spencer-Fleming has managed to take romance, suspense, drama, humor, and mystery and serve them up in one tasty dish that keeps you wanting more. I've read a lot of trilogies. However, I rarely feel as enthusiastic about book #3 as I did about book #1. Usually when they're over, I'm ready for them to be over. That's why Spencer-Fleming amazed me! I read all seven books-- one after the other-- and now that I'm done I can't wait to see what happens next. That's unheard of for me. If there were seven more books in the series I'd download them on my Nook this minute. I highly recommend this book and the entire series to anyone who wants to make a deep connection with characters without tiring of them. You will not be disappointed. Ms. Spencer-Fleming: thank you for many hours of absolute enjoyment and escapism with lessons learned along the way. You are a gifted writer and story-teller!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I must confess...

    This book came highly recommended to me, and although I was very skeptical at first- I absolutely loved this book! The synopsis left much to be desired for me, but I was pleasantly surprised by the plot and ending. I was completely put off by the idea of a female priest and thought this may end up being one of those religious works disguised as a mystery to bring me the word of God. Not the case at all! (thank goodness) what I got was an intelligent heroine and an intriguing mystery with some underlying tones of lust. Awesome book!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2002

    Excellent!

    I was very impressed by this first offering from Julia Spencer-Fleming! Two interesting characters, a cop and an Episcopal priest, and a page-turner of a plot, made for an almost perfect mystery. I am curious to see what she will do with the relationship between the two characters, as one is married! I look forward to many more in this series.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2012

    This was a good read!

    Stick with it very humourous in between suspense. Good tension between priest and sheriff. I thought this would make a good television seties or a lifetime movie or a tnt mystery movie. I will be purchasing the next book.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 19, 2011

    Good ... with potential

    This is my first Spencer-Fleming mystery. My primary complaint is that "Father" Claire does too many things that are just silly, as a priest and as an amateur sleuth. I can't imagine a priest confronting as many of the church members/potential protagonists as she did -- otherwise, the idea of Claire as former chopper pilot and priest is a good one. Given the survival training she had as pilot, her inability to find the right footwear or clothing is a little silly. I do like her, and I like Russ if the author can rise above the expected and push this to the next level, it has the potential to be a series I'll look forward to reading.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    Good Book

    I was torn between giving this 4 or 5 stars. I liked the characters though they got a little hot and heavy on pretty short acquaintance considering one is a priest. Liked the writing. Good action scene. I thought it moved a little too slowly in the middle.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2012

    One hell of a ride

    Julia Spencer Fleming has created one of the most fun filled reads that I have experienced in ages!!! Her creations of the characters in the town of Millers Kill will keep you riveted to their trials and tribulations for many hours---Keep writing Julia

    Skip Hughes --- Grand Junction

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    Love this new series

    Very good mystery, well written, well developed characters. Look forward to #2.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    Entertaining

    This book was better than I expected. It is a fast read with a good mystery and interesting characters. Parts were a bit predictable but that is forgivable. I will likely read more in this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    I really liked everything about this mystery! The writing flowed, the characters were unique, the ending was a surprise. I really liked that it was not primarily about romance and sex, but then, I'm an elderly reader. Believe it or not, soppy romance and explicit sex become tiresome after 70 years or so. I will look forward to coming books from this author. I did especially like that the main character was a strong, intelligent woman.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    Great read

    Main characters were refreshingly realistic and fun. Can't wait to continue with the rest of the books.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2014

    Disappointed by the book general theme of the lady vicar

    It is an unlikely combo and unrealistic and we had lady vicars with unusual former professions and several that only stayed a year . this was not the first in series i read and by this one the grafic violence increased started to scan the others and gave up became too unpleasant constant angst with everyone lady vicars are often catholic girls who wanted to be priests and she does not seem to be anglo catholic enough to keeo to the sacraments which would keep her busy all day

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  • Posted March 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This was the first book that I've read from this author and wasn

    This was the first book that I've read from this author and wasn't particularly excited about the book.  I do plan to at least read the next
    book in the series to see if it jumps out at me more.  

    I actually listened to the audio book version, and was not too pleased with the narrator, Suzanne Torren.  I felt that there were way too
    many characters for just one narrator.  I also found it difficult to differentiate between the different characters, especially if two women
     or two men were talking at the same time, because the male voice was always the same, as was with the female voice, with a few
    exceptions.  

    I did enjoy the main characters, Russ and Claire.  They were very likable and easy to follow.  I am interested to see how this
    relationship will develop throughout the series.  

    As for the plot of the story, where do I begin?  I was <b>NOT</b>
    able to predict the ending until it happened, which is a great thing,
    however, I thought that it was long and drawn out.  I felt like it took a really long time to get to the heart of the book.  Once you got to
     that point, the story was great, but if it would have been much longer, I would have given up on the book.  The fact that the story
    became as good as it did about halfway through the book is the reason that I would like to proceed with the series.  Even though it
    took a long time to get to the main whodunit, I have high hopes for the next book to move along a little quicker!

    Overall, I didn't hate this book but I didn't love it.  I look forward to seeing if A Fountain of Blood takes the series up a notch! 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2012

    A great start to a new mystery series!

    I very much enjoyed this: it is well written, has interesting characters (a female priest does the detecting!), a believable plot and a possibly burgeoning romance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2012

    Decent read

    Was an interesting read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    Bumbleflight

    He stared at the tom. You killed Jayflight.... you killed my mate!!! He chased after Rabidsnarl and tackled him. He was filled with rage and he tore him apart. You killed you sister! My mate! He kept tearing at him. He eventually riped his throat out.
    Bumbleflight

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2012

    Leafsong

    Leafsong- o.o did not see that coming...

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book!

    I really like this book. Didn't know if I would. But once I started reading it could not put it down. This is the first in her sereis and the books just keep gettting better and better. I would recommend this book to everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    Highly recommended

    I really enjoyed this book. Clare, army person turned pastor, was very interesting and fun. An interesting relationship develops between the town police chief and Clare. The author kept me guessing until the end as to the murderer. I plan to read book #2 now.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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