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TO DARKNESS AND TO DEATH by Julia Spencer-Fleming Kirkus Star


by Julia Spencer-Fleming

Pub Date: July 7th, 2005
ISBN: 0-312-33485-0
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur

Quite a departure for Episcopalian priest Clare Ferguson and the man who loves her, police chief Russ Van Alstyne (Out of the Deep I Cry, 2004, etc.): a Rube Goldberg plot that crams all manner of secrets and crimes into the most hectic 21 hours in Millers Kill’s history.

Foreign-based behemoth Global Wood Products has arranged with the Adirondack Conservancy Corporation to purchase Haudenosaunee, the van der Hoeven’s family’s spread inside the Adirondack State Forest, and turn most of it over to the Conservancy’s care while retaining an option to repurchase tracts it wants to log. GWP gets a tax break and ACC the chance to return much of the land to its natural state, but local logger Ed Castle and paper manufacturer Shaun Reid are headed for extinction. This explosive situation is touched off by the disappearance of Millicent van der Hoeven, who’s visiting her reclusive brother Eugene to sign the transfer documents. But Millie’s kidnapping is only the beginning of a fantastically intricate plot. Before midnight, there’ll be a murderous assault, three accidental deaths, two accidental rescues, half a dozen impromptu criminal schemes and acts of heroism by intersecting citizens who had no idea what they were in for when the sun rose, and a long-awaited meeting between Clare and Linda Van Alstyne, Russ’s wife.

The results show that God has both endless compassion for mortal screw-ups—and a terrific sense of humor.