Synopses & Reviews
One horrible murder. Two people destined for love or tragedy. Emotions explode in Millers Kill, where nothing is as it seems . . . and betrayal twists old friendships and evil waits inside quaint farmhouses.
Russ Van Alstyne figures his wife kicking him out of their house is nobodys business but his own. Until a neighbor pays a friendly visit to Linda Van Alstyne and finds the womans body, gruesomely butchered, on the kitchen floor. To the state police, its an open-and-shut case of a disaffected husband silencing his wife and putting a stop to the murder investigation he controls. To the townspeople, its proof that the whispered gossip about the police chief and the priest was true. To the powers-that-be in the church hierarchy, its a chance to control their wayward cleric once and for all. Russ and Clare must struggle against the reach of the law, the authority of the church, and their own guilty hearts.
“Easily the best yet in what was already an amazing series. . . . Subtle, intense, tough, tender, intelligent—a definite must-read and an automatic book of the year.”—Lee Child
“In a story as unpredictable as its characters, the resolution takes this series in a direction that should give the good bishop heart palpitations.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Intricately plotted and packs plenty of unexpected surprises . . . and a gutsy ending.”—The Boston Globe
“Her most captivating yet . . . Fans, once they start reading, will hang Do Not Disturb signs on their doors.”—Publishers Weekly
“The compelling characters bring to life this riveting installment thats quite possibly the best in the series.”—RT Book Reviews
About the Author
Julia Spencer-Fleming is an Agatha, Anthony, Barry, Dilys, Gumshoe, Nero Wolfe and Macavity award winner. Her books have been shortlisted for the Edgar and RT Readers Choice awards. Julia lives in Maine with her husband and three children.
Reading Group Guide
All Mortal Flesh
Reading Group Guide
1. Imagine ALL MORTAL FLESH as the basis for a screenplay. Choose a scene and discuss how you, as the director, would want to film it.
2. Her relationship with Russ aside, is Clare as skilled at resolving her own inner conflicts as she is at dealing with those of others? Are there any relationships in particular that you think she mismanages? Why?
3. Conventional wisdom in present day society often suggests, in one form or another, that “there is more sorrow in not following your heart,” often paraphrased as “if it feels good, do it…” What do you think?
4. Do you think the life that Clare lives is appealing?
5. Why do you think the author entitled her book ALL MORTAL FLESH?
6. Do you have a favorite character - or one you love to hate - in the story [other than Clare and Russ]?
7. Did the book leave you wanting to learn more about any character? Who?
8. What do Aaron and Quinn have to say about the pitfalls of parenting in todays society? From the parental perspective, what steps might have succeeded in avoiding their fates?
9. What do Aaron and Quinn have to say about the pros and cons of being raised in a small town? Is our societys increased focus on huge schools and the internet resulting in a similar phenomenon of isolation and boredom in suburbs as well as cities? Think Columbine. Think the Dartmouth murders.
10. Does it take a village to properly raise a child? And if so, what happened here?
11. What do you think of Russ, combat and law enforcement veteran (and grown man), seeking shelter, literally, with his mother in time of need? Does this ring true from a mothers perspective? From a mature mans perspective? What does this say about his emotional maturity level? Would you choose a similar path in time of emotional need?
12. What are the defining events in Clare and Russs lives, or have they not occurred yet?
13. What do you think of the role of Deacon Elizabeth? Of her personally? Does she ring true as a character? A human being?
14. The primary murderous act in ALL MORTAL FLESH is, ultimately, a purely random act of violence, the effects of which alter so many lives irrevocably. What does this say about the randomness of violence in American society? Is it a comment on a society that differs markedly, in its level of murder rates, from most other societies in this world? If so, how?
15. Was the ending largely fated to happen, or could Linda, Russ, or Clare have taken steps that might have prevented their respective catastrophes? If so, what? When?