REVIEW: I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming

I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-FlemingI Shall Not Want (2008) by Julia Spencer-Fleming is the sixth entry in the popular award winning series featuring Rev. Clare Fergusson and Chief Russ Van Alystyne. I Shall Not Want is a smartly written suspense novel in a series that has been consistently strong and a pleasure to read.

Urban crime has reared it’s ugly head in Millers Kill, which is a small town in Adirondacks, New York. Three dead Latino migrant workers seem to hint at possible gang activity in the area. As an aside, let me say that this author is not shy in tackling serious and recent issues in her books. Moving on. The invisible Millers Kill migrant community are thrust up front and center here, examining many of the social issues we are familiar with in how illegal immigrants are treated in this country today. Even Russ’s family, who recently invested in a dairy farm, are caught up in the maelstrom of current events.

Despite the well written and suspenseful mystery, at the heart of this series is the ever-evolving relationship between Clare and Russ. Fans will not be disappointed in that they are finally together after six books. This is the most romantic entry in this series and it made romance fans like me stand up and cheer. We’ve had to watch Clare and Russ dance around each other and watch them break each other’s hearts but despite the fact that Russ was a married man, the two seemed like they were always the right fit for each other. Or to describe it another way: they are soul mates. Their relationship is one of the many things I love about this series outside of the characters and narrative and engaging voice of the author.

There’s a new addition to the Millers Kill Police Department that added some fresh air. Hadley Knox, a single mother with two kids, gets the prestigious honor of being the first woman on the police force. Along with the new we have the same familiar faces along with the usual church politics, small town gossip and the tight knit community of Millers Kill. Whenever I read JSF’s books and step into this small yet not so sleepy community, the experience leaves me with a feeling of visiting with old friends. There’s also some humor in here to even out the dark and besides Clare and Russ’s romance, there are two other subtle, romantic subplots to enjoy as well.

While the story is well written and a complete joy to read, I did kind of rush through the ending and felt that a combination of events kind of stretched things out – making me an impatient reader. The ending did feel somewhat anti-climatic to me. Anyway, I enjoyed I Shall Not very much and highly recommend this book to new and old readers alike. I strongly recommend that you start at the beginning with, In the Bleak Mid-Winter, but if you are impatient to start this series now, there really isn’t anything wrong with you starting with this book. However, the only downside is that you miss out on the dynamics of Clare and Russ’s relationship and the many memorable moments the author created between the couple in each of the six books in this series. Anyway, fans should not be disappointed in this book and the ending, well, let’s just say it’s going to be a long year, my grade, B+.


I Shall Not Want Reader Giveaway, Enter To Win Your Copy!

I was really in a rush to get this review out so that I can start my contest today. I barely made the deadline. Anyway, if your interested in winning a copy of this book, I SHALL NOT WANT, make sure to leave a comment to this post. The contest will end on Monday, June 30, 2008 at 11:59pm CST. The publisher has graciously donated (4) copies of the completed novel for this giveaway. While you’re commenting, maybe share your favorite mystery authors that have a strong romantic subplot in them as well? I”m always looking for new authors.

Winners will be drawn randomly and please make sure to check back when the contest is over as I will announce the winners on Wednesday and you will have three days to claim your prize. Other contest details: anonymous names will not be counted in the drawing and please make sure you have a valid email address because if I can’t get in touch with you, your winning status is null and void. This contest is open to everyone. Ok, that’s all. Good luck!

Contest is now closed and the winners will be selected and posted tomorrow!


About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Grade B Reviews, Mystery and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to REVIEW: I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming

  1. jenreads says:

    I would give this one a B+ too. Loved the Clare/Russ elements, liked the plot and found the relationship of Hadley and Flynn entertaining. Spencer-Fleming never disappoints.

    I’m thinking about trying Vince Flynn this summer. I’ve never read him before and have been hearing good things. I’m not sure if his books have any romantic elements though.

  2. Bev Stephans says:

    I have been eyeing this series for some time. I haven’t caved and bought any yet, so winning a copy would be wonderful.

    One of my favorite mystery authors is Margaret Maron. Her Judge Deborah Knott is quite wonderful. Her romance with the deputy sheriff started in “Slow Dollar” and has progressed from there. If you want the reading order, go to Fantastic Fiction. This is a great website. I’m sorry that I don’t know how to do links or I would put one here for FF.

  3. Zeek says:

    Even though I’ve read a novel from this series- I’m in!

  4. Zeek says:

    shoot, that was supposed to be NEVER read one from this series!

  5. Catherine says:

    This book sounds very interesting. I’ve never heard of this author before. Good thing DA linked to it. I’m always looking for new authors to try.

  6. Denise says:

    Oh, I’m a huge mystery buff in addition to being a romance fan. I’ve never gotten around to reading this series, so I would love a chance to do so.

  7. Cathy M says:

    I really enjoy the mystery/suspense/romance stories of JD Robb.

  8. Jan says:

    I read your comments last week about this series and went looking for it. I found the first and third in the series so far and am looking forward to starting it.

    I enjoy Victoria Thompson’s Gastlight series which takes place about 1905 in New York City. Rhys Bowen also has a mystery series (Molly Murphy mysteries) taking place about the same time. Ms. Bowen also started a new series last summer which takes place in England about 1930 about an impoverished cousin to the Royal Family. I think there was some romance in the first book. The next book in that series is coming out in July. I also like Nevada Barr’s mysteries.

  9. ArkansasCyndi says:

    I’ve read so much about this author but she’s one I haven’t tried yet. So, put me in the running.
    So many of the mysteries with romance have been listed…
    Nevada Barr is great; JD Robb is always fun.

    Have you tried Nancy Martin’s Blackbird Sisters Mysteries? That’s a great series.

    To Jenreads – Vince Flynn is a fantastic read, but romance is not much of a subplot. If you want to read the best guy I’ve found lately, it’d be Robert Crais’s Elvis Cole series. I cannot get enough of Elvis and Pike, but romance? Not so much

  10. Laura says:

    Here thanks to a link on Dear Author. I downloaded the first 2 in this series during the recent e-book giveaway, and am now about halfway through #3, with the next 2 installments ready and waiting. In other words, I love this series!

  11. Carrie says:

    I would love to win a copy of this book. I keep hearing great things about the series. I’m a huge fan of Linda Fairstein. There’s not always a romance element per say, but there is always lots of flirting and building up to one!

  12. Avid Reader says:

    I’m thinking about trying Vince Flynn this summer. I’ve never read him before and have been hearing good things.

    He is on my list to try as well. I love a good suspense novel. Romance is just an added bonus.

    Re: Margaret Maron – have one of her books on my shelf. Will try her.
    Re: Rhys Bowen – I’ve collected her Molly Brown mysteries. Can’t wait to read them.
    Re: Nancy Martin – will add her to the list. Thanks!
    Re: Linda Farstein – I’ve collected her books over the years so I am def. looking forward to reading her books.

    There’s also Alina Adams – she used to be a romance writer but now she writes cozies. Her books are fun and the romance – eh, not really there.

    Dennis Lehane – love his Patrick/Angie books and the romance is nice and subtle

    Someone mentioned Victoria Thompson – I remember trying her and never finishing her first book. I’d be hard pressed to say why. Also there’s P.B. Ryan’s historical mysteries that concluded I think, last year (heavy on the romantic subplot). I’ve only read the one book.

    Last but not least is the C.S. Harris. She writes the Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery series. I know DA did a review of one of her books. Forgive, I am too lazy to link to any of these titles right now. Thanks for the heads up on some good authors. I appreciate it.

  13. Little Lamb Lost says:

    This author is new to me but I love mysteries and romantic suspense. It is always fun to find out about a series to jump into. Have really enjoyed books by Karen Rose. The stories have a great balance of the actual mystery and the romantic relationship.

  14. Bonnie Bee says:

    Throwing my name in the barrel so to speak, as I have just “discovered” Julia Spencer-Fleming, and am enjoying my glom of her back list! What first drew me to her books was the fact that I too have a church vocation, and was curious to see how the author would represent “the lifestyle”.

    The only other mystery with a twinge of romance series I can think of is the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs. For anyone unfamiliar with these books, Temperance is a forensic anthropoligist and the tv show “Bones” is loosely based on these books (and can I say, the books are MUCH better!!)

    — Bonnie

  15. Jenny says:

    I’ve heard intriguing things about this series and in particular this installment. I’d really love to read it. For mysteries with a strong romantic subplot, I recommend J D Robb and Karen Rose.

  16. Robin F says:

    Please count me in if you are willing to ship to Scotland. I love these books and the latest isn’t out here yet.

    Oh and I would recommend Dana Stabenow she has two series one with Liam Gallagher and the other with Kate Shugak. I love the Kate ones more, but there is some tragedy in there that many people might not be able to get past. Christopher Brookmyre doesn’t write a series or romance exactly but his books are side splittingly funny. My favorite is One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night which is a high school reunion book set on an oil rig with rocket launchers. There is also It is all Fun and Games until somebody loses an eye in which a youngish grandmother turns into James Bond. I highly recommend them.

  17. Pam P says:

    A friend just happened to recommend her books to me a few days, so love to try her. I’ve been enjoying Shirley Tallman’s Sarah Woolson mystery series – very strong independent attorney, father’s a judge, manipulates a firm into hiring. She ends up getting a case and works on solving it along with one of the firm’s lawyers, not much on the romance yet between them, working slowly up to it, but the 2nd book focuses a bit on a client who’s interested in her, maybe be back in a future book.

  18. Meanne says:

    I was one of the lucky ones to take advantage of the free giveaway ebooks of the first 2 in this series and I devoured them both in 2 days. I love the 2 main characters and the writing style… I’ve been mulling the idea of buying I Shall Not Want in ebook form but the price tag was pulling me back so I thought of just waiting to buy it when the price goes down..I live in the Netherlands so the chance of finding her backlist or even the new book in paperback is not very great. I’ve been looking for the rest of her series in ebook form but no luck so far ( Can’t buy it in Kindle or Sony reader format since I don’t have both readers )…In any case, I would love to win a copy of I Shall Not Want, if you’re willing to send it to my part of the world…Thanks!

  19. Malin says:

    I have the first two books of the series in my TBR file. (Probably same offer as Meanne got.) Wouldn’t mind having “I Shall Not Want” since you’re willing to part with it. 🙂

  20. jmc says:

    I would love to enter the contest. I’m now half a book shy of being current on this series, and I am very much enjoying it. Thank you again for the reviews and recommendation!

  21. stargazer says:

    I haven’t read a lot in this category, which is why I’m entering. You might like Sheryl J. Anderson’s Molly Forrester books – the first is Killer Heels. Or maybe Tasha Alexander’s series – the first is And Only to Deceive, or Elizabeth Peters, though I’ve only read a couple of her non-Peabody books.

  22. acdaisy77 says:

    Count me in! Julia is new to author to me, and I’m always willing to try them.

  23. Stacie Mc says:

    I agree with those who suggested Karen Rose and JD Robb. And may I add Brenda Novak and both Charlaine Harris’s Lily Bard and Harper Connelly series.

  24. AAR Rachel says:

    I’d love to be entered. Thanks!

  25. Li says:

    If you don’t mind shipping to UK, count me in please!

    Mmm… my favourite cosy mystery series is Deborah Donnelly’s Wedding Planner books (and yes, strong romance subplot), but the last book was released over a year ago, and I’ve no idea when the next is coming out. And then there’s always Elizabeth Peters and her Amelia Peabody series…

  26. I received the first two books in this series recently as a free ebook download and am HOOKED!!!

    I’d love to get a copy of the book!!!

    I’ve also been a big Spencer fan, so…


  27. chrandra says:

    I haven’t read any Julia Spencer-Fleming but I am always looking for new suspense/romance writers to read. I used to love Linda Howard but I stopped buying after whichever book came after Open Season. But I think I’ll try Spencer-Fleming

  28. jenreads says:

    ArkansasCyndi: I love Robert Crais. I think Watchman was my favorite book last year. I thought it was very romantic, especially the second to last chapter – heartbreaking but romantic. I can’t wait for his new one this month!

  29. Avid Reader says:

    I forgot to add this comment:

    Contest has now closed and here are the winners:

    #9 (ArkansasCyndi), #20 (jmc), #25 (Li), #16 (Robin F). Please contact me as soon as possible with your snail mail and congrats to you all!

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